HONDA “Mokoku” Project (1)

Famous mini bike series in 1/8 scale

There will be a reappearance of mini bikes based on former legendary bikes. The craftsmanship involved in this young persons’ development project called “Mokoku” is being carried out in-house by Honda, and is simply too amazing for us not to introduce on the web too!

The knack of interpreting a mold to a completely different scale

When one says “Mokoku”, in this case it means a small bike glittering like a shining jewel. But hang on a minute, what on earth is this Mokoku anyway? Well, Mokoku (模刻) is a Japanese word that even Japanese people are not familiar with hearing on a general basis. According to Wikipedia, it is used as a link for the training of Buddhist priests in making reproductions of Buddhist statues. It is not a coined word, but instead it seems like some kind of ancient vocabulary. Regardless, the machines that have been made by Honda in this Mokoku project certainly do set off a dazzling jewel like shine!

Based on the motifs of the 1961 RC143 (right), and the 1976 RCB1000 (left). Of course these bikes are small, but they seem very realistic based on their appearance.

The Mokoku project by Honda is a kind of study training programme for modelers’ that have been with the company for less than five years, in which they get to choose a design they like and construct a model by themselves based on the 74 Daijiro super mini bike. Of course, daily operations are properly broken down in order to cope with the heavy time required for such constructions. Well, now it all becomes easier to see how this project has something in common with the image of reproducing Buddhist statues and training priests!

These mini bikes are all based on the 74 Daijiro super mini bike. It is the former kids bike ridden by Daijiro Kato, under the management of Delta Enterprise that had their sights set on having kids introduced into racing. (approx $2250) For enquiries: Delta Engineering

For those that don’t know about what’s involved in the design, they probably think that “it’s just a simple case of reducing the size of the original”, but in actual fact the design process is much more complex than this. First of all, there’s the wheelbase and tyres to contend with, then you have to be able to actually mount the bike, so you can see how the production conditions become pretty hard. Therefore, this is not just a simple case of shrinking the original design, but to produce a distorted version that doesn’t ruin the design of the base machine. In other words, even though it might be small, it is utterly essential to build a complete design from scratch.

Because of this painstaking process, you can tell which bike is which at a simple glance. If one were to be careless in molding such characteristics onto a small bike of this size, then that mistake would likely stand out more than if it were to be on the original size bike.







Entire process carried out by one person: Approx 2 months for clay work & approx 2 months for production work

From selection of the machine, the clay model production, and furthermore to each individual part to be produced and painted, all is finished by one modeler for each bike.

Clay tools are used for molding the clay into shape. These are not merely goods to be thrown on the market, but rather these are products that are lovingly handmade by the creator themselves to a very high standard.

Mokoku project leader

Koji Yaginuma: Researcher in charge of Design Development at R&D Motorcycle Center.

From the start it had been the company spirit of Honda that like to challenge itself in interesting ventures, and also from the point of view of education came the birth of the Mokoko project. Honda has been saying how its “aim is to be the world’s top group of creators”. The reason we chose to produce mini bikes on base machines, was so that our modelers’ could get a chance to work on something that is a convenient size. First of all, they can choose the model they want to produce, and from then on they are in charge of production by themselves from the molding process all the way to the finished product.

(Article published in Young Machine magazine vol.521, April 2016. Author: Tetsuro Makita. Photos: Toru Hasegawa. Photography cooperation: Honda Technical Research Institute, Motorcycle R&D Center)

Related post