Garage Builders

Tommy Kerns of Butterscotch LBC

Tommy Kerns of Butterscotch LBC - British Customs



Long Beach, Ca


Menswear Consultant / Shop Owner


2011 Triumph Thruxton

British Customs: When did you start riding?

Tommy Kerns: I started riding when I was 5 or 6. Started on a 1986 Honda trail 70, then jumped from 4 wheels to 2 and continued on the love affair from there. Anything with wheels and a motor I wanted to ride or dive it, even if they scared me. My grandparents owned about 15 acres of land in the country so all growing up my brother and I basically had our own personal Motocross track. it was incredible.. except getting roosted on the daily (little brother struggles)  


What was your first bike?

1986 Honda 70, and street my 2011 Thruxton. I saved every penny for years.  

What is your background/interest in motorcycle customization? Family hobby, self­taught, trained pro, etc?

100% Self Taught, a lot of analyzing I grew up in the garage with my father who is into building and restoring classic cars. Gasoline runs in my blood and I’m pretty sure there is always a little bit of oil or grease on my hands at any time. When i lived at home with my parents i would shoot up on saturday mornings, look out the window and if the garage door was open I knew where I would be for the rest of the weekend. Besides my father's love for 4 wheels my grandfather has been a Harley man since his early teens and is still on two wheels into his 80’s. With that being said and my entire family on HD’s something about the clean lines of a Triumph gave me all the warm and fussy feelings when I would see them. Needless to say I was a bit of a blacksheep when i told the Family i was going English over American, and I was 10000% ok with it. Then I remember seeing the Ace 904 Thruxton Special edition and my brain fell out. At that moment I knew I had to have a thruxton and build my own cafe. IT.WAS.LOVE. From then on it was scouring the internet, triumph rat and building lists of mods I wanted. I can say I’m pretty much self taught with a lot of analyzing and reading. I have scrolled through endless forums of questions, from wheels, to breaking, assists, to wiring diagrams to get the exact look I’ve wanted. Let's be serious though, the modification list never really ends. I love the bike culture so much I’ve taken it to a whole other level opening up a shop called ButterScotch in Long Beach CA. I come from over a decade of working in the menswear clothing industry so i decided to take a leap in combining my passions under one roof. ButterScotch is catering to riders alike whom live and breathe for the love of two wheels and good clothing with a splash of coffee for good measure.  

What is your inspiration when wrenching on or designing your bike?

I fell in love with the cafe culture and design because of the simplicity to the bike. I appreciate the classic design cues, clean lines, and the less is more mentality. I'm a sucker for clean lines and I grew as a drummer. Now you are probably asking how does that even relate here? Well as a drummer I lived by the K.I.S.S. method meaning, “Keep It Simple Stupid” which translates in a lot of areas in my life. My bike is no exception. I can remember watching a video of a bike builder drawing a simple straight line sketch of a triangle for the lines of his build and I loved how those lines were the very essence and design behind the cafe project. I try to keep my build as simple as possible for both function and design.  

What are some things outside of motorcycling inspire you?

I’m very much a visual person. I’m always looking at architecture from home and office design, assorted photography, fashion, music, leafing through editorials, or scrolling through tumblr. It’s really endless for me when it comes to inspiration. I create lists or I use my tumblr (Tumblr handle -a simple gentleman) as a place to store those inspirations as digital bulletin board of things that catch my eye and influence me. I have the pleasure of having a really great circle of friends and colleagues whom are creatives as well so I am always being influenced by their art and design as well.  

What are your goals in the coming year?

Professionally, I just launched my own Business called ButterScotch in Long Beach, CA. It’s a Men's shop catering to premium goods and accessories with a focus on the motorcycle rider and coffee drinker. The shop has a little bit of everything for the modern guy with the Slogan “For Daily Use” I only sell the useful, things that you can rely on day after day with no added fluff. Personally, I have a few projects lingering on the back burner. I have a 1949 Chevy pick up truck that I want to convert into my daily driver. It’s currently in rolling chassis mode while focusing on the business. No complaints though I’m out here chasing my dreams of being self employed and owning my own small business! I definitely want push myself more this year to better myself. Self improvement and making new relationships. Besides that, I would love to put a USD frontend conversion on the Thruxton…. That is the last thing that has been on my build list for a few years.  

Check out Tommy's shop

Photo courtesy:

@cookwilltravel // @kingstonphoto for @snakeoilprovisions

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