Enigmatic custom motorcycle builder and artist- Shinya Kimura

Enigmatic custom motorcycle builder and artist- Shinya Kimura

With the latest craze for café racers, custom motorcycles are in news. From Yamaha to Ducati, custom motorcycle builders have dissected every metal parts of these iconic motorcycle companies. Reverse engineering motorcycles and building it takes loads of creativity and concentration. Building custom motorcycle is a tradition and only few people do it to perfection.


There are great custom motorcycle builders like Jesse James, Ian Barry and Billy Lane, but Japanese Shinya Kimura has caught the imagination of many bike lovers.  Right now he is one of the most famous custom motorcycle builders. Shinya Kimura started his career as custom motorcycle builder in Tokyo, Japan with his first bike being Yamaha DT1. He Studied entomology, but choose restoring and building motorcycles as his career. After spending more than ten years in restoring motorcycles, he shifted his career to customizing and modifying motorcycles both mechanically and artistically. He has designed and built more than 300 Harley Davidsons in Japan alone. He is famous for his “Zero style” custom motorcycles. He was well known in custom motorcycle enthusiast circles for building “Samurai Choppers” at his company Zero Engineering, a company he co-founded. In 2006, he moved to California, where he founded Chabott Engineering, where he built functional motorcycles for clients, which can cost up to $100,000. He has created motorcycles for clients like Brad Pitt.

According to him, he does not sketch or design, but lets it flow naturally when he works in custom motorcycles. He works with his own rules and does not follow any particular style, which is the true essence of custom motorcycles. This is one of the reasons why there is a long list of clients, who want to work with him. He is an eccentric figure in custom motorcycles scene. If you watch one of his videos in YouTube, you can feel the aura of vintage original machine designs. He is not just a custom motorcycle builder, but an artist. In 2008, two of his company’s motorcycles were used in the movie Iron Man. In 2010, Kimura and his company were the subject of a documentary which was nominated for 2010 Vimeo documentary award.
His philosophical and creative ideas have inspired many custom motorcycle builders. He was one of the first custom motorcycle builders ever to be recognized by the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance exhibition. Shinya Kimura is a vintage soul, who creates motorcycles in its true form. Why Kimura’s work is incredible is that he is an artist, with an artistic vision. He has created machines from vintage raw materials, combining engineering and aesthetics. He has created art work for the future.

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