Editor's note: Our network of freelancers reaches far and wide, and we get pitched stories of all sorts, from how to ride through the Australian outback with only a tin cup and a package of Big League Chew to the best biker-friendly watering holes in Bangladesh. But what it all comes down to in the end is pics of cool bikes. We recently got an e-mail from an Australian freelancer holed up in Japan. He was pitching a story about a recent bike show he attended, and after looking through the images we felt there were some cool bikes that really show the flavor and style of what's happening with the Harley scene in Japan. As you'll see, in Japan choppers aren't dead; Pans, Shovels, and Knuckles are reborn alive and kicking...or being kicked over?
The middle child of Japanese cities would have to be Nagoya. It's not as big or famous as, say, Tokyo, but it's no country town either. While it might be the home of the world's largest train station, Toyota's headquarters, and the Chunichi Dragons Baseball team, the real interest for us was down at the bay. Nagoya Port Messe, the city's premier event complex was the venue for this year's Joints Custom Bike Show, with over 150 displays from bike related shops around Japan.
The overall standard of motorcycles was very impressive, with the country's reputation as being a riding country showing through. Many of the bikes displayed belonged to customers of the shops, although the more famous establishments owned and displayed demo stock. This event was as much a trade show as it was a show and shine.
As with many events like this, it can be hard to incorporate any action into what is essentially a static event. Joints didn't let impracticality get in the way of making this happen, and as such a ride-in was organized. Selected entrants lined up outside the building before riding 10 meters into the event hall for a 15-second interview. They would then drift away out of sight, like a discarded burger wrapper, while the crowd focused their attention on the next bike.
Little did they know the real action was happening outside. One by one, each rider revved their shop's flagship bike and then hammered around the side of the building where they were to wait. It was loud, exciting, and mildly dangerous...but hey, no one was complaining.
The mood inside and out was undeniably positive, with riders happy to get together with like-minded people. The standard of bikes was top-shelf, and the sheer volume of quality machines made for a pleasing full day's viewing.