The Japanese custom scene continues to amaze us. Even though the internet shrinks the world, there are still gems in the East waiting to be discovered—often by word of mouth.
Switch Stance Riding is a small custom shop in Amakusa—a series of small, little-known islands off the coast of Kyushu, Japan’s most southwesterly island. This part of Japan is well off the beaten track but the photographer Marc Holstein recently paid a visit, and told us he was the only Westerner for miles.

Marc’s detective skills led him to builder Toshiyuki Kozaka, who specializes in European machinery—specifically, bevel-driven Ducatis. Toshiyuki he regularly transports himself and his bikes all the way to France, for the annual Wheels and Waves festival.
But Kozaka-san decided to take a break from his usual fare for this project, opting to work with a 1988-model BMW R80. “I wanted to show what it would look like if a Ducati builder laid his hands on a BMW,” he tells us.

The goal was to give the BMW a classic endurance racing vibe, along with a huge hit of 70s style. But Toshiyuki also wanted to combine the elegance of Italian parts with the underlying German engineering of the R80.
It’s an eclectic mash-up of ideas, but he’s pulled it off magnificently.

Up front, Toshiyuki grafted on the 40 mm forks and top yoke from an ultra-rare Ducati 750 F1 Montjuich. The rear was upgraded with an adjustable shock from Öhlins, complete with a remote reservoir. It’s hooked up to a Paralever swing arm and final drive—borrowed from a newer BMW.
The wheels are stunning 17” units from Speedline, one size smaller than the R80 originals, and wrapped in Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires. The single-disc front brakes have been swapped out for a set of dual disc Brembos from a BMW K1100, with the calipers mounted on hand-made brackets.

For the bodywork, Toshiyuki matched up an aluminum Moto Guzzi race tank, with a NCR racing fairing originally designed for the Ducati Pantah. And although they come from two different sources, both parts fit like they were meant for each other.
The tank took some fettling to go on the BMW’s frame, but the fairing was an easier fit. There’s a 7” Koito headlight embedded up front.

The tail unit is completely custom, right down to the seat with its combination Alcantara and vinyl upholstery. Toshiyuki redesigned the subframe, and installed a CEV taillight and custom-made license plate bracket out back.

The cockpit has not been neglected. The clip-ons are also from the Ducati Montjuich, the grips are Yamaha TZ 250 items, and the speedo is from Motogadget, mounted on a custom bracket.
A pair of modern sport bike mirrors carry the front turn signals, and a set of unbranded off-the-shelf rearsets rounds out the controls.

Toshiyuki left the motor itself stock, and with its airbox intact. A performance boost comes from a pair of Keihin FCR39 flatslide carbs, replacing the stock Bings, and a two-into-one exhaust system with an incredibly loud race silencer.
The wiring’s been tweaked with Dyna coils, Nology plug wires and a lighter Lithium-ion battery. There are neat little touches all over—like the carbon front fender, and the chunky, drilled exhaust hanger.

For paint, Toshiyuki had the bike finished in a pearl white, and the frame in blue. His close friend Orvis One, over in nearby Kumamato, then pushed the R80 over the finish line with an inspired throwback livery—all done by hand.
It’s a most unlikely concept, blending BMW and Ducati components, but the graphics, the parts spec and the classic endurance vibe has got us smitten.

We’re curious to see what Switch Stance will produce next—and wondering what other hidden gems are waiting to be discovered amongst the back roads of Japan.
Switch Stance Riding | Facebook | Instagram | Images by, and with thanks to, Marc Holstein