Style Rider aims to document the world’s most stylish motorcycle riders, be they riders of classic, custom or cafe racer steeds. Focused on the intersection of motorcycle culture with individual style, here we speak to ex-Tokyo, and now Sydney based chef Takeshi Yamamura about his passion for riding vintage Harley’s.
Name: Takeshi Yamamura
Residence: Sydney, Australia
Occupation: Head Chef
Today’s ride: 1949 Harley Davidson WL 750cc. I have heavily modified this bike, slimming down the split fuel tank, fabricating new fenders, sissy bar and building the chopper-style seat. New wheels were added, and I overhauled the top end myself before sending the bottom end to be rebuilt by a friend in Japan. I have been riding this WL for more than ten years and love the feel of it. At times it can be a little uncomfortable, and the small petrol tank means you have to plan out longer trips. However, this is part of owning and riding a vintage motorcycle, and I am ok with these inconveniences.
Describe your style: Riding motorcycles is my life. I am addicted. There is something pleasurable about riding an old bike, and I like the vintage style that naturally accompanies it. My Engineer boots are from Slow Wear Lion in Tokyo, the white pants were picked up from the Salvo’s (vintage), and the embroidered shirt is from Deus ex Machina.
Favourite items: My motorcycle and my chef knives. The knives are important to me as my father presented them when I started cooking.
Style inspiration: My uncle lived in America in the 1970s, returning to Japan when I was six years old. He would pick me up from school on his vintage Harley. This heavily influenced me, creating a ‘use, fix and go again’ philosophy that I apply to this day.
Best local ride: Sydney to Braidwood via the Kings Highway to Batemans Bay.
Best distance ride: The circa 1,000 kilometres from Tokyo to Hiroshima, where my wife Sachi is from.
Tip for stylish motorcycle riding: Find your own way. Realise what you want and be authentic.
Next trip: To ride around Australia with my family is the dream.
Why do you like riding? It is my life. At times I’m one with the bike, and it feels so good.