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Destino Custom Garage – ‘Samurai’

Posted on December 5, 2011 by Scott in Bobber. 69 comments


Last week at the Sydney Motorcycle Show this stunning Samurai caused quite a commotion when it was unveiled to the public. At first glance you might think it’s been built by Zero Engineering; the creators of this Samurai style bobber, but when you take a closer look you’ll see there’s one obvious difference – we’ll get to that in a moment. The bike was built by Destino Custom Garage who are a Sydney shop that specialise in custom builds on metric cruisers. Their goal was not to replicate the Zero style Samurai, but to build their own on a completely different platform. The Zero Engineering bikes have always been focused on American engines due to Shinya’s love of the American culture and all things old. “Because we specialise in Japanese motorcycles, we thought that it is only fitting that our Samurai is powered by a Japanese engine” said Jimmi from Destino.

Destino tried a number of different configurations for this bike, but in the end they chose the powerful 1100cc V-twin Yamaha engine. “They sound amazing and have plenty of ‘useable’ power” says Jimmi. “We think that the V-Twin is perfectly suited to our samurai design. Due to Australian registration laws, we could not do a ground up build, we had to start with a donor bike. We chose a brand new xvs1100, almost every single component on the bike was changed or modified to acheive our look”.

Genuine antiqued brass Tsuba – samurai sword hilt

“A true Japanese warrior has a strong & powerful centre of balance” says Nikki from Destino. “Slung low & mean… ready to pounce. We wanted to capture that in the bikes stance.” The front forks have been raked to achieve that look and the riding position is strong yet sleek. The bike might look like a hard tail but there is an internal mono shock suspension for added comfort. Another interesting feature that is a salute to its Japanese heritage is the fuel tank has been emblazoned with a genuine antique brass Tsuba (samurai sword hilt). Some other features include twin front discs and custom made pipes that look like they mean business.

We’ve been told that Destino are only making 4 of these Samurai bikes each year and will be selling them to clients on an invite only basis. Which means they think you have to be worthy of their bike before you can even get your wallet out. Each motorcycle will be custom built to suit its owners specifications – which will ensure each Samurai is a one off unique piece as it rolls out the garage door. The price we were quoted was around A$35,000 but will vary depending on the components you choose. What do you think, are you worthy of one?

To see more of this Samurai, check out the video. Or to express your interest or ask a question hit this.

A cool yet understated take on the humble brake light

Jimmi & NIkki stand behind their 9 month obession

  • mondo

    Great build, great shots! Kudos to the photographer – love to find out who he is.

  • Ugh

    I should have studied harder and got a white collar job so I could buy a bobber when I grew up…

    Best thing about it is the paintjob. 

  • SportsterMike

    Nice bike – shades of Exile in there too – dare I say? Not sure about the wingnuts – is the engine vibey?

  • GuitarSlinger

    Eeeesh ! 

    You guys ( Australia ) can’t do a ground up custom build ? I thought y’all were as ‘ Free’ as we are here in the US . Not that our government(s) aren’t trying to stick us with the same restrictions mind you , but our Hot Rod and Custom M/C communities , SEMA  and the  industries involved , at least so far have had the resources to fight em off 

    One tiny pedantic moment on the article if you don’t mind 

    Shinya Kimura now does business under the ‘ Chabott Engineering ‘ moniker with ‘ Zero ‘ being a completely separate company , so it would of been more accurate to say this Custom was influenced by Shinya Kimura , rather than by ‘ Zero ‘ 

    One look at this nice custom though would of told me it was not a Shinya build as far too many of his ‘ markers’ are missing and its a bit too smooth for Shinya’s aesthetics . Once you’ve seen a Shinya Kimura in person , you can spot one a mile away .  But this M/C is a darn nice build and the use of a Jap motor is brilliant 

    Rock On !

    • Ugh

      Oh look, an American.

    • Although Shinya is no longer working at Zero he was still the guy who started Zero and is also the original creator of the ‘Zero Samurai’ style motorcycle. 
      You are right, I should have made it clear that he no longer works at Zero.

  • matt muellner

    I cant see anything I like about this bike.  It’s a theme bike.  Uninspiring.

    • Doobie1

      Did you skip your happy pills today sweet pea!!

  • Really nice bike. Kudos to Destino

    At that money though, I’d prefer a Zero from Gasoline and have $ left over.

    • Dave

      The people who run deus are the same people involved in gasoline, isn’t that right? Still can’t get street cred and feel the need to hide behind another name? It’s the same coffee lounge style of BS shop as the first place.

      • One of the owners of Deus is also one of the owners of Gasoline.

        Gasoline sell Harleys, zero’s & hot rods. Totally different to Deus. They don’t have a coffee shop either. Go and check them out and have a chat to Foster, he’s the real deal. You’ll enjoy youself if you leave the misconceptions at home.

  • Madtatts

    Looks like they spent a lot of time shuffling through catalogs to buy parts that everyone can get. For 35 grand, I better get something that has custom levers and brake lights that you can’t get off the shelf. Don’t get me wrong, those are nice pieces, just not worth the inflated price tag.

  • Websys

    Destroyed a genuine antique Japanese Tsuba (sword guard) Shame on them !

    • somdudeonthenet

      I was thinking the same thing.. but a “real” tsuba can cost thousands of dollars. I think it was a genuine replica they used.

      • Websys

        If its a fake genuine antique brass Tsuba thats Ok then 🙂 I was wondering where they might come up with 4 identical tsuba a year. That would be a kind of a magic trick. They should not be telling Pipeburn that it is a genuine antique brass Tsuba if it is not, should they ?

  • Zeke Rigg

    I hate big slow fat heavy bikes and this fits in that category, actually i just don’t like heavy bikes. even a busa feels to heavy to me. also i refuse to pay more than 500$ for a bike so this thing fails as a bike for me. however this thing doesn’t deserve the crap you are giving it. I like how it looks i like the random bits of brass through out it, also that tail end is sick nasty. when ever i build a bike ground up I am jacking that idea. I love the looks of a ridged however shocks are rally nice when your hitting bumps at more than ten mph. so bravo on getting both.

    • Bigcorner

      do you ride farm posties then?

      • Zeke Rigg

        nope bikes i save from being scrap metal, normally low cc 2 50-150cc

        • Dave

          it’s not a rigid…

  • Benjamin Helton

    Making a custom motorcycle for yourself and making one to sell are two different things entirely. While this may have been the builders vision, it looks to me like a product, not a project.
    Take that as you will, each has it’s own unique market.

  • I love the samurai thing. Probably not in by budget this yer, lol. But yes my samurai would have to have suspension, so I could actually ride the thing. Inspiring work.

    • Dave

      it has suspension…

  • I’m in love. It’s nice to see some custom stuff in Australia other than Harleys.

    • Dave

      your not looking hard enough!!! Plenty of other non Harley customs in Oz

  • There’s nothing there I would change…. I tried and I’m still looking. Ok maybe the riding position. Other than that, I’ll take one! Never too old to ride something cool.

  • I saw it at the motorcycle show in Sydney, the lines are so sexy. It certainly stood out in a sea of production bikes. Well done Destino.

  • Not sure I care. Seems strange to me to buy a new bike, then build a new bike from it (kind of like British Customs.) Reminds me too much of just buying a production bike. 35 grand and special invite? Someone must think highly of themselves. lol

    For that kind of money, I could keep busy with new projects for awhile and then some.

  • kyle

    cool bike, but purchase by invitation only? seriously??

    • Websys

      Maybe that is due to the shortage of irreplaceable Japanese Tsuba ? I have nothing against the bike but destroying an original work of art to make it is shameful.

  • harryfxr

    So it’s a completely unoriginal copy of another builders idea but the average person is unworthy of owning it. Is this elitist bullshit typical in Australia or is it something these to goofballs dreamed up on their own.

    • Wiseguy

      Dude, don’t be so hard on yourself…. it sounds more like clever marketing designed to get people talking rather than elitist stuff. I’ll bet they sell you one if you sent them an email…. LOL no invite required!

  • luSca custom design

    pheraps the best xvs1100 custom I never saw!

  • Bigmattie

    Without it sounding negative, I’m interested to know if there are buyers willing to pay 35K for a metric cruiser? and whether the age old stigma that only American iron being worth big bucks has finally been outgrown. Destino, many takers yet?

  • Dave

    “Due to Australian regulation laws”
    if that’s a valid excuse then how does no front guard, no right side mirror, open headers (their is no possible way that could pass the dB laws and perhaps epa laws), no number plate bracket or illumination and probably another 50 things if inspected closer meet Australian regulations?
     Speaking of mirrors, why would Destino mount it on the left side? I question if they even built this bike. Looks like it’s been put together overseas (or supplied as a kit) for overseas market and filtered down to Australia.

    • Geoffw

      LOL…. the custom police is here… i am sure that they can make you one with a postie bike exhaust and extra mirrors with ADR approved lighting… dont take it all too seriously. I reckon they did it more for show.

      • Dave

        yeah but i’m not the one using the ADR laws as an excuse about doing a ground up build… Read the article.

  • Dazza

    WTG guys all the hard work has paid off I believe. 

  • Davidabl2

     . Not an original bike, since it’s a “Zero wannabee” but a vast improvement over either of the metric cruiser paradigms those being.H.D. “Wannabee” or the more contemporary Warrior/Meanstreak kind of ride.

    Too bad none of the  Japan big 4 make something like it, or as much like it as could be made legal.

  • Anonacme

    If this was built by just some guy cause he wanted a zero style bike then cool. But an actual custom bike shop. Sorry just shows you guys most likely cannot weld or fabricate. Or have any ideas of your own. Your other bikes you sell are with bolt on kits from USA. Is this just more of the same?

  • Geoffw

    if you look at the zero concept, they made the samurai bike popular, but did not create the samurai style. Same as Harley did not create the bobber…. its a style. I think its a bit pricey for me, but its still the best damn metric bike that I have seen in a long long while. Kudos to Destino for doing something different with Japanese bikes.

    • Davidabl2

      Isn’t Shinya Kimura credited as the inventor of Samurai style?

  • Davmo

    Always amazed at the passion, positive and negative inspired by these machines. Not my particular cup of tea, but a beautiful creation just the same. Some people need to get a grip about Japanese Tsuba. They are far from rare, and I think a Samurai (swordmaker or warrior) would rather see that sword hilt on the side of a screamin piece of iron, than in a fat bald man’s collection case.

    • Websys

      A tsuba belongs on a sword, thats what it is made for, thats its function. It serves no meaningful function on the side of a tank other than to add unnecessary weight. To destroy a piece of functional art in order to make some meaningless decoration, is the epitomy of bad taste and poor engineering.

      • Davmo

        Websys, You cause me great laughter. “buy it now”on ebay, for $180. Your response is exactly what I am talking about. Do a web search, these hilts have floated around without their swords for centuries. They are pieces of metal, made by dudes years ago, kind of like me fabricating motorcycle parts. Now if some dude 500 years from now wants to reform one of my trippletree clamps into a head-bashing weapon, I say rock on. I’m only sad I wasn’t there to see it. The bike is Japanese, the metaphor obvious, let it be, and enjoy a really cool bike.

        • Websys

        • Jimmy

          Amen brother….. “No animals or genuine tsubas were harmed in the making of this motorcycle” LOL …. its just a replica, you said it, a metaphor!  ; ) JB

      • Davmo

        As far as the “function” of which you speak, it is to keep ones hands from being hurt by the business end of a sword during the act of slicing a body. Perhaps you know someone who can get the full “functionality” out of a Samurai sword, but they are mostly a collectable with the odd chance of actual use.

        • Websys

      • Websys

        Are your tripple trees a work of art ? Should we use the canvases from the great masters as bike covers then? That is your attitude taken to its logical conclusion. You would destroy someone elses work of art just because you don’t have the skill to make it yourself.

        • Davmo

          Watched the youtube vids, only tools I don’t have were the antique Samurai Olympus stereo microscope. Actually, I do have the skill, tools and portfolio stretching over 30 years. Used most metals to make everything from fine jewelry to 70′ steel sculpture, one of a kind,high-end electronic musical instruments, and oh yes, occasionally I toss off a custom bike. Speaking of which, Hey Andrew, if you decide to run my bike, don’t tell Websys it is me, unless you enjoy these off-topic rants. So yes, to answer your question, I would cover books, wipe my ass, or blot oil from the floor of my shop with what you might consider art, but everything a man creates is art… it is only a question of how good or memorable. And if my first comment about the “bald fat man” with the tsuba collection hit a little close to home, I am sorry.

          • Websys

            And you’d tear down the Parthanon to build a bike shed.

          • Jimmy

            Just for the record…. it wasnt a genuine Tsuba. Something was not communicated correctly in the article, our apologies. It is a replica of a genuine Tsuba. Something readily available in most parts of Asia. Cheers, Jimmy

          • Davmo


          • Websys

            Are they lying about it so?
            quote ” the fuel tank has been emblazoned with a genuine antique brass Tsuba” is /quote

          • Davidabl2

            “Antiqued” not ‘antique” apparrently. Just as well.
            Great idea, if no antique samurai swords have to
            be “sacrificed” 

          • Websys

            Agreed absolutely, must be a typo in the artcle then. Thanks for clarifying that.

  • Florido_s

    Great bike, looks like something i “need” in my garage. Only if the wife will permit, she doesn’t see the need LOL. I priced the Zero here in Australia, the Type 9 (the only one with suspension) is around $42k. They are also beautiful machines. Not sure I like the american powertrain on the zero. Things are always so expensive here ; (

  • Davidabl2

    “Not sure I like the american powertrain on the zero.”
     But it’s the real thing after all. I’d suggest buying one in Las Vegas & driving it around ’till it  reaches whatever mileage will qualify it as “used” in Oz then ship it home.  Great vacation, that!

  • Sardeep_S

    I have been staring at this bike for some time. I have no words. Ok, perhaps one word; beautiful

  • Mike

    Great Video, the paintwork is amazing.

  • Davidabl2

    Worthy, in its own way. Yamaha really should take notice: Something like this but with a 2-into-one-into two
    exhaust (which might allow for a less massive looking canister if there’s 2 smaller ones??)  oil in frame
    system so the “oil tank’ can be a reserve gastank..removable P’pad and passenger pegs..and call it done.
    Much nicer than,say a  Yam Warrior…

  • Davidabl2

    ..And since in the USA  the D.O.T. requires that turn signals be on those horrid stalks.. make the stalks with a ball and socket mount on each end so’s the owner can remove them and mount the blinkers directly
    to the bike 🙂

  • Anthonytheartist

    Very cool in my book!

  • Martys

    Gidee Up, matt black everything and i’ll take one! this has to be the best custom yamaha around at the moment.

  • 4444design

    Awesome bike!

    Actually i don’t like those softtails but this ride is outstanding …


  • sean

    Great job guys! Awesome work. Got to ask what size wheels are those?

  • Chad Ellison

    If this motorcycle sells for $35k, I will truly be shocked. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good looking bike. And I’m very much into bobbers. But I agree with an earlier comment – most of the parts on this bike I believe can be purchased relatively inexpensively on the internet. It isn’t very easy to mount a smaller tank on this frame due to its double backbone, but it’s possible obviously. I’m currently building a bobber using this base model also (VStar 1100 Classic), but I believe mine is far better looking, not trying to be biased. I just can’t imagine this would sell for that much. But if it does, that would give me so much confidence that my bike would bring that much also, especially since it is a ground-up custom rebuild with some pretty awesome custom parts. Mine is similar in color theme with brass/bronze accents. I do want to say that this is a good looking bike. Good job! I’ve attached a pic of my unfinished project. I hope it attaches properly.