Purism meets high-tech. This is what you could call the spectacular custom conversion by Japanese Yuichi Yoshizawa, which he tackled in collaboration with BMW.

MOBILITY/MOTORCYCLES/CUSTOM: A custom conversion by Japanese Yuichi Yoshizawa in collaboration with BMW.

The custom scene of bike smithies alway s goes into the nitty gritty. And if you look at the works that emerge as a result of the most intensive processing and deepest mental dedication, you very often see the most brutal conversions made for places outside our planet. But I don’t mean that such things have no justification or are bad. Sometimes it is perhaps a bit too much. It’s always creative and to each his own. If you now take a look at the work of the custom forge „CUSTOM WORKS ZON“, it takes on a completely different dimension. Tradition, old-school and modern mechanical engineering come together here: On Sunday, 2 December 2018, the Japanese motorbike forge CUSTOM WORKS ZON presented a fascinating custom bike realised on behalf of BMW Motorrad. The centrepiece of the machine is the prototype of a completely new boxer engine.

CUSTOM WORKS ZON was founded in 2003 by Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda in Shiga Prefecture and is known for their extraordinary creations. They are regularly invited to the renowned shows of the customiser scene, such as the „Mama Tried Show“ in Milwaukee, „The Hand Built Motorshow“ in Austin or the „Brooklyn Invitational“. There are plenty of prizes and awards on the shelves of the small workshop, which repeatedly demonstrates its craftsmanship and independent style.

Yuichi Yoshizawa was enormously pleased about the collaboration with BMW Motorrad: „It was a great honour and challenge to be allowed to build a motorbike around the prototype of such a spectacular new boxer engine for one of the most traditional manufacturers in the industry.“

There was already much speculation on site about the large-volume prototype engine. Both the external geometry and the visible elements, such as the pushrods running above the cylinders in chrome-plated protective tubes, are reminiscent of the boxer engines built by BMW Motorrad until the end of the 1960s – only with significantly larger displacement and modern air-oil cooling. Further details about the engine and its possible future use will be announced at a later date.

ZON’s signature is clearly visible on the custom bike: classic styling, modern production techniques and plenty of craftsmanship in the detail solutions – all in the highest Japanese quality. The bike’s very low silhouette is reminiscent of Ernst Henne’s record-breaking machines of the late 1920s and 1930s. The large 21-inch front and 26-inch rear wheels are machined from aluminium and fitted with relatively narrow tyres, and the trapezoidal front fork is also machined from solid. The tubular steel rear swingarm is attached to the tubular trellis frame with hidden suspension. The large-volume engine hangs in this elaborately manufactured frame construction, and the tank, seat unit and front fairing fitted inside it are hand-beaded from sheet metal.

The spectacular build by CUSTOM WORKS in collaboration with BMW Motorrad earned a lot of recognition in the scene, winning the „Best of Show Motorcycle“ award, the highest accolade at the Hot Rod Custom Show in 2018.

When I see a conversion like this, I look forward to spring so I can ride it myself again. However, I won’t have the pleasure of riding something this fine. Be that as it may, one has dreams and they are sometimes particularly intense around the motorbike.


virtualdesignmagazine Michael Hiller


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