Japanese Racers – Clones or stand alones
At the end of World War 2 many British motorcycle manufacturers were on the verge of closure or had already shut their factory doors for good. As the remaining companies like Triumph, Norton and BSA struggled to regain their foothold Japanese manufacturers were preparing to release their own domestic motorcycles. Using the…
At the end of World War 2 many British motorcycle manufacturers were on the verge of closure or had already shut their factory doors for good. As the remaining companies like Triumph, Norton and BSA struggled to regain their foothold Japanese manufacturers were preparing to release their own domestic motorcycles.
Using the knowledge and technology developed by British manufactures over the past decade Japanese manufacturers were able to produce bikes that not only replicated the British models but also improved on their designs. They built bikes that were inexpensive, reliable and still posessed the familiar look that British enthusiasts craved.
By the 1970’s companies like Honda and Kawasaki were producing models that were readily available in Britain and the United States. As the motorcycles poularity grew riders began to customise their rides in much the same way they had previously done with British/European born models. Many purists turned their noses up at the Japanese bikes claiming them to be clones and passing them off as cheap and nasty but the fast growing reputation of these bikes solidified their place in the market and sales boomed.
Now 30+ years down the track models like the Honda CB750 and Yamaha SR500 are still being produced and due to Japanese riders embracing the Cafe Racer style of motorcycle you can easily obtain any engine parts or dress up accessories you want to build your very own modern day Racer. Even though it’s heritage lies thousands of kilometers away from where the racer culture was first born the idea and the passion still live on.
I will be purchasing and modifying my own Jap style racer late this year and will most likely based it on a Kawasaki W650. Although the bike isn’t sold in Australia there are a few around if you look hard enough. I will document the purchase and build of my racer on the site then.
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David Mucci is an Industrial Designer and Custom Motorcycle Builder working out of Portland, Oregon. Since his 17th birthday, David’s been tinkering on his own vehicles. The obsession lead to him studying…Continue Reading
The Honda CB750 is often referred to as the original Universal Japanese Motorcycle. This is shortened to UJM, as most motorcycle enthusiasts like you, dear reader, are probably aware. First released in…Continue Reading