Motor Rock - Yamaha SR400 Custom

The Japanese word Kaizen has been used here before at Iron & Air in reference to a creed, philosophy, style or approach of a custom builder - and it obviously works well when referring to today's stripped down, all-things-have-a-purpose, garage-built Japanese-based customs.

As a refresher, "Kaizen" is the Japanese philosophy of incremental and continuous improvement through ingenuity and simple solutions. Japanese motorcycles have long demonstrated that philosophy and it shows up authentically once again in this build from our new friend at Motor Rock, Keita Kobayashi.

Established in 2004 as a boutique custom motorcycle garage and based in the port-city of Nagoya, Japan - Motor Rock is producing some remarkably clean and beautiful machines. This Yamaha SR400 (a favorite base of Motor Rock's) has been redefined as an elegant commuter bike.

And while not for everyone, it seems bikes like this often draw a line in the sand between the two distinct profiles of motorcycle critics: engineers and designers. Design is one of those things that impacts our lives here on planet earth everyday - whether we realize it or not (I'm not going to say which audience doesn't realize this enough). Yes, performance, reliability, safety and comfort matters. Equally important, and often felt at a subconscious level, is the role of how a motorcycle's appearance makes one feel. We all have our opinions on what constitutes good design (if you don't believe me, hang out on our Facebook page for a while). Truthfully, it's not a solvable debate. As my good musician friend says about music (and can be applied to the world of motorcycle gawking): "Who says who makes the best noise?" It's to each of our preferences. Iron & Air loves this bike's lines, hitting a design nerve for many of us here in the shop.

So while some of you may knock Japanese bikes in favor of British iron for instance, keep in mind that nearly every seasoned designer the world over has been influenced and inspired by Japanese culture and design in some fashion. It is all around them culturally - in their products, in their landscape, in their homes, in their attire. And it is often studied by art students around the globe as they journey to understand the impact design has on our every day lives.

We're looking forward to more from our eastern friends at Motor Rock.

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