Wabi-Sabi Aesthetic Custom Motorcycle

Wabi-Sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty. Its aesthetic includes asymmetry, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of natural processes. In the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values, this style is equivalent to the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection of the Western World. Examples of Wabi-Sabi aesthetic motorcycles? Look at the work of Japanese born Chica, Keino, Kimura, etc and of American born Chris Flechtner who built this bike and is a fan of Japanese craftsmanship since he apprenticed in the restoration of priceless samurai swords and armor under the supervision of Master restorer Tatsuhiko Konnowho.

With for guide the Wabi-Sabi philosophy Chris has trimmed away and eliminated all the inessentials of a motorcycle. He started building his own rigid frame with a modest 30-degree rake giving it just a little bit of backbone stretch for added visual lightness, used a 1978 stock harley engine ad transmission to look period correct with this style of bike, and machined his own internal springer front end with friction damper and integrated headlight and horn.

Fuel tank is recycled from an old Yamaha and features beautiful stainless steel external mounts. One of the most beautiful pieces is the pivoting hand hammered stainless seat with shock absorber strut. Bike rolls o Sportster wheels 921 x 2.15″ front, 16 x 3.5″ rear, dressed in Avon rubber with a PM 4-piston single disc brake in front and a recycled GSRX brake in the rear. Result, a custom showing that its builder has wisdom for natural simplicity. By the way, Chris is ready to sell the bike to Wabi-Sabi a new project. Raia, girlfriend of Chris, seen taking a few spins will confirm that this custom is pretty easy to handle… Speed Shop design. (photography. Top: Studio 889 . Bottom: H. Roesler)

Zipper's

17 Responses to “Wabi-Sabi Aesthetic Custom Motorcycle”


  1. 1 Doc Robinson Sep 20th, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Sweet in lots of way for sure, however, in my eyes the butt-ugly parts of this bike – forks for one – spoil the rest. And, as for the riding position demonstrated by the lovely Raia, well it looks like she’s bounced way up off the seat, tho she hasn’t. I fully subscribe to the aesthetic the rider is “the upper half of the motorcycle” (Bernt Spiegel) and so when contemplating a motorcycle as an art form the rider and the machine must fuse together – which clearly is not the case here. Swap out the forks, drop the seat way down and IMHO we’d have a much greater visual allure. Nevertheless, Chris should be commended for taking the road less traveled with this build. I look forward to future builds from him.

  2. 2 Nick Sep 20th, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Sorry Cyril might want to say this bike is influenced by the japanese style but i’ll agree with Doc. A little choppy really doesen’t flow as nicely as Kimura. Its nice he chose a Japanese name for his company but sorry visually it really doesn’t do it.
    More Like US Choppers & paugho frame. Seating is abit high.
    Its nice to see some of the fans actually saying what the belive.
    Some nice details needs to flow more. Ride height should be lower.

  3. 3 Woody Sep 20th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Not a hater, because I really like a lot of this bike, but Doc is right. The eye keeps getting drawn to the forks which look more like they were inspired by a Caterpillar D10 dozer than a “minimalist” anything and the seat resembles an early tractor’s. A nice light springer (black) and different seat and I think it’d be killer.

  4. 4 Angry Inch Sep 20th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I’ll jump on the banwagon, as the forks ‘feel’ odd and the seat height is almost disturbing. That being said, at least the builder wasn’t afraid to try something outside the box. It seems to many people build based on what’s hot and punch out a cookie cutter.

  5. 5 ChopperKultcha Sep 20th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Cyril,
    I think you need to post a close up of that front end with its cool travel system, only then will the guys here understand that there is a lot more than what they think they can see. I beleive you know what I mean, knowing you went around all the bikes at AMD.
    Regards Mario.

  6. 6 Cyril Huze Sep 20th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Added the only picture I have from the front end.

  7. 7 Neil Sep 20th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Cyril,

    Chris has the full set of his photography now, or I’ll fire over something tomorrow morning UK time.

  8. 8 Woody Sep 20th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    That is a very cool looking front end, it just looks like it’s taken from a different bike. I hope that my comments will be taken as honest gut reaction and not any hater-type stuff. Could I do as well? No, I honestly don’t think I could. . I can’t cook a 5 Star feast either, but I can recognize when the lobster is over-cooked 😉 There’s a lot of that bike I really do like.

  9. 9 Speed Shop Design Sep 20th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Hey Guys,

    Chris here, the creator of this bike, Special #6. I appreciate all the feed back whether in praise or not there is something to be taken from it all. One can’t try to do their own thing in this world without being accepting of criticism. I definitely enjoy the challenge of thinking outside the box as is evident in my in last bike, the Beezerker, ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ2HMi0rsWw ) so I am not at all surprised to hear such strong reactions to parts of this bike.

    That being said I should mention something about the seat people have issue with. As it sits statically it looks tall as does it with my 95 pound girlfriend on it. The reason being is it has a large amount of travel and when a lard ass like myself places all of my 175 pounds on it the seat sags down about 1 1/4″ to allow the proper amount of preload. This amount of sag puts you right in the sweet spot and never “pops” you off the seat. The look of the cantilevered seat is reminiscent of early HD plunger seat suspension which was my intention.

    Thanks for the input and by all means please keep the feed back coming, I feel like I am back in school in the middle of a big critique 😉

    Chris

  10. 10 Gregory Sep 20th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    It’s outstanding work. Chris, don’t listen to the armchair builders.

  11. 11 highrpm Sep 20th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    i really like the “gonzo” front fork; it counterplays well with the more delicate and intricate rest of the bike. but i agree with doc, the seat height makes the rider too “separate” from the bike. doc, well noted, “I fully subscribe to the aesthetic the rider is “the upper half of the motorcycle”.

  12. 12 Brad Shaw Sep 21st, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Hey guys, what’s wrong with you. The front end is gorgeous and technologically advanced. It’s a fabulous custom. Thanks Cyril for sharing.

  13. 13 Dave C. Copperhead Customs Inc. Sep 21st, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Nice bike Chris, It seems some would rather have it look like all the others on the road

  14. 14 maroco Sep 21st, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Nice bike, try difrent is good,(…thinking outside the box…), like that too.
    Congrats.

  15. 15 eastwood Sep 24th, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Great post! You should definitely follow up on this topic..

    -Sincere Regards
    Jennie

  16. 16 1550tc Sep 25th, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Chris nice 650 and rat road, i ride too many miles to really get into these show bikes, love the jug at the back just fill it with jager bombs 🙂

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