Death Machines of London Dresses a Vintage Honda Bike in Samurai Armor
This eye-catching custom ride is a tribute to a samurai general and a historic Japanese motorcyclist.
Death Machines of London, a British builder specializing in creating gorgeous one-off bikes from vintage models, has transformed a 1977 Honda Gold Wing GL1000 into a road warrior worthy of a samurai.
The “Kenzo” is named after Kenzo Tada, a Japanese motorcycle racer who was the first Asian to compete in the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy race) back in 1930. The choice of a Honda is also relevant to the motorcycle’s mythology: Legend has it that revered samurai general Honda Tadakatsu single-handedly defeated 50 enemies in 1570.
As an homage to the fearsome, sword-wielding warriors of feudal Japan, the shell features samurai armor-like overlapping segments finished with smooth curves and razor-sharp folds. Meanwhile, a mirror-polished black “blade” motif that surrounds the front light cluster and drops down to the base of each fork references a Katana. The bodywork is finished in a custom “Titanium Samurai” coat of paint with matte black detailing.
Other aesthetic details include a “Kenzo” grille, in-house gas cap, precision-machined aluminum badges and handlebars wrapped using the traditional Tsukamaki sword wrapping technique. The CNC’d seat is clad in leather reminiscent of the layered clothing Samurais wore beneath their armor. But our favorite feature has to be the radially illuminated, translucent dragon set in the custom speedometer.
Before any of these eye-popping touches could be applied, DMOL had to make some serious modifications. The Honda’s 1000cc flat-four was dismantled, inspected and refreshed, and the carbs were tuned to complement the custom slash-cut mufflers. The frame, finished in satin black, was slightly extended then fitted with a twin-shock cantilever system. This creates a visually balanced back end with the custom swingarm in full view.
To top everything off, the head case plates are inscribed with the word “Kenzo” written as “建造” in Japanese. Visit DMOL’s website to learn more.