About ten years ago both the Americans as the Europeans discovered the Japanese custom-scene. Mostly thanx to Zero the typical style of building in the land of the rising sun was forever put on the map. Westerners began to visit the big Japanese bikeshows and discovered not only Zero was building chops in a special way. The diversity of styles was immensely big and each style was bearing a definate Japanese stamp.
The L&L crew were there too and we were astounded by what we saw at events like the Moon Eyes Bikeshow. In the beginning all bikes there had a very high show quality. The Japanese had taken over mostly American custom aspects and had made it their own. They liked weird stuff, like glossy fake leather seats, something they did in the States but everybody forgot about it.
Or they took their own turn in the lane splitter effect of Early Choppers.
These early chops were made as narrow as possible by the Americans so they could blast through heavy traffic. The Japanese imitated that style but exaggerated it. Narrow Glide frontends were made even narrower. Handlebars and gastanks too! It seemed like they went crazy! Wheels and tires? Same recepy! Wow, you bet that looks almost from another planet when you see it for the first time.
But also some thing like the American seventies styles was embrased in Japan.
In the 1970’s frames were stretched and raked in America, frontends became longer, Kings and Queen seats became into fashion, feet high sissybars and ultra high pipes.
The Japanese apparantly only dug the most extreme versions of choppers from that era.
They managed to make their own even look more extreme. At the moment you can find movies on You Tube with Japanese bikers riding around on their seventies chops. Bikes that look totally crazy. It impresses me a lot!
Jesse James and his way of building bikes also did not remain unnoticed in Japan. They took the style and made it their own. And then something else: Japanese paintjobs. Those are absolutely of the highest quality. Not only because of the craftsmenship but also because of the originality. Another thing that makes the japanese way of building so different is the fact that hardly anything they make is symmetric. Much is made by hand, the old skool way. No CNC machines here. And their handmade parts often look almost organic, as if it has grown that way. In short, what was happening in Japan was definitely Da bomb!!!
Today, change has come to tsunami country. They seem to prefer bikes that look like they have been ridden for years. Damaged paint, rust, dents in the sheetmetal, seats wich are torn and pegs with signs of intensive use. Very cool indeed, but not if those bikes are going to replace the Japanese choppers with a high Show quality. It used to be that you tried to build your chopper as clean as possible. Everything had to look perfect. You first took your creation to shows on a trailer and after having done that for a year it was time for riding it. Damaging it a little by doing so is a natural process.
I hope the high show quality of the bikes in japan won’t disappear. That would really be a shame. Here at L&L we build everything. Twowheelers that look perfect or bikes that look they have been ridden for centuries. At the moment however we can’t wait to find a customer who wants us to build him a Japanese lanesplitter with a high show quality.
We have the Tokyu Thug parts in stock. What we don’t have we can make as if it has been done in Suchi territory.
I already know who is going to be the painter.
Shit, man, how I would love to do that!