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