There are as many ways to celebrate the New Year’s arrival as there are people on earth, fireworks and getting blind drunk are some of the more popular pastimes here in Australia. But, at Pipeburn HQ we put our heads together and decided there was only one fitting way for us to welcome in 2024, as we call upon the custom bike Gods to deliver us the best year of bikes to date. And that was to start the year with an offering, from one of the world’s true greats, a fresh custom creation from the genius that is Kengo Kimura. It’s a 1970 Triumph TR6 Trophy, that’s been given the low-down scrambler look for the back street showdown, and Heiwa Motorcycle call it ‘Parrot Star’.
But to truly appreciate this motorcycle, you’re going to have to dust off those bleary eyes from the night before and get ready to dig into the details. From his workshop in the Hiroshima port district, Kimura-san has the ability to force you to look twice, sit up, scratch your head and realise all is not as it seems. Those familiar with classic Triumphs will have already noticed that this bike is much more than just amazing bodywork and a killer paint job, but even they will have to take another glance to see just how much of what you think is from Britain is all made by one man in Japan.
The most obvious change is the fact that the frame, the whole foundation and starting point of any build, is not the original, in fact it’s not even OEM. Having seen one too many classic frames, the head honcho at Heiwa, decided that this build deserved a totally new lease on life. So, with a bunch of low alloy steel on hand, he set about crafting a vintage-style frame with some extra clever little tricks thrown in for good measure. The benefit is not just in the looks, but a motorcycle which performs a hell of a lot better than the factory and its not-so-stiff steel item.
The headstock helps to create the right angle for the low and loud machine, while the backbone and single down tube are very reminiscent of the OEM style at the time. But look just past the centrepost and you see two beautifully radiused tubes, that shape themselves up and over the tyre, rather than running for a straight line to the axle. Instantly you have a stunning subframe and a look that opens up the rear wheel visually in a way you just don’t get on the average classic bike. This also meant that Kimura-san had to fabricate his own swingarm for the build, and it’s flawless in fit and finish.
But, now you have to look again, is it rigid? Because it’s definitely not a standard twin shock! No, it’s neither, as the custom Lowdown shock absorber is a single unit and the entire mono-shock infrastructure is hidden within the functional oil tank. To ensure the front end has that same Kimura-san subtle and yet spectacular finish, he first started with a set of custom triple clamps with built-in risers and dropped through them a pair of 50mm Kayaba forks. At the bottom of these, you find the big ticket item, a Robinson double-sided drum brake with twin leading shoes, which has been finished to perfection.
This is the only way you can describe the signature Kimura-san bodywork too! The fuel tank is simply flawless, as the hand-hammered piece lowers itself considerably over the backbone to sit tight against the engine and creates a lower line perfectly parallel to the ground.
Moulded into the top is a modern race-style filler, and then it all flows down to the centreline where a unique and now chromed support looks like a classic muscle car piece of trimming. The seat base and tail are formed as one, perfectly shaped to sit the rider low and then provide protection from the back tyre.
The custom side covers may look closed off, but one side serves as a hidden intake to funnel fresh air into the engine. Then that paint is gloriously laid down by the crew at Shakin’ Speedgraphix and the turned silver pinstripe and white graphics are allowed to flourish in the mix of Olive Green metallic and Dark Green metallic, which is then all then lovingly covered in layers of high end clear. The rest of the bike is left as simple and clean as possible, so as to maintain that classic vibe, with hand-built bars, and a headlight and a taillight straight from the Heiwa custom parts catalogue.
Finally, we can turn our attention to some parts that were actually built in the UK and that Triumph engine has been lovingly transformed in the same fashion as the rest of the bike. Having perfectly rebuilt the parallel twin, and given it a slick coat of polish and paint, there was however one more step before bolting it in. The engine mounts are all custom made in-house and they not only look trick, but they do a great job of limiting the vibration that is funnelled to the rider’s hands and feet. And the crank spins a little faster now too, with more fuel flowing via a Mikuni VM32 carb and that custom intake.
But it’s the exhaust that is the real rim shaker, with Kimura-san explaining to us that the high-rise system features “a slightly larger radius and is designed to rise gently from the bottom.” The ignition is all modern tech to ensure the engine purrs like a kitten and those side covers simply look better than new.
And it is as you take these in that you realise that master has created another surprise, because that primary is certainly not standard. “The key point of this vehicle is that the primary was changed to a belt drive, and the primary cover was designed and manufactured in 3 pieces,” Kimura-san smiles. And that’s the magic of this man, subtle and sensational in equal measures and 2024 is off to one hell of a start thanks to Heiwa.
[ Heiwa Motorcycle – Instagram ]