You need passion. You need consistency, patience and uniqueness.
Taking hand to metal and building a powerful machine is one thing—designing its curves, aerodynamic features, and overall aesthetic is another thing altogether. Symon Cantos takes on the unique trade of motorcycle building, which requires the skills of a technician and the artistry of a designer, and brings design to the forefront with the current rise of motorcycle customization.
It is no question that the two-wheelers have taken over the metro. And with its rise comes the subsequent interest in its customization. Symon Cantos takes us into the world of bike building and its unique creative process which involves a balance of mechanical engineering and creativity:
How would you like to be introduced? Tell us something about yourself.
Call me Symon. I’m the owner/designer and head builder of Iron Macchina Customs. I love working on anything that moves or has a motor on it and modify it to my standards and preferences.
What got you into moto building and motorcycles in general?
Well, I started riding motorcycle when I was 12 years old. I had my first bike then which was a 80cc Yamaha Chappy. Then when I turned a year older, my dad bought me a bigger displacement bike, and from then he knew that I was passionate about motorcycles. I got a Yamaha Virago 535cc. I started to tinker with bigger bikes and modifying it into whatever I could think of. But of course, I don’t do the actual metal works because I was too young. I ask my dad’s welder/fabricator to do the job. I just gave them the directions.
What’s it like being a moto builder and designer in the Philippines?
Stressful, fun and very informative. I’ve learned so much with my experience being a motorcycle builder. It taught me how to be responsible, manage my time working with other people, and use the full capacity of my imagination. Also, its fulfilling when people appreciate your work— like the smile and look they give when they are satisfied with the finished product.
What inspires or motivates you in your creative process in designing a motorcycle?
Actually, everything around me is my inspiration. I get ideas from the things I see like colors, metal fabrications, proportions, etc. I see different perspectives of stuff around me and use it as a tool to create my art for motorcycles. Motivations? Family. It’s everyone’s, right? It’s a matter of attaining a certain life goal. I always wanted my parents to be proud of me and someday to be able to repay them back; not just money, but with honor and pride.
"Keeping your feet on the ground and your head low. Remember, anybody can build a motorcycle. So, be humble."
What’s your favorite thing about being a moto builder and designer?
I love seeing my finished bikes on the road and everywhere. Also, being noticed by people and standing out from other builders of bikes. I make sure that every build I do, is unique and something no one can replicate.
What’s your favorite type of motorcycle? Why?
I like classic motorcycles—they’re timeless!
Can you share with us your favorite long distance trip on a motorcycle?
To be honest, I don’t ride as much as before. But the longest distance I travelled by motorcycle was in Coron, Palawan. It was a 200+ kilometer motorcycle ride going from one beach to another. Did off-roading too—crossing one mountain in Coron to reach a deserted/virgin beach.
Can you tell us a little something about Iron Macchina and how it started?
Before I went into this type of business, I worked with corporate companies locally and abroad (Singapore) as a product specialist and business development manager. When I came back from Singapore a few years ago, I realized that the motorcycle custom scene is getting bigger and is being adopted by more people now compared to before. So I got back with the trend and made one bike as a sample build and posted it on social media. Surprisingly, people liked what I did with my build and everything went uphill from there. People asked questions about “where did I get this?” or “how did I do that?” Then one day, I just decided to put up my own company to accommodate those people who are interested with my art and when Iron Macchina Customs started.
Do you have any tips to give to the budding moto builders and riders out there?
In building motorcycles, you need passion. You need consistency, patience, and uniqueness. You need to open up your imagination. These factors are your tools for success. Keeping yourfeet on the ground and your head low. Remember, anybody can build a motorcycle. So, be humble.
Any future plans?
Probably expand my company.
Symon was able to leverage his passion for bike customization into a full-fledged business through the help of social media and original designs. From a shared hobby with his father to his own shop Iron Macchina Customs, his success story was built on commitment, patience and originality. Symon proves that inspiration can strike anywhere and can be right around the corner. He found his in the garage—where is yours?
- FB: Iron Macchina Customs
- IG: ironmacchinaph
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Events: August 10-12, 2028 – HISTORYCON 2018 Visit Iron Macchina Customs booth to see our latest custom bikes, merchandise, moto parts, lifestyle bags and lot more!