Inspired by a samurai generals armor and named after a pioneering Japanese Isle Of Man TT Racer, Kenzo, a reimagined 1977 Honda Gold Wing, is the result of traditional craft combined with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, and plenty of headaches. And cuts. And burns. And serious reconsiderations of life choices.
In 1570, Honda Tadakatsu made a name for himself as one of Japan’s most revered samurai generals, winning against an enemy who outnumbered him 50 to 1 without so much as a punch being thrown, simply because they thought he was either insane, deadly, or both. Then, in 1930, kenzo tada spent forty days travelling to europe by rail and sea to take part in the isle of man tt. He was the events first japanese racer. Finally in 1977, the honda motor company popped out another gold wing gl1000 from its production line and, well, here we are. Oh, and just for the vintage gold wing fans: when we got it, it was mint. For about four minutes.
IT’S ONE THING TO HAVE AN IDEA, QUITE SOMETHING ELSE TO EXECUTE IT SO IT ACTUALLY WORKS.
Initially built in too-short a timeframe for the Bike Shed Show in 2018, the machine, while interesting, was unfortunately rather useless – and as William Morris (and later Tony Wilson) said, “Nothing useless can be truly beautiful”. Because of that, it came back to the DMOL workshop to be rebuilt from the ground up. So, in summary: we killed a machine. We made a machine. We killed that. And then made another. We are nothing if not true to our name.
The machine was built in CAD, but although all the bucks and templates were made from the same data, trying to successfully combine so many manufacturing processes – the inherent asymmetry of handmade aluminium panelling, the slightly more symmetrical composites, with the high-precision 3D prints and CNC parts – created the most instances of wanting to kick everything across the workshop floor and yell “f**k it.”
The result of all this frustration is Kenzo.
Report by dmolcustoms.com