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 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.

Honda CB750

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.

Yamaha SR500

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.