Shinya Kimura Motorcycle Mechanic

Shinya Kimura and Ayu welcomed me to Chabott Engineering in Azusa, California.  We’d met at the “Festival of Thump” at Deus Ex Machina two weeks earlier, and they’d graciously invited me to visit.  I’ve been Shinya’s fan for a long time. He is the founder of Zero Engineering and the originator of what’s called “Zero-Style”.  Many in America first saw his work through his appearance on Discovery TV’s “Biker Build-Off” in 2005.  The book, Zero Chopper Spirit, beautifully documents his builds in Japan before he moved to California in 2006.  Ayu writes as “Menacing Ayu” the stalker, as she tracks Shinya’s day-to-day activities on shinyakimura.blogspot.com.

 

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Shinya and not-so-menacing Ayu

Vision  Shinya’s work consistently expresses a strong, clear vision (a phrase I borrow from a documentary on artist and architect Maya Lin).  Shinya’s contributions to the world of custom motorcycles–expand that–to the world of art, express his singular, iron-strong artistic vision.

Shop and Gallery  Shinya’s shop is a wonderland!  I was dazzled by six finished bikes, parts of many more and fluid moto-shapes everywhere.  Upstairs is a small gallery where “Needle” and “Hoon” and a few small sculptures were on display.

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Sheet metal  Shinya is a master engine mechanic, but his signature style is expressed chiefly in sheet metal.  His fuel tanks and bodywork pieces are shaped entirely by hand using only hammers and a large, leather-covered sandbag.  The sheet aluminum he employs is surprisingly thick, typically 1/8 inch!  North American P51’s, once built near here, had much thinner skins.

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“Spike”  is a 1946 Knucklehead that Shinya races at Bonneville.  He’s come to within 6 mph of the class record so far.  “Spike” was in Bonneville dress today and wearing its 1188 number plate.  The exhaust outlets are especially distinctive (watch for them in the video below).

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“Spike”–(photo from the web)–in Bonneville clothes

 

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Beautiful bikes. Which one to ride? More often than not, Shinya rides a modest SR500.

Cannonball  Shinya’s comparatively unmodified 1915 Indian has crossed America–twice–in the Cannonball Endurance Run (both times with an engine).  Shinya and his friend, Yoshimasa Niimi took turns riding #80 in last year’s Cannonball.  They look forward to seeing the country again (you can see a lot at 50 mph) if a Cannonball III gets organized.

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1915 Indian–destined to keep crossing America

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Source: Carpe Moto

 

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