Oishi Yoshio: A Ronin motorcycle for Pikes Peak

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
When we featured the Ronin 47 motorcycle a year ago, it quickly became one of the most popular bikes ever to appear on the site. So we’ve given it a starring role in the new book The Ride: 2nd Gear.

Most builders would be happy to sit on their laurels after such a successful launch, but not Magpul. They decided to turn the Ronin into a race weapon, and set their sights on the Pikes Peak hillclimb—one of the most difficult and dangerous competitions in the motorsport world.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
A call was put in to Travis Newbold—a man who knows the Peak so well, he’s won it on a 450cc dirt bike. And then work started on a new version of the Ronin, this time powered by the EBR 1190RX motor, rather than the Buell 1125.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
The bike was christened Ōishi Yoshio—after the samurai leader of the 47 Ronin—and was hand built by technician Johnny Schwaig and his team. And, as might be expected, every change to the production model was designed to reduce weight and maximize power.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
That meant CNC’d aluminum billet fork legs, an aluminum nacelle and bars, and a bespoke Brembo braking setup. The wheels are superlight BST carbon fiber items—matched to equally featherweight carbon fiber bodywork.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
The paint is somewhat unorthodox too, inspired by the 1980s Japanese anime series Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. It’s up there with the all-time great motorsport liveries.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
Ōishi Yoshio puts out a tremendous 185 bhp. And with a full load of fuel, weighs just 375 pounds (170 kilos). That’s 55 pounds less than the regular, road-going Ronin.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
Come race day, Newbold delivered. The Ronin was the 2nd fastest motorcycle in the ‘race to the clouds,’ beaten only by the factory-backed Honda CBR1000RR.

Ōishi Yoshio: the Ronin motorcycle that conquered Pikes Peak.
An incredible result for a first-time entry—especially on an unproven bike with a radical suspension system.

The whole Ronin story is equally fascinating, and without parallel in the motorcycle world. To learn more about the Magpul bikes and the people who build them, grab a copy of The Ride: 2nd Gear.

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Photography by Brandon LaJoie, from The Ride: 2nd Gear, copyright Gestalten 2015.