Custom Indian FTR 'Tokyo Connection' revealed at Bike Shed Moto Show

The Indian FTR 'Tokyo Connection', created by the Japanese customiser 'Cheetah' Osawa, has been revealed at the Bike Shed Moto Show in London.

Indian FTR 'Tokyo Connection'

The custom Indian FTR 'Tokyo Connection' resulting from the American brand’s recent collaboration with ‘Cheetah’ Osawa and Sideburn magazine has been revealed.

The collaboration between the three - motorcycle manufacturer Indian, custom bike builder Toshiyuki ‘Cheetah’ Osawa, and the magazine Sideburn - was announced a few weeks ago, and the bike was revealed today (26 May 2023) at the Bike Shed in London, as part of the preview day for the Bike Shed Moto Show. 

The aim of the build was to create a bike which blends the motorcycle cultures of Britain, Japan, and the US, using dirt track racing as a base (which makes the Indian FTR the perfect platform for the project, of course). Called ‘Tokyo Connection’, the bike is full of custom components, including the tank, tank cover, subframe, and air intake; as well as aftermarket parts such as Neken bars and Rizoma indicators.

Toshiyuki “Cheetah” Osawa said: “First of all, I’m honoured to be part of this prestigious project. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn magazine. 

“I’m really intrigued by the UK right now. It is overflowing with craftsmanship and various new and traditional technologies that I’m interested in. That’s why I’m so happy to be standing on UK ground for the first time and to be on such a glamorous stage as the Bike Shed Moto Show. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”

About the build, Osawa added: “In terms of design, I deliberately ignored the definition of custom bikes or racing bikes, which call for small petrol tanks. Instead, for the FTR, I created a larger petrol tank cover and crafted a line that narrows from the cover to the tail cowl. 

“A simple, yet beautiful body line that can be appreciated not only from a side silhouette but also from directly behind or at a diagonal angle. A body line that anyone would find beautiful and enjoyable to behold.”

Osawa continued: “I also incorporated my own image of the United Kingdom into the exterior. To me, the UK is a crazy country, and I mean that as a compliment. I expressed this through the surface decoration on the exterior parts using a technique called ‘Spinning’. Of course, I also included elements that reflect the identity of Indian Motorcycle and on the tank cover’s upper surface, I engraved a panel that represents this identity. I did not want to create a biassed design. Rather, I wanted to mix together all the elements that were involved in this project: Indian Motorcycle, Sideburn Magazine, America, the United Kingdom, Japan, and myself. I feel that I was able to achieve this with the design I created.”

Gary Inman, founder of Sideburn, said about the bike: "‘Tokyo Connection’ is the most ambitious custom build we have attempted in our 15-year history for a few reasons. The first being that the FTR is a great looking, 21st century muscle bike straight from the factory, so it isn’t an easy job to improve on it. 

“The other difficulty was choosing a creative partner located on the other side of the planet. Luckily, Cheetah is a complete pro. He explained his workload was huge and the only way he could hit our deadline was to finish the bike very close to the planned Bike Shed Moto show debut by flying over with the bodywork.”

“We already had a few parts from him, like the custom underseat fuel tank and new subframe, but we had to wait for the handmade bodywork. We also had great support from old friends of the magazine including S&S Cycle, Hagon Wheels, Dunlop Tyres and, of course, Indian Motorcycle who supplied parts from their Gilles Performance range. 

“We couldn’t be happier with the result. Cheetah is the master, and we think we’ve enhanced the FTR without diminishing any of its dynamic ability or eyelid-peeling performance.”

‘Tokyo Connection’ Custom Indian FTR

  • Handmade aluminium tank cover and seat cowl bodywork by Cheetah Custom Cycles
  • Centre panel on the tank cover fabricated and engraved by Cheetah
  • Air scoop for front disc brake by Cheetah
  • Chromoly subframe designed by Cheetah, fabricated by Garage Ducktail 
  • Aluminium petrol tank designed by Cheetah, fabricated by Garage Ducktail
  • Leather seat by Atelier Tee
  • Paint by S Paint Works
  • Signwriting by Shakin
  • S&S Grand National exhaust system, Cerakoted Stormtrooper White
  • Indian Motorcycle x Gilles Tooling rearsets
  • Indian Motorcycle x Gilles Tooling brake & clutch levers
  • Indian Motorcycle x Gilles Tooling radiator cap
  • Indian Motorcycle x Gilles Tooling oil cap
  • 19in FTR Rally front wheel, powder-coated black & rebuilt by Hagon
  • 19in rear rim, laced to FTR Rally hub by Hagon
  • Dunlop DT4 dirt track tyres
  • Neken dirt track handlebars
  • Rizoma mini indicators

A video series about the bike is also being published, covering the bike from “the build to its unveiling and beyond,” an Indian press release reads. The second video in the series was published alongside the bike’s unveiling today.

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