[by Gestalten. Photos by Hermann Koepf]

If you think you’ve seen them all – the Cafe Racers & Scramblers of the Alt.Custom movement – you can be 100% sure that a Japanese builder will come around the corner and surprise you. In this case that corner was just outside the Pacifico in Yokohama, at the Mooneyes Custom Show in 2015. This Honda CB750F amazes with its sleek, perfectly balanced stance and execution, and happened to be the private bike of Takashi Nihira, who opened his shop (Wedge) in 2009.  Nihira was originally a car mechanic, and knows how to manipulate sheet metal, and how to paint. This combination of skills makes up two-thirds of the work of being a great motorcycle builder – the rest is having a keen eye.

[Hermann Koepf]
Leaving most of the technical parts on this Honda CB750F original, Takashi-San concentrated on the stance and proportions of his build. For him it’s harder to built a bike if there is no customer, because his ideas seem to be endless. Starting with the bare skeleton, the frame was cut, cleaned and welded together to create a horizontal look and that skinny tail section. The tank is a one-off but shaped to look like an original Honda item. The seatpost is built from stainless steel and wraps tightly around the frame and rear wheel, which is held by a modified Honda swingarm.  The original Comstar wheels have been painted matte brown, and are proof they can look cool with the right choice of color.  Avon Safety Mileage MkIIs are the tires of choice. The suspension has been lowered front and rear. An unusual sight is the original handlebar which are slightly modified but give a comfortable riding position. The carbs and engine are rebuilt and stock, so are the brake rotors, although a Grimeca master cylinder is used up front. The exhaust is also custom fabricated, but intended to look close to stock. The blood red paintwork was of course mixed in-house.

[Hermann Koepf]
Takashi-San claims he’s not looking for a particular style when he begins a project, and discovers the perfect look during the building process.  Most important to him is balance, and the proportions of the rider and the bike. It comes as no surprise that Takashi-San was able to bring home the award for ‘Best Domestic Custom’ at the Mooneyes show – the most coveted prize for motorcycle builders in Japan. Keep an eye out for his recently finished Honda GL 400; we can expect much more him in the future.

[Hermann Koepf]
When did you start building motorcycles? 
From a teenager. I started to customize in the backyard of my house.

What was the initial start to the CB?  Was it a customer bike or your own project?
I’m building the bike for a customer after receiving a offer – usually. But This is my personal bike. It is like a free project; therefore I could challenge myself, and try new things with a free mind to customize.

What has been done on the bike? Parts? Basic idea? Inspiration?
Basically I do everything. I make the conception of the style and details. Then the sheet metal working, welding, machining, painting….but I don’t do metal plating!  I order that from a special shop.\

[Hermann Koepf]

Who inspires Takashi? 
There is no one. The Idea has no limit. Any time, anywhere, I can get many ideas. Especially while customizing on other bikes.

Any signature details you like to include in your builds? 
I’m not conscious of myself for any style. I look for the coolest style for each bike, always. That’s it. But I’m very happy because many people say ‘that’s the Wedge Style’ recently when they saw my works.

Does you prefer a type of bike? 
I like any style. But the most important thing is balance. Style, performance, generation, riding position, in combination with rider…balance is all.

[Hermann Koepf]
[Hermann Koepf]
 

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