Only the coolest cats ride BMW choppers.

What else would a Japanese person ride in Munich but a BMW chopper?

When Yasunobu came to Munich five years ago, it was clear to him that he wanted to ride a chopper in his new home too. And seeing as his balcony even looked out onto the four-cylinder BMW building, he could hardly come closer to a BMW Chopper.

Raised in Yokohama, Yasu-San came into contact with motorcycles even as a small boy. There was a bloke in his neighbourhood who would love to ride a strange motorcycle late at night on the streets of Yokohama and Tokyo in order to stir up a commotion. He is of course a member of a notorious Bozozoku gang, who would make the roads unsafe and loudly provoke people, usually in large groups and always without exhaust pipes. So it's no wonder that Yasunobu, faced with these experiences, doesn't really want to fit into the regulated Japanese social patterns, and would rather explore the world on his motorcycle.

After finishing school, he backpacked through many countries, getting to know lifestyles and cultures which he had only ever seen or read about in films and books. One such film was 'Easy Rider' with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. This sparked his enthusiasm for choppers and brought to life its cult status. He now devours anything to do with long forks, lets his hair grow long, temps at Mooneyes, plays drums in punk rock bands and devotes every free minute to his 'moto love'.
"Even as a child, whenever I saw my neighbour riding off on his noisy motorcycle, I knew that I would one day also want to ride a motorcycle" Yasu says, and tells us about his beloved Honda Eco, which he has modified into a chopper over a period of several years, with a long lever and high handlebars, of course with sissybar, footrests brought forward and an exhaust that is much too long.
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"
Even as a child, whenever I saw my neighbour riding off on his noisy motorcycle, I knew that I would one day also want to ride a motorcycle.
"

Yasunobu Watanabe

He finds his BMW through a small add on the Internet in the Munich region, completely dismantled and packed in boxes, and buys it off an elderly gentleman for a bargain. Without any documentation on the modification measures carried out, he first assembles it piece by piece in his flat, until his wife puts her foot down, after which point he continues the remaining work in a petrolhead's garage in Munich-Neuperlach. "I polished up parts of the engine block in the living room, until my wife came to detest this", he adds with a grin.

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A 1972 750 ccm /5-engine forms the centrepiece of his unique model. The model year 1973 is stamped on the frame, which also has a curved homemade tail screwed on. He finds the chrome sissybar off a Kawasaki on the Internet and attaches it in no time at all. The same goes for original turn indicators instead of the bull's eyes supplied. Yasu is not sure where the long fork comes from. He reckons it could well be an AME fork.

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"The electrical system has not been done very professionally, but I prefer free lying cables and they are also easier to repair than cables hidden in the frame", he admits. They sometimes cause him problems and he has to repair them parked up by the side of the road. But all in all, this is a reliable motorcycle, with which he rides to his place of work - a vegan café in Schwabing, where he works as a chef - every day He gives up his previous job as a web designer because he doesn't enjoy working on a computer and because he is able to come into contact with lots of new people in the café.

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"
I used to polish engine block parts in the living room until my wife started to complain.
"

Yasunobu Watanabe

How he ended up in Munich of all places? Love, of course. During his travels in India, he meets a Bavarian who puts him in touch with his daughter. She is hoping for some tips for her upcoming trip to Japan. Over the course of many emails and Skype calls, the pair grow closer to one other, meet up and eventually fall in love. When the earthquake came in the spring of 2011 and Yasunobu lost his faith in the statements issued by the Japanese government concerning nuclear radiation in the environment and in foodstuffs, his emigration to Germany was already a done deal. It was just as clear that he wouldn't be able to last long without a chopper as it was that it would have to be a BMW.

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