Thanks to all those who've expressed their appreciation at the posts of the bikes of Japan. I found it fascinating to see and watch the variety and “art” of bikes on the roads in the Land of the Rising Sun; the place that makes the bikes we (most of us) ride in Oz.
This one’s for Mark Johnston and the fearless riders of the Armadale branch.
On the tourist trail in fast-paced Japan (Asakusa from memory) I found myself in one of the country’s famous shopping streets. These streets are where locals shop and you get to see likes of grocers, fishmongers and traditional artisans and so on. Shopping streets are nearly always built as a long avenue with side streets and alleyways. At an intersection of an avenue and side street was parked this much adorned Goldwing:
A closer look
Not far away was this mini chopper.
No front guard (does it rain in Japan?), front right mirror located located on forks, huge front brake, good sized engine in smallish frame, single seater, etc, etc
Ueno is suburb/district of Tokyo that has a concentration of bike repair, accessory and dealership shops. Here are some snaps taken in a few of these places:
Kawasaki Ninja in a workshop in Ueno, Tokyo with radar detected fitted - what's the problem?, the Japanese see these things as a road safety device in the same category as a GPS
A ZRX seen at a dealership in Ueno Tokyo:
A workshop in Ueno, Tokyo - note the disassembled Honda:
Bike dealership, Ueno, Tokyo Japan:
A customised Hyabusa outside the above dealership, I'm left wondering how much he/she got for the customised paintjob:
More in this occassional series:
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
There I was, on the other side of a busy roadway bridge in Tokyo and I was about to make a late detour to after a long and tiring day walking around Japan to a dusty ram shackle motorcycle repair workshop.
As described, a pokey little shop with an eccentric owner and some gems gathering dust under covers; particularly a Z900 Kawasaki.
Anyway, I beelined to the workshop and forgot about the next Shinto shrine.
The eccentric owner was outside and said in his broken English he was working on his car, a small van of the type very common in Japan – you can see this n the first pic.
He appeared unsure what I wanted, but being a non Japanese speaking foreigner he nonetheless ushered me into the workshop.
He had a bike stripped down to the crankcase and frame and said he was doing a full rebuild and frame repair – this can be seen one of the pics
Then I spied the rear wheel of a smallish racing bike under cover.
I asked him what it was and he kindly removed the cover.
By this time I had my phone out to establish my bona fides by showing him photos of my 1400 and other bikes in the forecourt of the Grass Patch tavern/café from a recent run to Esperance and back.
He was mightily impressed with the group of some 10 or so bikes, all being big road bikes.
Anyway, just at that point a paying customer came in, he attended to the customer outside of the shop leaving me to my own devices.
I then turned the covers off a fantastic Z900 Kawasaki, I couldn’t believe my eyes, it is in terrific shape.
The Japanese government have laws about how long a vehicle can be kept on the road (pollution, etc) and a punitive insurance regime for older vehicles, so it makes it very difficult for a bike made in the early 70s to be ridden on the road in Japan these days.
I asked him if I could take some pics, he was more than happy and even posed and hammed it up before he was called away.
A bike shop on a corner in old Tokyo town: note the 1200 BMW in for repairs
A Honda road/racing bike of some description
Workshop proprietor - I never did get to learn his name
Collection of bikes in the workshop - Tokyo, Japan.
Bike stripped down and under repair - Bill, this is how they do it in Japan
A nice Z900 under repair. Note the non original pipes, wheels, etc, etc, but still in excellent shape
Smokey and the Bandit – here’s some for the strokers.
Where there’s smoke there’s a two stroke motorcycle. For those who have fond memories of the blue haze and the smell of unburnt fuel.
I rode two strokes when I was a kid that’s why I never smoked cigarettes; my lungs had had enough smoke by the time I was licensed.
Two strokes? Not for me, I can’t afford the dry cleaning.
Motorcycling is the ability to ride a two stroke without having to wash your hands.
I thought of riding a two stroke but didn’t want to move to a narrower power band.
You can always tell when someone is a hardened world wise biker, their bike looks just like yours.
My first bike was a two stroke, that's where I learned personal hygiene– washing the oil of my face and hands.
the KR500 story in the Kawasaki corporate museum
the KR500 four square engine
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