Nip­pon rar­ity

If you’ve never heard of an Asahi mo­tor­cy­cle, you’re not alone.

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

Asahi beer, yes, and not a bad drop ei­ther. How­ever it would ap­pear that apart from the name, bike and beer have noth­ing in com­mon. Ac­cord­ing to the So­ci­ety of Au­to­mo­tive En­gi­neers of Ja­pan Inc., the Asahi AA was the first mass-pro­duced mo­tor­cy­cle in Ja­pan, man­u­fac­tured from 1933 to 1939. Th­ese mod­els used a pressed-steel frame with rigid rear end and girder forks and 40,000 were built dur­ing the pre-war pe­riod. The So­ci­ety says “This model can­not be found in pub­lic mu­se­ums, be­cause it was con­sid­ered so com­mon­place that it was rarely pre­served.” Fur­ther re­search shows that the com­pany, Miy­ata Seisakusho) be­gan as a gun man­u­fac­turer in 1892 and in 1913 be­gan pro­duc­ing a copy of an early Tri­umph which was sold mainly to the Tokyo Po­lice. The post WW2 mod­els, pro­duced from 1952 to 1965, were called FA-II; a 250cc side-valve not un­like a Pan­ther, de­vel­op­ing 7.6hp at 4,200 rpm. This ex­am­ple was im­ported by Syd­ney-based clas­sic spe­cial­ists Old Gold Mo­tor­cy­cles (02 4574 2885) and is now owned by lo­cal col­lec­tor Peter Brown.

TOP Asahi was one of many com­pa­nies to use a ris­ing sun logo. BELOW Fac­tory cat­a­logue photo.

Up­side­down forks! Mit­subishi gen­er­a­tor. LEFT Fuel gauge is just vis­i­ble un­der old Per­spex on fuel tank cap.

Ja­panese-made Amal car­bu­ret­tor and bowl. Pil­grim pump de­liv­ers thelu­bri­cant.Drive side with neat al­loy pri­marychain­case. There’s a re­sem­blance to the Bri­tish Pan­therthere some­where.

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