We’ve been fans of Shiro Nakajima’s work since Bike EXIF kicked off eight years ago. From classic restorations to full-on race bikes, he’s able to turn his hand to anything that requires high-end craftsmanship and an eye for detail.
Nakajima is best known as the man who started up Ritmo Sereno, the Tokyo shop famous for its immaculate BMW and Moto Guzzi customs. That was fifteen years ago, but for the past couple of years, he’s gradually reduced his involvement in the business he started.
Nakajima still pops into the office once a month to keep an eye on things. But these days he runs his own company, 46Works, from a beautiful old building in the foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains.
It’s only a hundred miles or so from Tokyo, but the snowy landscape is far removed from the neon bustle of the city.
It’s a 1973 V7 belonging to a client who plans to use it for vintage racing, a subject that is also close to Nakajima’s heart.
At the moment it’s running an 850cc engine, breathing through Keihin CR Special Racing carburetors. Shiro has rebuilt the engine using OEM Moto Guzzi parts, and also worked on the heads to improve gas flow.
The exhaust system is a one-off special in hand-bent titanium, and the engine delivers its power via a five-speed Le Mans gearbox.
The forks are from a Yamaha, but Shiro won’t say which model. (“It’s a secret!”) They’ve been completely rebuilt with new internals, and apparently transform the handling of the Guzzi, way beyond the original cartridge-style setup.
There’s a new brake system to match, with 300mm discs and two-pot Brembo calipers up front.
The fiberglass tank looks like a hybrid mix of original and modern V7, and there’s a hand-made aluminum fuel cell slotted underneath.
It’s bike building of the highest order, and we’ve barely scraped the surface of the details. Those details are impressive everywhere you look—from the custom aluminum rearsets to the cockpit instrumentation, with a machined housing to cradle a classic Stack race tachometer, a P-Lap III timer, and an air/fuel gauge from PLX.
For most builders that would be the end of the story, but not for Nakajima. He’s about to remove the engine and replace it with a 750cc race unit. Then he’ll ship the bike to the USA, ready for his client to race in the AHRMA vintage series at Daytona Bike Week.
We’re hoping the rider does this magnificent machine justice. And hoping even more that Nakajima-san makes a version based on the modern V7—because the V7 in the Bike EXIF garage is due for an overhaul …