cult of self magazine issue #7 - Page 12

During your journey, what did you discover about the subculture of customized motorcycles, café racers, cars and bikes? One of the purposes of our trip was the [Yokohama] HRCS. This show is the heaven for every bike builder, but for the first year the giant parking lot – where more than 8000 custom bikes were used to park – was prohibited because of noise complaints. It’s a pity as we did not get to see the most interesting part the show. The HRCS is more about chopper/bobber custom cars culture than café racers. And this represents thousands of guys... As well in the street of Tokyo you will see a lot of bikes everywhere in the streets. That culture is so strong and alive there. Craftsmanship is the point, you can find a lot of small workshops, where skilled guys are working with simple tools, unlike Western Europe where the cost of work is so prohibitive that workshops do not survive. You spent time with ‘Ola [Stenegard] and the Viking lads visiting some of the most iconic fellow bike preachers in the world.’ Who are these Viking lads and bike preachers? Ola Stenegard is the main designer at BMW Motorrad in Germany. Last year, they started this Soulfuel custom project on the base of the R nineT bike. The first part of the project was realised by European customizers Urban Motors (Berlin), Blitz (Paris) and El Solitario (Rias Baixas). The Blitz bike was unveiled during our event “Wheels and Waves” in June 2014. Last September, BMW unveiled the second part, which was realised by four of the top Japanese builders, Hidemo, BRATSTYLE, 46works and Cheesy Company. Naturally we all wanted to visit their workshops, like a pilgrimage... All these guys are incredibly skilled and humble. This is a great experience. Thanks to our local friend Tadashi Kono who drove us around the suburbs of Tokyo. What did you get up to with Tadashi Kono San and Hiro San? Tadashi San et Hiro San were really helpful during that short trip, they help you avoid being lost in the middle of nowhere or simply to lose track of time. Japanese people have a natural distance with foreigners, our two friends are accustomed to Western customs and thanks to them we had a totally relaxed vision. We realise that our Japanese friends are not so different from us, perhaps more disciplined.  ‘CRAFTSMANSHIP IS THE POINT’