A few weeks ago I had a chance to go to Los Angeles, California to check out Chopper Fest with Tyler. We decided to go two days earlier to do a small tour of some of the shops in and around the LA area in hopes to do some interviews with some of the builders and shop owners. Our first stop on our list was Kiyo's Garage, owned by Kiyo and Kat Mitsuhiro. I've only met Kiyo and Kat once before this encounter and that was at Born Free 6. I remember seeing his "Cherry Blossom" Honda CB750 race bike, and I remember dropping my jaw to the grass in awe of how cool it was. I've been hooked on his bikes ever since and was extremely excited we were going to his shop to hang out.
As we walked in to the front door, you limitedly get thrown into a motorcycle history capsule. Motorcycle books and manuals of all kinds were stacked in a huge wall unit shelf. Different styles of helmets were displayed on shelves, and tons of photos and awards hung from the walls. It was an awesome way to enter into Kiyo's Garage. As we walked through another doorway that entered the shop area, we saw from a distance Kiyo and Kat pushing a customers Knucklehead chopper on to a lift. With the biggest of smiles they both said hello and welcomed us in. You could see the excitement on their faces was genuine and true. Kiyo showed us around a little and even uncovered his plans for his Born Free 8 build. It's still a secret, we can't tell you what he's working on at this time but I will say this, it's going to be something incredible.
Having the chance to interview Kiyo was a rare treat as well. Listening to his humbling words really resinated with me and it really made me admire his talents even more. The man has such a distinct style in what he does and yet he states he hasn't found his own style yet. A true artist is always finding themselves and their voice, I respect that. It was really amazing to see him at work in his element too. Watching his face and how concentrated he was while working on a motor, you could just tell how much passion and love he has for what he is doing in life. It's as if a symphony was playing in his head, not a care in the world other then fixing the part in hand, and he made things look effortless.
Here are just a few of Kiyo's builds he had on hand at his shop that day.
This Panhead is seriously one of the coolest bikes I have ever seen. Style for days with this bike.
Kat's Challenger in the background.
This S&S Knucklehead was so sick, Kiyo said he had to make the motor look more old school. He put some really nice patina on the heads and casings.
Thanks again Kiyo and Kat for everything and allowing us to bother you guys for a few hours! Can't wait to see you guys again.
To Check out out more of Kiyo check out his site kiyosgarage.bigcartel.com
All photos, video, and words by
Check out the full Interview below!
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