It’s hard to describe the Japanese style of custom building. But it’s easy to spot: the bikes usually have a timeless and elegant feel, with everything in its place. Trends and fashions are noticeably less important than in the West.
In the pantheon of Japanese bike building, Kengo Kimura of Heiwa Motorcycles is royalty. No one does ‘slammed-and-bobbed’ quite like Heiwa—whether it’s old British iron, or modern staples such as the Yamaha SR400.
‘Bull Pigeon’ is the latest Harley-Davidson to roll out of the Hiroshima workshop. Kimura has worked his magic on a 1978 big twin, and delivered a custom shovelhead brimming with subtly crafted, one-off pieces.
Up top are a hand-made fuel tank and seat cowl. The oil tank is custom too, along with the plumbing. Tucked perfectly into the bike’s silhouette is a hand-stitched leather saddle, done by local upholsterer Flavor Leather Work.
Getting the bike closer to the ground are a set of Showa forks (with modded lowers), held in place by triples from NOS. Out back are a pair of shocks from MDI Suspension.
Kimura has de-tabbed and cleaned up the frame, and grafted on a new subframe and swingarm. Extra visual balance comes from new aluminum rims, 19 inches at the front and 18 at the rear. The tires are vintage looking units from the recently revived brand Allstate.
On the engine side, the Heiwa crew have rebuilt the shovelhead and slotted in new pistons. They’ve also installed an S&S carb—along with a custom-made air cleaner. The engine cases were wet-blasted, with the left side treated to a bespoke belt cover.
But just check out that exhaust system. The headers are a fine example of the pipe-bender’s art, and the straight-shot rear pipes perfectly mirror the angle of the frame top tube.
Hidden on the left side is a one-off electrics box, plus a ‘suicide’ shift. The footpegs are hand-made too, and the foot clutch is a car part that Kimura has adapted to fit.
There’s a lithe, less-is-more feel to all this, which carries through to the cockpit. There’s little more than hand-made stainless steel handlebars, Amal-style grips, and a mini speedo.
Kimura-san turned to Six Shooter for the final touch—a sublime turquoise paint job with silver pin striping. And despite the bright color, the overall vibe is understated.
It’s one of the classiest custom Shovelheads we’ve seen in a long while. Great to see the master at the top of his game.