by Elena Gorgan from https://www.autoevolution.com/
Not many would describe a motorcycle as “stunning” or “beautiful,” but then again, maybe they haven’t seen yet the latest from Death Machines of London (DMOL). The Kenzo is a tribute to the early Samurai, and Kenzo Tada, the first Asian rider to compete at the Isle of Man TT, built on a 1977 Honda Gold Wing GL1000.
It’s DMOL’s most radical machine to date, as per their own words. It’s also a true work of art of tremendous beauty, combining an aggressive look (smooth curves and razor-sharp folds) with the exquisite handiwork and high-performance technology.
Putting The Kenzo together took longer than DMOL ever imagined. They say they ripped apart one machine (the original Gold Wing) and built another, only to rip that one apart too. The Kenzo is the result of a combination of techniques, from 3D printing to CNC machining, precision etching and holographic lighting, and actual handwork for the leather parts. And lots of frustration.
It is meant as a tribute to 2 great men whose deeds have made history: Honda Tadakatsu, who, in 1570, became one of the most revered samurai in Japan, and Kenzo Tada, who traveled by train for 4 straight days in 1930 just so he can ride in the Isle of Man TT, becoming the first Japanese rider to do so. It is actually named after the latter because there is only one The Kenzo.
The Kenzo was penned using CAD software and the team behind DMOL assumed that putting every piece together would be relatively easy. They were wrong, but the extra long hours and the many moments of “f**k it” eventually paid off. The result is an aggressive-looking machine that stands out for the seamless way in which it incorporates parts that seem ripped from an early samurai armor, like the scale-like panels that hide the tank, the leather stitched to mimic the under-armor clothing on the seat, or the grips that are wrapped in the traditional Tsukamaki sword wrapping technique.
Even the speedometer is customized in typical DMOL fashion. Using an 18th century Japanese jewel box, they hand-crafted a beautiful, holographic speedo that features a dragon that is illuminated with diffusion film technology. The dragon ghost, says DMOL, is “the spirit of the machine.”
The stacked projector headlight arrangement, as well as the indicators and tail light are a collaboration with Luminit of California and represent a custom DMOL design. The wheels are 18-inch rims clad in Avon rubber. Additional features include a black-anodized USD Ohlins fork, a “detailed ‘Kenzo’ grill work, an in-house petrol cap, [and] precision-machined aluminum badges.” The body is painted in the company’s proprietary Titanium Samurai paintwork, with matte black detailing.
While The Kenzo proved a bigger headache than anticipated, DMOL is all for giving credit where credit is due: it’s “a testament to Honda’s engineering prowess that very little work needed to be carried out on the 40-year-old engine,” they say. The original Gold Wing arrived and stayed in mint condition for less than 5 minutes, before they set out to work on it, but the soul of the machine is still inside The Kenzo.
“The horizontally opposed 1000cc flat four was dismantled, inspected and refreshed. The carburetors were tuned to compliment the DMOL Slash Cut mufflers,” DMOL says. “Painted in satin black, cosmetic detailing features head case plates with ‘Kenzo’ written [in Japanese characters].”
On the electrics, our in-house designed loom was installed, greatly simplifying the original installation,” DMOL adds.
Bringing the engine to life can be done by tapping the proximity fob on the leather “V” intersection on the custom seat, while ignition is possible with the starter button hidden under the right handle bar.
If you have about $72,350 to spare, this one-off masterpiece can be yours.