Shinya Kimura exhibited three of his remarkable creations at the Legends of the Motorcycle Concours, in the Custom motorcycles section, which I wasn’t a judge for – mine section was the vintage British machinery.  But, the Triumph and Excelsior foundations two of his machines caught my eye – here is someone doing interesting things with vintage engines.  His bikes are wabi-sabi, with all its handiwork visible, and the Triumph ‘Needle’ I found especially interesting, with really slim lines and a futuristic style.  They were displayed beside the usual American choppers, and some unusual ones too – Jesse James’ bikes especially, but I found Shinya’s by far the most intriguing.

Shinya Kimura with his ‘Needle’ custom, and friend [Paul d’Orleans]
There’s a story behind the skeleton; Kiehl’s is a big sponsor of this event, and Susan Towers, a VP, threw a reception two months before the event at Kiehl’s in SF. My wife noted a skeleton on display, and asked Susan if she had any extras, for her school. Susan said yes, then we forgot all about it until the Legends, when suddenly a skeleton was waiting to be wheeled 400 yards from the Kiehl’s booth at the show to our room. Shinya hijacked the prop for some pix; one was published in Old Bike magazine.


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.