The Founder: Fran Manen
Born in 1975 in Madrid, Francisco Alí Manén is a native of Vélez Málaga (Spain). He is the owner and founder of Lord Drake Kustoms.
From the age of 8 he is passionate about everything related to the world of rock music and heavy metal and of course hallucinated with those wonderful Harleys and Choppers motorcycles that those hairy and tattooed rockers wore from their favorite bands. At that time they could only be seen in television music videos or in a report from one or another specialized magazine.
Francisco Alí Manén with his Sixtino
From a young age he also had a fondness for activities in nature (being a member of the local Scout groups and later of the OJE). Already in the last years of school and especially from the time of high school, Francisco began to work in parallel during weekends and holidays in order to have more economic independence.
At 14 years old, Francisco has his first motorcycle, a Vespino moped.
At 14, Francisco has his first motorcycle, a Vespino moped. And she knew from the first day that she did not want to have her like the others and chose to paint and airbrush her with skulls, flames and album cover graphics of some of her favorite rock bands. He never imagined what he would do with motorcycles almost 30 years later!
ADVENTURE SPORTS AND MOUNTAIN.
By that time also begins to venture into the world of adventure sports and mountain. He began to climb and practice mountaineering at a level that a few years later would lead him to participate in several expeditions to mountains around the world, including the Himalayas where he was on several occasions. During his time as a climber he visited countries such as Nepal, Tibet, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Morocco, Switzerland, France, Austria, etc. He also appeared in various local television programs and print media.
Francisco works in bars and other temporary jobs that he combines with his hobby for mountaineering and hard with the studies. There comes a time when he is clear that he does not want to continue working in that way or work for others, so he decides to finish high school and start working on his own.
Neither was he convinced to work in any of the jobs in which he had worked temporarily since his college days and is committed to converting his passion for mountaineering and climbing into a job.
Fran Manen in his workshop with the BMW Mardanis
THE VERTICAL WORKS.
In 1994, at the age of 19, he began to do vertical works (works in buildings and high-rise places with only ropes). Until then these works were totally unknown in Spain and especially in the Southern half, so Francisco becomes a pioneer in this sector. A year later, and due to the high demand for work, he decided to set up one of the first vertical works companies in the province of Malaga, which, based in Marbella, quickly became one of the largest and leading companies in the catering sector. of facades and works in height. It has offices in Marbella (Central), Seville and Granada and a permanent staff of almost 40 employees. As the company grew, Francisco was more absorbed by the work and the desire to train began to weaken in order to continue climbing.
Fran poses with Trending Topic, one of his best creations.
THE BLACK YEAR AND THE NEW COURSE.
In the year 2000 (a black year), Francisco was preparing an expedition to the Himalayas, but the year began to twist and he suffered 2 accidents: A serious traffic accident (from which he miraculously escaped unharmed) and shortly after (4 months before the expedition to the Himalayas) suffered a fall climbing from several meters high that caused a pelvic break and that immobilized him almost 40 days in a bed.
In spite of everything recovered of his injuries and arrived the moment of the expedition, that was all a success … but that year could not finish in another way that with another serious incident: To the return of the expedition from Nepal; in a transit of its flight in Karachi (Pakistan) and just before entering the plane destiny to Paris; Francisco was confused with an Albanian terrorist and was arrested and imprisoned for 15 days … although this is another story. All this led him to take a radical turn and mark a new direction in his life.
It was time to dedicate himself to his other great dream: to paint and customize motorcycles.
In 2002 he participated in what would be his last expedition to the Himalayas and after many hours of training, some broken bones, and almost a decade climbing around the world, he decided to stop the sport of climbing and mountaineering … It was time to devote himself to another quieter and less risky hobby and decides to change his climbing tools for tools to paint and customize motorcycles (his other great dream).
THE FIRST TRIPS TO THE UNITED STATES.
At that time Discovery Channel programs such as American Chopper and Overhaulin, begin to be broadcast and Francisco is fascinated and is clear that all the time he had spent traveling to go climbing now was going to devote to meet the mecca of the industry of the motorcycles and rock: United States.
In 2004 he buys his first Harley, which without knowing it at that time, would be the beginning of what is now his life and Lord Drake Kustoms.
As of 2003, trips to the United States are increasingly frequent, spending almost 3 months a year there; to see motorcycles, rock concerts and make trips to all corners of the country (although he puts his focus on Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles) that was where he cooked everything and where he meets in person many of his musical idols like the world of motorbikes and where you visit the biggest events of motorcycles and shows, establishing professional relationships with manufacturers of the industry and with the most famous builders.
Not only motorcycles, there are also cars that have passed through the expert hands of Fran Manen.
A FIRST ATTEMPT IN SPAIN.
In 2004 he buys his first Harley, which without knowing it at that time, would be the beginning of what is now his life and Lord Drake Kustoms. That motorcycle did not last anything in its original state; he painted and customized it until he saw his first Harley modified and finished a year later. It all started in the garage, where he built his workshop from scratch and where he spent almost all his free time after work. The first thing he did was to hang a banner in his garage with the name of what is now his brand: Lord Drake Kustoms. From that moment the bike starts to win prizes basically in all the events in which it participates nationally and in 2007 it is presented in the European Rally of Harley where it is runner-up in Europe in the Big Twin category. At this moment, the spark strikes and the hobby begins to become a work objective.
The first thing he did was to hang a banner in his garage with the name of what is now his brand: Lord Drake Kustoms.
In 2007, together with a friend and parallel to his company, he opened a motorcycle workshop in Torre del Mar (Spain) where Francisco was in charge of the transformation work in the afternoons after attending his main business. In this workshop they did mostly repairs but not too much customization work; so it did not take long for him to realize that Spain was not his place and even less to dedicate himself to his dream that every day had him more obsessed.
THE EMIGRATION TO MIAMI.
At the beginning of 2008 and unexpectedly; In one of his usual trips to the United States, his dream began to take shape when a business opportunity arose in Miami and Francisco did not hesitate a minute … in less than 2 months he closed everything that had been his life to labor and material level to the point of selling your company in Spain in order to get the most economic liquidity to turn your dream into reality. Francisco left without his family to Miami until he got his visa to be in the country and where he created and was co-owner of a rental business and tours of Harley motorcycles called American Rider. The first months and until American Rider began to work were quite hard, but once everything began to roll his wife and son also moved to Miami.
Francisco in Miami.
That same year Francisco attends the custom motorcycle world championship in South Dakota, being shocked by what he saw there and thought he would never reach those levels … 10 years later, in 2018, he becomes runner-up world in that championship.
In 2012 he decided to dedicate himself exclusively to customizing motorcycles under his brand.
American Rider became one of the largest rental and tour companies of Harley in Florida, having a fleet of more than 60 bikes for customers and tourists arriving in the city of Miami. Also in this company Francisco started selling and exporting Harleys to the whole world and of course he began to customize his first motorcycles in the United States.
In 2012 he decided to dedicate himself exclusively to customizing motorcycles under his brand, with which he created some of the most incredible and spectacular custom bikes in the United States … Lord Drake Kustoms Miami had begun. Located in the center of Miami (Coconut Groove), it was customary to receive a visit to their store of movie and television stars, artists of all types and high-level clients, who were surprised by the work and motorcycles of this Spanish language; that little by little it was penetrating in the high spheres of Miami.
With Francisco dedicated to 100%, the brand begins to rise to the point that the magazine NEXOS (American Airlines, with a circulation of more than 209,000 copies and more than 8.9 million readers) makes mention of Lord Drake’s motorcycles Kustoms as one of the attractions to highlight in the streets of Miami, in a report that was published about the famous Design Distric of this city, in this magazine.
In 2013 and after a decade attending the main shows and championships in the United States as a spectator; Francisco and his brand become competitors and he also becomes champion in all the championships in which he participates, highlighting the most famous worldwide in the mecca of the custom bike: DAYTONA BIKE WEEK, where he was champion in the category coffee racer Later he doubled with two of his bikes on the Rat’s Hole Bike Show (famous for its broadcast on Discovery Channel) … from here Lord Drake Kustoms is shot worldwide.
Softail Envy, one of the most famous motorcycles created by Francisco Alí Manén
THE EXPANSION BEGINS.
Tom Kaulitz (Tokio Hotel) with the custom Triumph
In 2013, Tom Kaulitz guitarist and founder of the world famous rock band TOKIO HOTEL buys Francisco one of his custom Triumph Bonneville in Miami and that would end up being the protagonist of a video shot in the streets of Hollywood and Los Angeles by Tom Kaulitz himself.
In 2014 and due to the success achieved in the United States, LDK motorcycles begin to be exported worldwide, which is why Francisco opens a new LDK branch in his hometown of Vélez Málaga (Spain) to serve his customers in Europe and East.
Between 2014 and 2015, a project for a TV series based on Lord Drake Kustoms motorcycles begins to be prepared in Miami and is expected to soon be released.
Francisco has a portfolio of clients and friends of the highest and prestigious level, ranging from stars of music and entertainment to great personalities from the world of finance and business among which Alejandro Sanz, Maroon 5 or Tom Kaulitz (Tokyo Hotel).
He has also worked on common projects and has friendship with some of the most famous and best motorcycle builders in the world, some of them well known for their participation in famous television series.
With Alejandro Sanz
In 2016, television appearances begin in different programs of national audience such as the program of the famous Spanish presenter Juan Y Medio on Canal Sur.
Juan Y Medio testing one of Fran’s motorcycles.
Fran poses with the runner-up of the world in 2018, his Speedster.
To date he has won some of the most famous championships worldwide, in different categories, of which we must highlight: In 2013 Champion in Daytona Bike Week (USA) and double winner (first and second place) in the most prestigious bike show of USA (Rat’s Hole famous for its broadcast on Discovery Channel). In 2014 Runner-up of Europe. In 2015 first and second place in Europe in the official bike show of Harley Davidson. In 2016, he is named as 10 of the best Harley world customizers with Scrambler style, by the most prestigious magazine of the sector in Japan. In 2016 he achieved the 5th position in the world in the “Modified Harley” category of the AMD World Championship of custom bike building. In 2017 double European Champion in the official bike show of Harley Davidson. In 2018 he was proclaimed World Runner-up and 6th worldwide.
Also note that in 2019, he was one of the guests at the Miami Fashion Week charity chaired by Antonio Banderas; act for which Francisco customized and donated 2 motorcycles (one of them was transformed in only 3 days). These bikes were a success at the gala attended by personalities of the likes of Antonio Banderas, Nicole Kimpel, Juanes, Emilio Estefan and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada among others and later were exposed at Miami Fashion Week throughout the event.
Emilio Estefan and Fran Manen
Antonio Banderas and Fran Manen
Later the two bikes were exposed in the Miami Fashion Week during the whole event; in which Fran Manen and his work with motorcycles aroused the admiration of personalities such as Francisca Lachapel, actress and television presenter of Univision’s Despierta América!
With Francisca Lachapel
With Nicole Kimpel
Only two weeks later, Fran, devastates the custom bike show of EUROPEAN H.O.G. RALLY 2019 celebrated in Cascais (Portugal); where he climbs to the podium with two of his bikes and is proclaimed European Champion of the Big Twin category and 2ND Place in the Sportster category. In this event in addition to climbing the podium twice, he receives the admiration of Karen Davidson (Daughter of Willie G. Davidson, owner of Harley Davidson) who fell in love with one of his bikes that she considered a piece of art on wheels!
With Karen Davidson
After a talk with the prestigious fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada in an event held in Miami a few months ago and after meeting with her team, they decided to give color to the streets with a totally different bike. It is then when Fran designs and customizes the first bike, Agatha (the “Harley Agathized”), made on a Harley Davidson.
Presentation of the Harley “Agathizada”
With Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada
Fran and the Harley “Agathizada”
The Harley “Agathized” would be presented to the public by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada and Fran Manen, at the charity gala of the Spanish Cancer Association (AECC) held on August 4, 2019 in Marbella, where personalities such as Ana Obregón, Boris Izaguirre, José María Aznar, Ana botella, Bertín Osborne, Francisco or Maika Pérez de Cobas attended.
With Ana Obregón and Boris Izaguirre
At the Charity Gala against Cancer
Since 2013 Francisco has been working on a project consisting of the creation of a documentary series for television and in the first recordings in Miami he has the appearance of the famous Colombian actress and model Paty Cardona, famous for participating in important productions such as “El rostro de la Venganza” 2012 (Telemundo), the popular reality show “Nuestra Belleza Latina 2012” (Univision) and the program “Latin Angels TV”.
With Paty Cardona
Filming of the pilot episode of the documentary series
Already in 2019 and 2020 the recordings for a double production in Miami and Spain begin.
Filming of the pilot episode of the documentary series
In 2020 he collaborates with the solidarity calendar of the Hope Association against cancer.
Already in 2021, he customized a themed motorcycle that he donated to raise funds for one of the most renowned foundations against childhood cancer in Spain; the Olivares Foundation in Malaga
He has been named WORLD TOP 10 of the year 2021 and 2022, customizing scrambler-style motorcycles by the American magazine BIKE BOUND MAGAZINE, which is one of the most important in this sector in the world.
In 2022 he appears as ambassador of his hometown Vélez in the FITUR promotional video.
In 2022 he customized the motorcycle of PACO VENTURA, guitarist and original member of the famous Andalusian rock group MEDINA AZAHARA, which that year released one of his most important albums of his career.
With Paco Ventura from Medina Azahara
At the beginning of 2023 and after appearing in various television programs such as Andalucía Directo, Hoy en Día, A toda Costa or los Repobladores; Francisco and his motorcycles return to one of the most popular programs in Spain with Juan y Medio and Eva Ruiz on Canal Sur television.
With Juan Y Medio
On the set of Canal Sur
With Eva Ruiz
On 17 April 2023, Francisco received the GOLDEN SHIELD of VELEZ MALAGA; in recognition of his career and international projection.
With this recognition, Francisco became one of the youngest people to receive the highest award granted by the city, which has been received by personalities such as the philosopher María Zambrano, the footballer Fernando Hierro or the painter Evaristo Guerra.
Francisco receiving the Golden Shield from the City Mayor
Speech by Francisco at the presentation of the gold shields