It’s possible to categorize most of the top Japanese custom motorcycle builders. In one corner there’s the Brat Style coterie, which includes Gravel Crew, Heiwa, and Big Moon. In the other corner are the resto-mod specialists such as AC Sanctuary and Ritmo Sereno. And then there’s Motor Rock.
Based in Nagoya, Motor Rock is a little different—despite the inevitable production line of Yamaha SR400 customs. The showroom includes slick cafe racers, Harleys with ape bars, impossibly impractical show bikes, and 1960s-era Triumphs.
There’s a definite retro tinge to many Motor Rock builds though, reflecting the Japanese appreciation of all things vintage. This lovely Kawasaki W650, a recent creation, is a prime example: it takes an already classic-looking motorcycle even further back in time. And without compromising function in the quest for style.
As with all Motor Rock bikes, the craftsmanship is exemplary. The W650 is sprinkled with top-shelf custom parts, many of them proprietary Motor Rock items. That includes the bars, hand controls, exhaust system and air cleaner. Tommaselli provides the throttle assembly and headlight mount; the headlight itself and instruments are from Daytona. The swingarm is custom fabricated in-house.
The tank and fenders are also custom items, but the master cylinder is a Grimeca and the shocks are from Hagon. The tires are classic Avons—a Speedmaster Mark II at the front, and a Safety Mileage Mark II at the back. It’s a combination popular with Japanese shops, just like Firestone Deluxes are chosen by US and European builders.
It’s not a radical build, but it’s easy on the eye and oozes retro style. Would you rather have one of these in your garage, or a plastic-clad 600cc sportbike?