Project R9T Japan was a BMW Motorrad project that brought together four leading Japanese customisers with a challenge to produce unique customised versions of the German company’s innovative R nineT roadster. This story focuses on Hideya Togashi of HIDE Motorcycle and the wondrous ‘Boxer’.The motorcycling world is united by a passion for all things with two wheels and an engine. For the majority of us motorcyclists, it doesn’t matter what the bike’s engine capacity size is, what performance it delivers or what the machine looks like as long as it delivers the fun and freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle. But when a motorcycle encompasses beauty by way of a yesteryear theme and today’s technology intertwined with art of fabrication then that passion is fired onto another level. ‘Boxer’, from the studio of HIDE Motorcycle and mind of 40-year-old Hideya Togashi, is just such a machine.‘Boxer’ is a modern take on a timeless, classic sports design. The flowing full length fairing is reminiscent of 1970s sports bikes/race-replica machines. Anyone lucky to remember the advent of superbikes such as BMW Motorrad’s own R 90 S will appreciate how Togashi has balanced perfectly old-school looks with modern technology. “The slim aluminium tank is the key feature,” points out Hideya. “It was designed to wrap comfortably around the rider, and the cowl represents a racing bike from the 1970s.”That aluminium tank is not an off-the-shelf item. In what appears to be tradition in Japan, Togashi created the fuel tank by hand; an individually crafted item that shows the length and breadth a person will go to produce a real life version of an idea. Not surprisingly this is the one item of the build that took the most amount of time to complete because of its complex build and incorporated shape.Let’s not forget that form also has to have function in such a build. The ability to hold unleaded petrol is also paramount. And with no filler-material or covering paint, the finish detail of bare aluminium is of the utmost importance because any imperfection, no matter how slight, is noticeable. Many hours of work were necessary in order to produce something so exquisite. Any deformations have to be beaten out from the inside to create a smooth surface – a difficult process because the tank can become distorted or lose its symmetry. “If the surface of the tank was uneven,” explains Togashi, “it would have given the impression of a low-quality bike, so I knew that if I was going to show the tank in its natural state, I would have to create a high-quality tank.” Job done, as we’re sure you’ll agree.The cowl (also known as the fairing) also caused problems because the only template to work from was inside Togashi’s artistic head. Add to this the size of the cowl and the notion suddenly forms how time-consuming manufacturing this component actually was. To form the base shape for the cowl requires lots of wire, which is then sprayed with urethane foam. This then requires sanding down to the required shape adding or taking away as much as you like to get the desired result. Togashi believes it is a job that anyone can do. In contrast, the aluminum tank requires technical skill and is the reason why he chose the tank as ‘Boxer’s’ main characteristic.With time and effort spent on the body components, you’d think the rest of the build would be easy. Not so – it never is when creating the perfect machine. The R nineT may have been a perfect donor but if a standard part needs to be reproduced in a different guise, or a main chassis item needs moving, it can be the custom world’s version of completing Rubik’s cube while blindfolded. You move or change one part and it will have a knock on effect within the next area. Patience is something else that has to be quickly learned within customising if it is not already an inherent part of your character.Given that Togashi’s fabrication skills put him as close to a genius as you can possibly get, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the two cylinder head covers of the Boxer engine aren’t standard. Look closely at the images of ‘Boxer’. See how the covers are shaped in similar fashion to early BMW Boxer machines? That’s another detail to give the bike an appearance and charm of times gone by. Sandcast cylinder heads aren’t new but the fact they were made as one-off items by Togashi for ‘Boxer’ is simply outstanding. It’s not like there will be a production run of thousands in which to recoup the time and cost spent in making such quality-fit items.Given that Hideya Togashi and his HIDE Motorcycle business has an enviable reputation built from a diet of exquisite custom long-fork choppers with big American V-twin engines, how did he find the experience of producing something so different with a BMW Motorrad machine as the basis? “A standard R nineT is already extremely well-made and there aren’t many things that have been overlooked or need tweaking. It’s already a very stylish and good-looking bike without being customised, so the challenge is to consider what you can improve or how you can make it look better with a custom build.“I really racked my brains to make this bike and unless you give a great deal of thought to a project like this you would be unable to create anything. Sometimes when you open up the drawers of your mind you find that there is nothing there or that there was no drawer in the first place, so to really think about something from its roots up helps you to increase the drawers in your mind. This project was one where I had to delve deep into my mind and draw on my experience and it has really given me great motivation for my next custom project and the kind of bike I would like to build in the future. In that sense it was a truly great experience.”From this point on, where the building of ‘Motorcycle Boxer’ is complete, Hideya Togashi simply wants to enjoy the fruit of his labour by riding his project bike and fine-tuning the suspension, brake and gear levers to suit his riding style and shape. If the overall finish of the bike is anything to go by then the ride will also be something else…Specifications – Boxer by HIDE Motorcycle (Hideya Togashi)Engine: Hand-fabricated one-off exhaust headers and Box-type silencer. Unique custom-made (sandcast aluminium) engine cylinder covers. Air cleaner box removed.Chassis: Standard main frame with modified rear subframe. S 1000 RR fork assembly, top yoke modified, steering damper and ABS system removed. Brembo front brake radial master cylinder. Stock R nineT wheels with powder coated rims. Metzeler Racetec Interact tyres.Detail: Modified front fender. One-off items by HIDE Motorcycle include: aluminium fuel tank, seat cowl, footpegs and levers, seat, rear light and number plate holder Guide/B-31-type headlight (modified). Battle Factory clip-on handlebars with inset indicators. Body paint by keenEdge – artwork by Nuts art Works.
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