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Back in 1958, a young Bob Raber went to work for Monterey-area motorcycle dealer Ed Brooks. Bob's father, an old car fan, had already instilled in his son a keen interest in the combustion engine and Bob immediately felt at home in a motorcycle shop.
Some of Bob's earliest jobs for Ed included lawnmower and bicycle repair, but as Ed's business began evolving toward British motorcycles, one day Bob found himself confronted with the task of assembling a pre-unit Triumph twin from a pile of parts. Armed with basic mechanical skills, youthful exuberance and a factory workshop manual, he managed to put together a well-functioning motorcycle. At that point, whether Bob realized it or not, his destiny was sealed.
In the following years, Ed moved his shop several times; first to Salinas, then on to San Jose in 1967. Bob continued working at the dealership, eventually moving up to Service Manager. While Bob's skills developed under the watchful eye of his mentor, the business flourished into one of the most attractive and well-stocked Triumph dealerships in the area.
When Ed Brooks finally retired in 1984, the Motorcycle scene in Northern California (and throughout the country) had changed dramatically. Norton had closed its doors in 1974, BSA in 1975 and Triumph in 1982. Where San Jose alone had been home to over 15 British, Japanese, and American motorcycle shops at its peak, there were now only a handful of shops in the Bay Area.
Bob took over Ed's shop and some of the inventory at 1615 Almaden Road and began doing business as Raber’s Parts Mart (RPM, Inc.). The goal of Bob and his small crew was to provide a retail parts outlet and service center for British motorcycles.
Finally in 1996, having steadily expanded and slowly amassed a gigantic parts inventory from other defunct British shops, RPM outgrew the Almaden Road location and moved operations a few blocks away to a former tortilla factory at 1984 Stone Ave which allowed ample space for RPM to grow into.
In August 2018, Bob decided to depart with his inventory and had an auction of all of the parts. He is now focusing on his motorcycle repair shop.
Raber’s Inc. is currently home to a crew of four employees with Bob Raber handling service and managerial duties, Paul Hudson and Mike Raber handling motorcycle repairs on Triumph BSA Norton, and Jennie Recendez in Accounting.
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