Mitsuaki "Aki" Shinohara on his 1978
Bike: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R
Owner: Mitsuaki “Aki” Shinohara
Occupation: Automotive painter
Other ride: 1983 Suzuki GS750ES
Originally from Fukuoka, Japan, and now living in Vancouver, Canada, Aki had always dreamed of owning a rare motorcycle, especially a Kawasaki. Fortunately, his friend and original owner of this 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R, Tony Pappas, decided he was ready to let it go. Tony had bought the bike new in 1980, and though the list price in Canada was $3,800, Tony found one discounted to $2,600 and couldn’t pass it by.
Aki now enjoys the bike and rides it regularly. “I like the square lines and unique design, and the high torque engine power,” he says. Though he’s not in love with the period brakes and its considerable weight, it’s definitely a bike of a place and a time.
“These were new models when I got interested in motorcycles,” Aki says. “I’m also interested in the histories of product development of each motorcycle maker from the Seventies and Eighties. “Motorcycles of this era have very original looks and creative engineering. They’re fun to ride and customize, and they’re very different from recent motorcycles. Also, I was influenced by my friends in Japan. They love riding and customizing old motorcycles.”