14 Jan 2011

Shinya Kimura, motorcycle craftsmanship and creativity

A Ducati sportsbike (I think it is a 1198S) re-visited by Shinya Kimura. He calls it "the Edge". Must feeling like being there to ride it!
photo by Troy Critchlow

From time to time, and in most walks of life, one comes across individuals who seem to be totally original and true to themselves, rather than just followers of whatever the current fad may be in their particular line of activity.
In the field of modifying motorcyles, Shinya Kimura is just that kind of person.

Kimura riding "the Edge"

Kimura, who was born in Tokyo, currently works in California. One can get a good idea of the man's work from his very beautiful website:


He is obviously into esthetics. But I also really like this fine short film that was made of him, and which shows his patience at work.


Kimura is as much a sculptor as a motorcycle customiser. His work with aluminium is incredible. When I look at his bikes, I am totally impressed with the way he has a feel for shape and the way speed affects impressions of shape. The eye is, as it were, drawn into a tunnel of speed and sound. 

This Triumph-based bike is called "the Needle"

His bikes are also given interesting names, like the sculptures they are. I am not too sure that many of Kimura's machines are made to be ridden for long spells at a time. Even if they work, and probably pretty well, they mostly look to be best suited to a brief blast in a long straight line. But then that is part of the show-bike thing I suppose. Maybe I am wrong.

Attention to detail is quite amazing. Here is a more rideable Triumph, though I would not want to spend too many hours on that seat either!

And the man enjoys a ride himself too...

1 comment:

  1. The Rising Sun, motorcycles, racing ...
    I’m not sure I like the designs of this Kimura, too sharp, too many edges. But then again, who am I to express more than a purely “instinctive “ opinion on anything esthetic?
    You remember Katayama, Yamamoto’s precursor’s? We always hoped he wouldn’t come to a crash, otherwise : “Yamamoto kakapoté”. And your Shinya is wearing a “Jack Findlay type” of helmet, not the best of protections really.