The Secret Life Of Keino Sasaki

A master manipulator of motor and metal Keinosuke “Keino” Sasaki belongs to a handful of Japanese born Custom Builders living and working in the US. For his 16th birthday Dad brought back home an abandoned scooter in the street. Keino helped his dad take it apart, put it together, and remember vividly the sense of accomplishment he felt during the process and his excitement when he rode the scoot for the 1st time. Not having enough passion to pursue a career as a teacher, Keino took part time jobs in a bike shop and restaurant, then got full time employment during 2 years at the Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant where he was an assembly line worker, just a way to save enough money to come to the US.

Went to MMI in Arizona in 1998, then found his first job in New-York in dealerships. It’s where he met his mentor Indian Larry, at the time Chief Mechanic at American Dream Machine located in Soho before the shop was moved to Brooklyn under the name Gasoline Alley, and in January 2004 under the name Indian Larry Enterprise. Right hand of Larry, after his passing and out of respect for his mentor, Keino partnered during 3 years with Paul Cox at Indian Larry Legacy. Now he manages his own shop, Keino Cycles, still out of Brooklyn, NY. (photography copyright Godspeed45/06)   

Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Keino. Stop dreaming. 

Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Keino. Captain Harlock from a japanese Sci-Fi comic. 

Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Keino. Suzuki 50cc scooter.

Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Keino. Long distance truck driver.   

Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Keino. Listen to jazz.

Cyril. What are you afraid of? Keino. Anger that would make me do stupid things

Cyril. What is the person you would love to meet? Keino. Leonardo Da Vinci.

Cyril. Which film made you cry? Keino. Way too many to list. I’m a sucker for those type of movies.

Cyril. Name five things you hate. Keino. Roaches, liver pate, paranoia, narrow-minded people,  fast talkers.

Cyril. What was the last book you read? Keino. “I hope they serve beer in hell.” 

Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Keino. Cigarettes. It’s bad.
    
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Keino. Tools that make my job easier.

Cyril. What is the last music you downloaded in your iPod? Keino. Nina Simone.

Cyril. What was your worst buy? Keino. Automatic cat food feeder. My two cats keep breaking it to protest my negligence

Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Keino. Milk, no sugar.

Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Keino. First gas tank I made from scratch which i still have. It looks horrible.
        
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Keino. Boiled egg.
   
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Keino. When I saw a mother crossing a street at red light for her, with her baby in a stroller.

Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Keino. Not having a plan, and do whatever comes to my mind.

Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Keino. Sturgis.

Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Keino. What is your zodiac sign?   

Zipper's

17 Responses to “The Secret Life Of Keino Sasaki”


  1. 1 James Grant Sep 29th, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Interesting. Keino’s bikes are great.

  2. 2 burnout Sep 29th, 2010 at 8:24 am

    A quiet builder whose work speaks loudly. peace

  3. 3 My Bikers World Sep 29th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Interesting answers to usual question. This guys seems to have sense really.

  4. 4 Greg Turley Sep 29th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Again, Cyril’s simple questions create answers revealing part of the interviewee’s personality. Smart approach.

  5. 5 Shifter Sep 29th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Great pictures. Love to know a little bit more about people we know by name and bikes. As a matter of fact we don’t know much about builders. Keino made a few interesting answers and seems grounded.

  6. 6 CHOPMONSTER66 Sep 29th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    the man put out nice work , and sounds like he is not stuck on him self.. keep up the good work

  7. 7 Michael Sep 29th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Keino is a true master, trained by legends to embody the American dream. IMO, his Red Hook frame is the best looking frame around. …And that’s before we talk about his combination motors and custom tanks!

  8. 8 Heather New Sep 29th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Keino is a really great guy to deal with
    …Oh, and I happen to know he’s a Sagittarius…we share the same birthday !

  9. 9 Ryan Merkel Sep 29th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Why do Japanese Custom Builders prefer working in the US? The American dream?

  10. 10 A 1 CYCLES Sep 29th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    ryan…a 10×20 in japan is probably 6000 a month..guessing…the costs are crazy for japanese builders..i talked to the hot doc crew once..they showed me pictures of their space…insane. every inch was utilized and maximized…the availibility of parts and raw materials is also hard on them…we take for granted our freedoms and realitively cheap existance over here

  11. 11 baddad Sep 30th, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I like Keino bikes, but t-shirt is very boorish (medium is the message).

  12. 12 Frank Sep 30th, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Baddad. The tee is a joke. A little bit of humor, please.

  13. 13 Mike Kiwi Tomas, Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co Sep 30th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I had the privededge of participating in a biker build off with Keino in 2006 and found Keino a true gentleman of our industry.

  14. 14 martin Twofeather Sep 30th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Here is a man that has done a great job and no doubt will go on to make a history in the industry.

  15. 15 Brett Oct 1st, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t like his haircut 🙂

  16. 16 infidel Oct 4th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    what a smart guy doing great work the great man (larry) would be proud to see how he,s turned out.

  17. 17 maroco Oct 5th, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Great bikes, lots of talent,all the best.

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