Adventures in Japan

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Andy
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Adventures in Japan

Postby Andy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:12 pm

My heart is still pounding after a fabulous adventure in Japan over the Christmas and new year break.
The whole thing started after I contacted a small bike shop just outside Osaka trying to source parts for one of the stablemates. I received a reply and over the next few weeks using translation web sites, we hammered out a plan for some parts and also received an open invite to visit. I don't need a second chance and on new years day, along with my daughter, I flew to Osaka for the best two weeks I have ever had.

We were met by Ryozo and his wife Akemi, very little communication was possible due to the obvious language barriers but with a few sketches and the very bare essential we made it to their daughters home where around ten people were waiting for us. New years day is the biggest holiday in the Japanese calender and there was a huge spread of food awaiting our arrival. We had traditional foods, mostly it was all cooked but some raw fish and pretty hot wasabi was washed down with plenty of Saki and some very nice local beers. It was a terrific night but the next day was a gem.

We had arranged to split up, my daughter was taken to Kobe for a spot of shopping whilst Ryozo and I headed 40 minutes into the hills to help set up some trials sections for the next days event. The location is kameoka and the property is owned by a legend of the trials world, Mori san. Mori created Kameoka Trial land in 1972 (http://www.kameokatrialland.co.jp) and it is used as a trials practice and event venue.

We arrived at around 8.30 but ever industrious, most of the sections were already set. Along with Ryozo and a few other guys we finished the twelve sections by mid morning at which point I was asked to 'have a go'. Ryozo rides a Montesa 4RT in the National event but because of my interest in twinshocks, he had brought along his little Honda TLM50. This is no ordinary bike and after a quick warmup, I was attacking quite large rocks with confidence. The little 50cc powerhouse has had numerous modifications and was amazingly easy to flick around.
Kameoka.JPG


I rode for an hour or so before being summoned to meet the man himself. Mori san (this is the japanese way of respectfully addressing an elder) was underneath the bonnet of a Rallye Simca, a classic 60's car from France. He suggested we take a walk into his garage where I was to be given the priveledge of a personal tour of his 'collection'.

OK, check out the website, this collection is to die for. It consists of all his classic trials bikes from his professional career. Ossa, Bultaco, Montesa, SWM, Greeves, BSA, Honda and numerous Yamaha bikes including a Kato modified TY175. He had a bridgestone, a number of classic cars and extensive memorabilia, I guess the Sammy Miller of Japan. My eyes were popping out of my head but after drooling for almost an hour he said...."choose bike"....my jaw dropped.....surely he was not serious. I suddenly felt extremely nervous but also honoured at the same time. My eyes scanned the bikes infront of me and taking a relatively safe option, I choose a TY250.
TY250.JPG



I rode for the next hour or so with Kojiro, the younger son of Mori San, It was fantastic. Up and over rocks, creek beds, tyres and all the time with virtually zero actual language. By this time the rest of the organising gang were hanging around and encouraging me with vigourous throttle twists and huge smiles. I made tons of friends and returned with Ryozo for an evening of amazing food in a traditional restaurant. We were definately off the traditional tourist trail in the heart of Japan, it was fantastic

Hope you like this first installment. The following day was the new year trials event with some pretty high grade riders taking part. I'll write more tomorrow

Happy new year to all

Andy



sharvie
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby sharvie » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:54 pm

Hi Andy,
That is amazing. I took a look at some stuff on their web site, interesting.
I will keep an eye out for the next instalment.

Steve


Sharvie ~ Maitland NSW

bigdamo
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby bigdamo » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:25 am

This will be interesting.I hope you cover the level of skills compared to Australia and cost of the bikes there in Japan?And how many people ride trials. Is it big in Japan?



Andy
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby Andy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:46 am

Yep it was a terrific experience. As in Australia the trials scene is split into mono and twinshock/classic events. The event I was taking part in was basically for mono's but there was a TL125 Bials twinshock running in the beginners section and Mori San went round on his BSA.

Trials is huge in Japan as is motorcycling in general. All the major euro brands are represented but the most popular bike is the Honda RTL which I believe is virtually identical to the Montesa. The skill level was similar to here, with a good mix of levels riding. I think we had 107 competitors on the day. (More on that in the next post)

Pricing for new machines is comparable but older second hand bikes are really cheap. I might look into bringing some over in the next year particularly for the startup riders out there.

Right'o, i'll have a cuppa and then write the next installment....

A



Andy
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby Andy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:55 am

I'm limited to photos on the posts so here are the two bikes I mentioned above:

Honda TL125, modified to a 175cc
TL125.JPG


Honda RTL260F, the most popular bike in Japan.
RTL260.JPG


Regards

A



bigdamo
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby bigdamo » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:18 pm

Just wondering how much those RTL260F cost in Japan?

I have no desire to import any bike from Japan.

I looked at getting a Suzuki DR400Z from Japan and bringing to China but found the cost of the bike was the same as Australia.



Andy
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby Andy » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:01 pm

Here's a link to a dealer that sells the RTL260F

They are just under 1000000 yen which is about $11900

http://www.toms-moto.com/trial/bikes/10rtl.html


Cheers

A



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Tee-Why
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby Tee-Why » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:36 am

Andy, that would have been an awesome trip, thanks for sharing.
I have found earlier on some footage on YouTube, under Japanese trials, some classic action also.
Looking at the website, language barrier included, doesnt translate well online, so I coudnt really find much at all on the Kato modded TY175, did you get any pics yourself?


I would rather push my twinshock than ride a modern!

Andy
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby Andy » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:55 pm

It sure was a great experience, i'm hoping to go back in a couple of months around late march/early april.

I haven't got any photos from the Mori Collection but I did bring back a magazine which has an article about twinshock trials and specifically Kameoka Trial Land. The image is too big so i'll have to crop it to make it smaller.
TY175RED.jpg


I'm not sure what the differences are but i'm sure someone outhere will.
Enjoy

Andy



Andy
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Re: Adventures in Japan

Postby Andy » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:58 pm

and here's the missing bit of the page, it's the TY250 that I was riding.
TY250RED.jpg


I think it's pretty standard but i'm no expert.

Someone will know

Cheers

A




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