Motohakone - A Brief Retreat to Japan
I was really fortunate to visit Japan again a couple of weeks ago. To make it all worthwhile, I rented a 2017 Honda CB1100RS and took off ripping around the mountains for three days. Though it was a rather short stay, it was probably the raddest thing I've experienced in awhile.
May’s unpredictable rain showers are no surprise to the land of bosozuku, and my prayers for the sunny weather were not answered. Tokyo welcomed me with a heavy rainstorm on the first day. As much as I don’t feel confident riding in heavy rain, the bike handled really well in the extreme weather condition and with the proper rain gear that kept me as dry as possible, the ride was overall comfortable and needlessly to say, exciting.
Headed into Motohakone and wrapped up first day with hot spring and tatami, I kicked off second day with clear sky and more cruising around the mountains.
Going all the way up, made the first stop at Owakudani, famously known for the volcanic valley and its misty view. Turns out, it's a popular spot for motorcyclists to ride out, gather, and enjoy the local specialty, Kuro-tamago - hot spring hard-boiled eggs. It's believed that eating one egg is to gain 7 more years to your destined life time. Whether that was true or not (what do I know), it was amazing to just ride up to the mountain top, take in the view, smell the sulphuric air (not that great actually), most importantly seeing all the local riders come and go with all the fascinating Japanese bikes that I obsess over.
The journey continued with twisty downhill roads to Lake Ashi, and this mini-bike touring crew (pictured) that I encountered, was definitely the coolest thing that I’ve seen on this trip.
Unfortunately the trip was too short and the fact is that you always want to ride more. Before heading back on the third day, I made a quick stop at Kamakura to take in more ocean views that are precious to our city folks and some modern architecture which is also to my favour. From there it was an easy hour and half ride back into Tokyo, and the bike was safely returned.
We've been a fan of Krafty on Instagram for awhile, and it was such an honour visiting the shop and meeting the bossman behind, Gary. He started the Krafty shop in 1999 in Harajuku, Tokyo, and has been racing flat track in the Japanese vintage motorcycle community since early 2000s. The shop is filled with rad merch from his two proud brands, Krafty and Hollister. If you are ever in the hood, definitely be sure pop by his shop and meet the local legend himself!
As a Deus Ex Machina retailer in Toronto, there was no doubt that I was going pay the famous Harajuku store a visit. Entering the shop's side door to the garage, I bumped into Deus Japan's Director of Motorcycle Operation, Matthew Roberts, while he was working away on a vintage Honda XL125. Matt is a really talented moto designer/builder, also known as Speedtractor, your last or next Deus tee probably has his custom design on it! He works at the Tokyo Deus store on every Tuesday and Thursday, so if you are around on those days, go chat up this champ and see what he is working on!
GEAR ON THIS TRIP
Vanson Chopper Jacket - Though this jacket does require a bit patience and time to fully break in to your own fit, it is hands down the best moto jacket I own. Over the three days riding I had no complaint and nothing but comfort from this piece of garment. Looking forward to many more adventures with it and ultimately I'm sure it will outlive me.
*We currently do not have this jacket in stock but it's available through special order and can be made for your custom fitting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order.
Roland Sands Diesel Glove - Ever since my M2 course, I've worn this pair of RSD Diesel Gloves. Though they did get soaked in the rainstorm in the first day, once I had them dried up overnight, I had no issue wearing them and riding comfortably for the rest of the trip. A lesson learned that I should have prepared a pair of Rubber Rain Overgloves to save me from riding in the rain with soaked and cold hands.
Ken Diamond Key Fob - It is handy to have a key fob ready on your belt, and it is made with high quality leather and hardware that is truly secure and durable. I don't know if it is recommended, but I do sometimes use it as a helmet hook on my belt, especially when you are on a trip and are handful with wallet, passport, hotel keys and etc..
Simpson Street Bandit Helmet - Yes it looks badass, and yes it's both DOT and SNELL approved. The extra set of removable cheek pads are extremely useful when are you on the go in unpredictable road and weather conditions, quickly replacement them with a clean set and your money maker will be sitting much more comfortably with more riding to come.
Levi's 504 Skate Denim - I wear the Levi's denim jeans almost everyday whether I am riding or not, however I do recommend you wearing proper and more protective riding pant especially when you are out for a longer ride or going on a moto trip!
Scott Ergonomic Pro Rain Jacket & Held Creek Rain Pant - LIFE SAVER on this trip. When you see rainstorm coming you will be glad that you had rain gear prepared so you can keep riding, best feeling ever. Say no more.
Red Wing Heritage Classic 8'' Moc Toe Boot - It's my go to pair when it comes to riding and travelling. I personally love the tall fit that covers my ankles entirely which provides much more protection. However I did make the same mistake as the gloves, a pair of waterproof overboots would have been really helpful in the rainstorm.