Zero Engineering – originating in Okazaki, Japan but now based in the US – is known for its minimalist, stripped-down custom motorcycles, and is now in Malaysia. Commonly referred to as the “Zero style”, a design theme inspired by a sense of austere refinement, there are three Zero Engineering Customs in Malaysia, the Type 5 and Type 6, at RM190,800, and the Type 9i at RM212,000, including GST.

Made in very limited quantities each year – 30 units of the Type 5, 24 of the Type 6 and 50 of the Type 9i – Zero Engineering machines are rolling works of art, and targeted at the discerning motorcycle connoisseur. Using an S&S V-twin engine as its basis, each Zero Engineering bike carries a rigid frame, as with the Type 5 and Type 6, or a multi-link frame, used in the Type 9i.

Founded by Shinya Kimura in 1992, Zero Engineering is said to be Japan’s first custom motorcycle shop, and rapidly gained a reputation for giving its bikes a raw, unfinished look that draws out the beauty of the materials used in the build. This is shown in the Type 6 and Type 9i that were provided to for a close look and photoshoot.

Since builds of this nature are not concerned with power as much as aesthetics, there were no horsepower or torque figures provided for the S&S engines used in the bikes, but we can tell you the Type 5 carries a 1,337 cc S&S air-cooled V-twin, while the Type 9i has a 1,333 cc S&S Evolution engine, also air-cooled.

Power for the Type 5 gets to the ground via a Primero Riviera five-speed box, while the Type 9i uses a five-speed Baker gearbox, and final drive is with a three-inch wide belt. Both machines we viewed came with closed primary drives, but the buyer of a Zero Engineering custom has the choice of an open primary.

All up weight for this pair of custom cruisers, as be imagined, is not light, with the Type 5 clocking in at 260 kg, while the Type 9i comes in at 280 kg. As custom-engineered vehicles, naturally, the prospective Zero Engineering customer has a wide range of choices when it comes to parts and accessories, as well as customisation.

Zero Engineering was kind enough to let us take a short spin on the Type 9i around the area of the Dash Box Hotel in Cyberjaya, and we grabbed the chance to see what riding a piece of motorcycle art would be like. Get on the bobber-style seat, the Zero Engineering Type 9i is low to the ground, and stretches out a long 2.33 metres in front of and behind the rider.

The front suspension, a girder fork, has by design a short travel, and the multi-link rear suspension is the same. Taking a short cruise around the area, the Type 9i performed well on smooth roads and corners, but bumps and ruts did upset the bike a little.

Potholes, however, were simply steam-rollered over by the sheer bulk of the Type 9i, but cornering needed some thought, as the Type 9i, while easy enough to turn in, required some shoulder effort to drop into the corner.

Both Zero Engineering bikes are certainly eye-catching, with numerous design details and engineering touches that show the amount of thought and work that has gone into the engine, frame and rolling gear. Zero Engineering Malaysia is in the process of moving into The Gasket Alley in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, where the Type 6 and Type 9i will be on display.

GALLERY: Zero Engineering Type 5
Zero Engineering Type 9i