Riding season has commenced and we wanted to kick it off with some heavy duty inspiration. So we thought we'd share a video of our friend and master motorcycle builder Shinya Kimura. Born in Tokyo, Japan, he was surrounded by the sounds and scents of his father's factory at an early age. He soon developed an affinity for cars which would be the seed that would grow into a passion for building and riding motorcycles.
Shinya, known as the founder of the "Zero" or so-called "Zero-style" motorcycle, began his career in 1992 with a little repair shop by the name of Chabo, which means "bantam rooster" or in Shinya's words, "back to basics". A year later Chabo evolved into Zero Engineering in Okazaki, Japan. He soon gained notoriety for his minimalistic and vintage looking bikes that combined form and function. A Zero-style bike is typically based around a rigid gooseneck, a pre-1984 Harley Davidson engine, springer front end, and spoked wheels, and often includes parts of the bike remaining bare metal. The inspiration came from wabi sabi (austere refinement) and the beauty of the raw materials, incorporating the essence of wa (harmony) into his design. Kimura and his crew were also known for putting their work to the test by participating in different vintage race series with their unique bikes.
Shinya eventually moved on from Zero Engineering and in 2006 launched his own studio named Chabott Engineering in Azusa, California with the intent to build both custom bikes as well as move himself toward the world of art. "Since setting up in America, I've moved from being just a custom-bike builder to slightly changing my direction a little more toward the world of art. I don't know whether success or failure is awaiting me in the future. Can custom bikes become art? Maybe we'll know in 10 years' time."
Watch the below video to hear Shinya speak about his fascination with riding and his relationship with his craft. He is seen wearing his custom motorcycle sweater produced by Dehen 1920 specifically for the Bonneville Salt Flat Speed Trials.
We at Dehen strive to craft our product with the same dignity and passion as Shinya does with his. Hope you enjoy. Happy and safe riding!