Flying Tiger Motorcycles

Researchers have reported findings again and again that the sense of smell can “ring the bell” of memories. If that is true then Flying Tiger Motorcycle’s candles are a dead ringer for the smell of two-stroke oil, bringing many motorcyclists to olfactory delight. This is not your grandmother’s candle – there’s no hint of roses or honeysuckle here, no vanilla cookie or cinnamon potpourri, instead the Two-Stroke Smoke candle offers what Flying Tiger Moto calls “high-octane fragrance.”

It has been an unexpected and winding journey for Eric Bess and Teresa Swanson, who own and operate Flying Tiger Motorcycle. What started as a two-person, 900 square foot small, vintage bike restoration and resale shop snowballed into an eight-employee, 6,000 square foot operation that houses Royal Enfield Motorcycle and Genuine Scooter showrooms.


The shop, who now sells new bikes and scooters, still considers its primary focus to cater to the vintage crowd. “We get many visitors everyday just wanting to see the older bikes we have around the shop. I love hearing customers reminisce about old bikes they used to own, or still do own, and the many stories that come along with that – it is like hearing about the highlights of someone’s life,” Bess explained. And still, we wonder, where does a candle business fit in to this mix?

“Years ago, I was at the track watching a two-stroke bike practice. It was a bit cold and rainy and the air was heavy with the smell of two-stroke oil and race fuel. A few hundred feet down the track from me were two older men and it looked as if they both had their eyes closed and their noses in the air breathing in the smell of bikes on the track. I thought ‘man, if you could just bottle that smell,’” said Bess. The rest, as they say, is history.

What started as a clever holiday gift-giving option for the true garage-loving grease monkey, gear head or DIY exploded into a key area of the Flying Tiger Motorcycle business plan. Two-Stroke Smoke candles look every bit the part of a “man’s man” candle. The 16 ounce, custom-blended candle comes packaged in a garage-worthy vintage oil can complete with an angry-looking label. What lies within is soy wax, a wooden wick and a dollop of Klotz two-stroke oil for authenticity – truth in advertising – when they call it Two-Stroke Smoke they mean it. Candles and other products are sold at the Flying Tiger Motorcycles shop in Maplewood, Missouri, or online at

Bess is quick to make it clear that whether it be candles, restoration work or sales, he operates under one philosophy: “Regardless of the shop’s growth and success, Flying Tiger Motorcycle remains committed that its primary focus is to serve as a place that anyone with two wheels can feel welcome and be treated with respect.” We salute that line of thinking, in fact we might dare to say “you can’t hold a candle to it.”