YAMIYA:

A mid­night ob­ses­sion

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

Loosely trans­lated from Ja­panese, yamiya means dark­ness, as in the op­po­site of day­light. Kat­suya Oe, now pres­i­dent of Mo­tor­cy­cle Ya­maiya, based in Nagoya, chose this name be­cause the com­pany he founded was the fruits of his af­ter­hours labours, far into the night. Orig­i­nally he worked in the line of spe­cialty cloth­ing, but when pro­duc­tion was trans­ferred from Ja­pan to China it forced him to di­ver­sify. Kat­suya’s pas­sion, as it hap­pened, was mo­tor­cy­cles, specif­i­cally the Honda CB750, so 20 years ago he be­gan to pro­cure new old stock parts and to pro­duce re­place­ment com­po­nents for this iconic model; from the orig­i­nal CB750 through to the sub­se­quent K vari­a­tions. One of the key com­po­nents in any restora­tion, and es­pe­cially in the case of the CB750, is the ex­haust sys­tem, so Kat­suya pro­duced pat­terns and moulds to re­man­u­fac­ture the four-pipe sys­tem to ex­act orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion. He opened his re­tail shop in 1995, do­ing restora­tions as well as sup­ply­ing an in­creas­ing ar­ray of com­po­nents, in­clud­ing fuel tanks, mud­guards, side cov­ers, head­light shells and many other smaller items. He now has two more ware­houses full of parts and does a thriv­ing ex­port busi­ness as well as sup­ply­ing a hun­gry home mar­ket. The shop presents a modest ex­te­rior in a small lane in Nagoyta, but in­side is a ver­i­ta­ble cor­nu­copia of CB750 bikes and parts. The show­room is on the ground floor, tightly packed with com­plete ma­chines and show cases full of com­po­nents, while the work­shop and main parts in­ven­tory is up­stairs. Yamiya’s In­ter­na­tional Sales Man­ager Shim­pei Takai says the com­pany can sup­ply fully re­stored bikes as well as the ma­jor and mi­nor com­po­nents from stock. “We some­times do cus­tom bikes like Café Rac­ers for cus­tomers, but we pre­fer to do orig­i­nal mod­els. We do the en­tire process; pow­der coat­ing frames, blast­ing the en­gine cases, chrome, wheel build­ing and so on. Here in Nagoya, white CB750s are very pop­u­lar (there were five un­der con­struc­tion at the time of my visit) and we do many of these – white paint­work, in­stru­ment faces, seat cov­ers, plus ex­tra chrome parts. Last year we started do­ing parts for the CB400/4, and in the fu­ture we may con­sider do­ing the same for the CB500/550 if there is suf­fi­cient de­mand. We need to do some mar­ket re­search be­fore we com­mit to that.”

I’ll take a set of CB500 pipes!

A 350-4 nes­tles amongst CB750s on the crowded show­room floor. Shim­pei Takai (right) and Akemi Oe (sis­ter of founder Kat­sya Oe), ser­vice the boom­ing in­ter­na­tional sales. ABOVE CEN­TRE An­other of the pop­u­lar white CB750s nears com­ple­tion. ABOVE Yamiya’s modest ex­te­rior be­lies what is in­side. BE­LOW LEFT One of Yamiya’s sig­na­ture prod­ucts – orig­i­nal CB750 pipes and muf­flers. BE­LOW IN­SET An­other Yamiya spe­cialty – orig­i­nal CB750 fuel tanks.

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