Motoshop Tonouchi

Harley Davidson Sportster custom
There’s a definite Japanese ‘look’ when it comes to Harley customs, but this one’s a little different. The XL-engined machine is a new release from Motoshop Tonouchi, and reminds me of pre-War BMWs such as the R7—with monochromatic, swooping bodywork and subtle pinstriping. To say it’s clean would be an understatement; there’s no front brake, the bars are devoid of controls and cabling, and the exhaust system is nothing more than beautifully curved pipework. Tonouchi specializes in Harley and Kawasaki 650 customs, and you can see more of their builds here. An interesting aside: the company is based in the landlocked Gunma prefecture of Japan, an area famed for its ‘melody road’. Over 2,500 grooves are cut into a 175-meter stretch of asphalt, and when driven over at 50 kph, the grooves reproduce the tune of a popular song. Isn’t that amazing?

Harley Davidson Sportster custom
Harley Davidson Sportster custom

  • ian solley

    Wow – that really ticks my boxes in so many ways – i wanted to build a pre-war BMW custom so I bought a BMW – I should have stayed true to HD.
    Just gorgeous


  • kim scholer

    Ian Solley – hope you noticed the BMW-ish black-with-white-pinstriping on this one then.

  • AJ

    Was going to say that it reminds me of the BMW R7 – but it seems i’v ebeen beaten to the punch… ;)

  • ted

    The Japanese have a great motorcycle esthetic sensibility, love it, she’s a beauty.

  • macfly

    Well they certainly ain’t gonna be hearing any tire tunes from the Melody Road with those pipes!

  • David Enfield

    No hope of it but I would buy that . No question .

  • Eli

    No front brake, I can dig. The thing looks amazing. But I’m going to admit to a little dumbness: where are the clutch and throttle located?

  • RobL

    After coming back to this bike a couple of times, I realized the genius in it. The typical “show chopper” frame with the high backbone tube always perches an afterthought tank on top of it, making it even more disproportional. Motoshop Tonouchi tucked a custom tank into that see-through void that makes “show choppers” look even more ungainly, bringing an integration that was the hallmark of the pre-war Beemers. Using a more realistic fork angle complements the proportions. An interesting effect, contracting the chopper lines creates an expanded art deco BMW look.

  • Tim Hanna

    Like Eli I want to know where the clutch and throttle are.

  • RobL

    Looks like it’s a hand shift, see the chrome lever on the left side that comes up right at the “V” of the seat, and that it was converted to a foot clutch.

    I would also assume an internal throttle, see the black cable coming out of the triple tree and going to the middle of the motor, and on to the carb. Safe to say the black cable is not the headlight wire as a white wire is visible coming from the headlight and going into the frame backbone.

    You do have to enlarge the pics to see these details.

  • http://STUMBLE denny

    NICE, but with no signal lights or tail/brake light, it’s not street legal, too bad!