The evolution of Komine was to switch focus. Riders also responded to this change by continuing to follow the brand they had grown to love as a major player in the history of motorcycles and motorcycle supplies in Japan. The focus went back to the basic goal which was the design of quality protection gear for improved rider safety while making it reasonable for the everyday consumer. The new slogan, “Top quality safety products for over 60 years.” Komine was being adopted by international buyers in Asia and Europe, where it was attracting attention for being affordable while having very high quality.
ONLY THE BEST
1940’s – As a student Komine Shunsuke was in love with motorcycles like Indian and Triumph which lead to him founding his first business in Taito ward of Tokyo as a wholesale trade company for bicycles and tires. The company, Komine Shoukai, became the predecessor of Komine Auto Center.
1950’s – In the beginning bicycle parts and tire inner tubes were shipped to government agencies but with the start of the motorization of Japan and the freeing of gasoline distribution Komine Shoukai was presented with the opportunity to break away from the duties of a simple trade merchant and Komine Shunsuke changed the focus of his organization to become a general agency for F-type bicycle auxiliary engine kits called the “Red Cub”. This change was prompted by a requested from Fujisawa Takeo of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.. The “Red Cub” began to take off and sales were exploding so Komine Shunsuke seized the opportunity at the start of the “age of the motorcycle” in Japan. Honda then established its own sales network and began to cut off its smaller trading partners and therefore the direct relationship with Honda Motor Co., Ltd was ended.
1953 Komine Shoukai reorganized and changed its name to the Komine Bike Industrial Corporation and began to wholesale its own manufactured goods. Komine then began to product its first motorcycle, “The Giant”.
At this time, the dawn of the Japanese motorization, the manufacture of motorcycles increased explosively. Over 100 companies took root. Komine’s motorcycle, The Giant was high performance and were well known for its high efficiency and engine quality. Becuase of this, many other manufacturers decided to use Komine engines in their own bikes. Komine Shunsuke himself was not satisfied with the bike even though the engine was popular. During the war other large companies eventually accumulated a lot of technical prowess in manufacturing and Komine Shunsuke could not keep pace. Eventually Komine shifted focus to the manufacture of “private motorcycle supplies” as a solution to the dilemma.
1980’s – The eighties, just as Japan came into an unprecedented boom in the motorcycle industry, saw the evolution of motor sports. Ever increasing speeds saw a widening gap between the performance of the machines and the protection needed for the rider, so the protection wear also had to evolve, and so Komine supported and learned from professional riders early on. Because of this effort Komine’s high quality products were accepted by many riders and the demand continued to increase to the point where at one time there were 25 Komine brand stores across Japan. Komine’s slogan of the times “only the best”, was supported by Komine’s stores importing top foreign brand names like Dainese, establishing Komine’s position as a comprehensive motorcycle supplies chain and not limited to selling only Komine brand products. But the nineties saw the collapse of the Japanese economy and with it went the boom in the motorcycle industry.
As Komine changes with the times it continues to mature and evolve but always the love and passion for motorcycles remains the same.