Cannonball Characters: Shinya Kimura #80

By Felicia Morgan

1915 Indian Hedstrom

Born in Japan in 1962, Shinya Kimura is a custom bike builder who creates motorcycles that are rolling works of functional art. The creative, soft-spoken builder founded the “zero”-styled motorcycle and expanded his business to the United States in 2002, at which time he immediately set about turning heads with his unique creations. Known to incorporate Zen concepts into not just his motorcycle designs but his life as well, Shinya has a reputation of building intriguing art through his minimalist motorcycles finished in raw materials. Currently based in Azusa, California, machines coming out of his Chabott Engineering shop are artistic expressions of his inner connections to his hand-built machines. His bikes have been seen in movies, documentaries, and numerous bike shows and are known to be dependable machines for the discerning customers who buy them.

As a Cannonballer, Shinya is one of only three men who have started and finished each of the runs since 2010, and he has managed to do so with quiet determination and grace. It is that same grace that has won him the Spirit of the Cannonball award and a soft spot in the hearts of his fellow participants. As a highly-respected competitor, Shinya is the only rider who has participated in every race on the same motorcycle and he plans to ride that same 1915 Indian again this September.

Just as he has done in every race, Shinya will trade off riding duties with his friend “Yoshi” Yoshimasa Nimi, who comes in from Japan to compete with Kimura. Shinya’s lady, Ayu Yamakita, rounds out the team that works to keep the old Indian on the road and in good standing during the cross-country race. Shinya has shared that the Indian is the same model that his grandfather rode when Shinya was a child growing up in Tokyo and he says that riding the old Indian keeps his grandfather’s spirit with him as he navigates the back roads of America. Be sure to keep an eye on this team and you’ll understand why Shinya and the #80 crew is one of our favorites.

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