Custom: Shinya Kimura MV Agusta 750 S America

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We’re excited to be exclusively unveiling Shinya Kimura’s latest artwork, this custom MV Agusta 750 S America. Before taking us for a canyon ride yesterday, Shinya took the time to wheel the MV outside so we could shoot it. It was the first time the bike had ever left his workbench.

Photos: Grant Ray

“This is for a famous Japanese singer,” Shinya tells us. The unnamed singer has houses in both LA and Tokyo, Shinya speculates that the bike will see use in America before being shipped off to Japan.

“Basically, chassis is stock,” he continues. “I just cut the cross bar to make it removable for easy access to the cylinders and heads. Original MV Agusta is straight across, I had to remove it.”

“I made all the side covers, seat and fairing from sheet metal, by mallet.” Shinya has an old English wheel in his tiny LA-area shop, but says he rarely uses it in favor of forming the metal bodywork by hand himself. He uses 1/8” thick aluminum sheet which is much thicker than normal, making it less pliable and harder to work on. That’s one of the reasons why the mallet marks remain a lasting testament to the artist’s hand on the bikes he creates.

“I fitted GP forks and a leading brake and the 18-inch wheels,” Shinya says the mechanical work he did to this bike was very basic, in contrast to some of the wilder creations in his garage. “Not so special, I just fixed the inside of the motor.”

A neat detail are these glass jewels used as the idiot light lenses.

Shinya describes how he formed the front fairing, “At first I made the x-section by bracket, then put the skins between the bracket plates.”

As you can see, the stock 750 S America has an entirely different look.

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“I offered the customer to make an MV Agusta because I wanted to create an MV Agusta custom bike,” concludes Shinya.

Look for a full interview and a Shop photo feature in the coming days.

  • zipp4

    I’ve tried to understand the appeal of his bikes beyond the obvious craftsmanship, but I guess I just don’t “get” it.

    • Case

      I don’t get it either. I’m in awe of the craftsmanship but the end result is ugly.

    • Ducky

      A lot of people don’t, which is fine. Some people enjoy the dented, handmade “ratrod” appeal. If Shinya Kimura took the time to polish and smooth the bumps, giving it a more finished look, I’m sure it’d look tons better to a lot more people.

      Personally, I am ambivalent of the looks (it’s okay, just not drop dead gorgeous, at least in the photos), but I do find it amazing how the front fairing looks to be a single piece of thick aluminum hand beaten into shape (and the tank, for that matter). The only thing that bothers me is the flathead and philips screws. Come on man, more hex bolts! I keep getting the impression that Shinya Kimura emphasizes details only in certain parts of the bike he finds interesting (shape of the fairing pieces, the quality of the seat), but he doesn’t dedicate attention to the other, more basic bits (that’s art I guess).

      The exhaust is also really interesting. What is with the thickness of the tubing?

  • Ken


  • Peter

    I think it’s awesome. I’ve got a lot of respect for anyone who hand-forms metal.

  • Johndo

    I do appreciate the craftsmanship behind this, but still think it’s far from being a good looking bike. I’ve seen worse and I’ve seen much better.

  • Beale

    I love Shinya’s stuff. This one does look like it’s a simpler build than some of his others. I’d love to see the removable crossbar setup.

  • James Dean Meyer

    ” . . .the mallet marks remain a lasting testament to the artist’s hand on the bikes he creates.”

    Love it. Whenever my dad built something, be it a house, a baby rattle or a 4WD ’63 Chevy Nova, he always put a few ‘union marks’ somewhere. Just to say, “This was built by a man, by hand.”

    • Brammofan

      I love it, too. This is my new excuse when Ms.Brammofan asks, why are there hammer-shaped dents in the wall around this nail?
      “Baby, the mallet marks remain a lasting testament to the artist’s hand on the nails he hammers.”

  • Scott-jay

    Vintage MV engines are eye-candy today.
    And, the original America looks good, too.
    In their day, I thought both were pitiful.

  • Todd

    I don’t like ALL of his stuff, but I find this one quite aesthetically pleasing. In general I find most of his creations to be “interesting to the eye” at the very least. Gotta appreciate the craftsmanship regardless.

  • Corey

    Shinya’s bikes aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but they ring true with the age-old Japanese design philosophy of wabi-sabi, which has to do with transience, austere grace, intentional contrast of texture and asymmetry with imperfection. The Quakers, the Hindus and the Buddhists also share in the practice of leaving imperfections in deference to divine perfection. The Bauhaus lot also share a dedication to basic materials and making sure that materials used are visible and identifiable as such – wood looks like wood, metal looks like metal, etc. I love this stuff.

    • carter

      Exactly! These aren’t just custom bikes like any custom bike. They’re metaphysical manifestos, emissaries from the “floating world.” It connects ancient aesthetic traditions to modern machinery. Enlightenment can be found in metal as well as under a banyan tree. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the shimmering surface to me creates the illusory effect of a transitory existence. I would love to see it moving in person.

    • Barry

      Well put Corey. I always like the harsh “plain-ness” of his designs, even if the overall fit and finish appears questionable to most eyes(and on occasion downright non-functional as a motorcycle you can use all the time). He has a fondness for metal and what it wants to be instead of just trying to make it fit whatever practical form would make sense. I know a couple of his bikes personally, and while they are impractical and closer to rolling art than a lot of “rat rod” bikes, the details are glorious. OTOH, I loved the original 750S, and the one I’ve ridden around the block scared me to death for fear of scratching it in any way.

  • moby grape

    I hear his next project is going to be a Diavel.

  • Ken D

    I wonder what they’re saying at the MV Agusta Owners Club.

  • Markus

    I think his bikes are beautifull, and I think the zx10r is an ugly piece of plastic. So sue me, taste is subjective.

  • Charlie

    Customs make the world go round. I have a few. This one’s not for me, but it’s bold to attack a classic. Whatever floats your boat.

  • DoctorNine

    Hmmm… Well, it certainly is shiny.
    Reminds me of a vanadium steel Bowie knife.

  • mike

    It is totally unique, derived from his lifestyle and signature working style. For that reason, not for everyone, and not meant to be.

  • ivan

    Neat! OK his bikes aren’t for everybody. Some I do like more than others. This one remns me of the Acme Rocket Bike style too. Check out their updated website.

  • noone1569

    A lot of dislike here for this bike.

    Its not beautiful in a desmosedici sort of way, its beautiful in a utilitarian, lot of heart and soul in it sort of way. I would cherrish this bike and ride it as often as I could.

  • Kentaro

    asians with facial hair look so bad ass.
    But noone can top Hayao Miyazaki.

  • michael

    oh , I think you guys are looking for something that this is not. The beauty of this is how raw and non-uniform it is. All in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I would love love this bike (with a 1000cc engine, LOL).

  • Lawrence

    Doesn’t do as much for me as some of his other work, but then again, I’m a sucker for the older harley’s he’s done.

  • kevin linville

    my thoughts…

    that bike looks as fantastic to me as the plastic (prastuc) wrapped abominations and crappers look revolting
    the hammer marks are a testament…this metall was made by a person…there will never be another like it…thats it!!!
    prastuc has no place on a motorcycle…i dont care how cheap it is… or how cheap it looks… or …how cheap you look standing beside it

  • Robert W.

    My emotions are sorrows to see a spoiled fantastic italian original, same as someone with too much money buys a Ferrari GTO and starts to modify the car wings. Or is it fantastic to buy Mona Lisa and paint a funny mustache on it? It is a sign of missing culture and taste. A lot of arabian oilmultis bought old original Mercedes and modified nearly everything with the result: a valueless iron cluster! But I must admit, to burn an original Van Gogh brings really deep emotions into the hearts of people :-)