A midnight obsession
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.