Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn to Reveal Custom FTR at Bike Shed Moto Show

Indian Motorcycle UK and Sideburn magazine have partnered with customizer Toshiyuki “CHEETAH” Osawa, to create a custom-built Indian FTR that blends the moto cultures of America, Britain, and Japan. Being revealed during the Friday, May 26 preview evening of the famous Bike Shed Moto Show in London, ‘Tokyo Connection’ celebrates the American flat track heritage of the FTR and the burgeoning UK and Japanese dirt track scenes and will remain on display to the public throughout the weekend show, May 26-28.

Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn to Reveal Custom FTR

Toshiyuki “CHEETAH” Osawa, based out of Tokyo, is one of the most respected custom builders anywhere in the world and one of the driving forces behind the grassroots resurgence of dirt track in Japan. With great demand for his work, Cheetah was initially concerned that he might not be able to participate in the build due to his schedule, but the globe-spanning nature of the project, its themes and a chance to visit the UK for Europe’s best independent annual motorcycle show saw Cheetah pull out all the stops to be a part of the project.

The Concept

With his expertise in aluminium exterior fabrication, a signature element of many of his builds, Cheetah designed the bike around the premise of a one-piece petrol tank and seat cowl structure seen in many flat trackers, but with a larger tank than normally seen on the race machines.

“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,” said Cheetah.

Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn to Reveal Custom FTR

With the project moniker of ‘Tokyo Connection,’ Cheetah wanted to incorporate graphics that would leave an impression of Tokyo and Japan by designing a logo and lettering resembling Japanese calligraphy, hand-applied by artist and fellow motorcycle fabricator, Tomomi “Shakin’ ” Shimizu.

Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn to Reveal Custom FTR

“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 biased 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.”

As part of the build, a series of videos follows the project from the build to its unveiling and beyond. The second video in the series features Cheetah in the starring role adding another string to his bow in his first acting performance.

Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn to Reveal Custom FTR

Cheetah said, “I am grateful for the chance to bring out a new side of me playing the role of ‘Super Cheetah.’ The shoot was incredibly exhilarating, and I was able to discover that I have the potential to be an actor as well, something I’ve never done before.”

To follow all the videos as they are released, bookmark the YouTube Playlist

Set in London’s historic Tobacco Dock, the Bike Shed Moto Show curates over 300 custom motorcycles from all over the world to put a spotlight on the creativity of the new-wave and cafe-racer custom motorcycle culture. This year, the show celebrates the theme of Past, Present and Future to look at how history has shaped the present, and where motorcycling will go next. With live music, art, photography, and hand-made accessories alongside selected brands, retailers and exhibitors, the Bike Shed Moto Show is a must-visit event for all fans of moto culture.

Indian Motorcycle and Sideburn to Reveal Custom FTR

‘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 (@ducktail_watanabe)
• Aluminium petrol tank designed by Cheetah, fabricated by Garage Ducktail
• Leather seat by Atelier Tee (@ateliertee)
• Paint by S Paint Works (@spaintworks_aki @spaintworks)
• Signwriting by Shakin @grindandbrush
• 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

For more information on Indian Motorcycle visit here and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Video Credit: James Cox – IG: @blackdotsvideo / W:

Photo Credits: Sam Christmas Photography – IG: @samchristmas / FB: @Samchristmasphotography / W:

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