MORIWAKI: A Brand that Pursues True Racing Specs
In Japan, the motorcycle boom peaked in the 1980s. At this time, many parts manufacturers appeared and sadly also disappeared. In the midst of this popularity boom, brands such as YOSHIMURA, which is still wellknown worldwide, were born. On the other hand, there are still many brands that you may not know about, despite the high quality and unique products they produce. Here, we would like to introduce you to MORIWAKI, a brand that, like YOSHIMURA, has become a household name in Japan even in the declining motorcycle market through its focus on race use. We would also like to share the story of the relationship between MORIWAKI and YOSHIMURA, since there may be some people who do not know about it.
Who is MORIWAKI?
”Beyond the Best"
This is the corporate slogan of MORIWAKI. Just as race time records are broken year after year, there is no end to the technological evolution and manufacturing that supports these records. Even if you win one race, you would still push forward to be even better, and that is the meaning behind this slogan.
Blue represents the vastness of the sea and sky, signifying Mother Nature, the source of all life on earth. Yellow signifies the spirit of MORIWAKI, which loves the great outdoors and thrives amidst it. Since the first MORIWAKI machine appeared on the track, all their racing machines have been equipped with exteriors in this color in order to carry the MORIWAKI spirit.
MORIWAKI has a long history and was established in 1973 in Suzuka City, famous for the SUZUKA 8 HOURS. While undertaking the development, manufacture, sales, and export of YOSHIMURA products, MORIWAKI also took the lead in tuning motorcycles for competition. From the very beginning of the company's establishment, they reinforced and built their own frames, which led to the development of the MD250, which we will introduce below, and the MD211VF which was able to enter the pinacle MotoGP in 2004.
MORIWAKI has participated in the SUZUKA 8 HOURS since the very first time it was held, and in the years since have not only focused on refining their skills to aim for victory, but also using them to deliver enjoyable products to riders.
In recent years, they have also participated in the All Japan Road Race Championships and other races in various countries, always running machines in race environments to collect data. There is no doubt that this insatiable spirit of pursuit backed by the principle of "Beyond the Best" has become the foundation for custom motorcycle parts made in Japan today.
Relationship with YOSHIMURA
You may know that YOSHIMURA was the first company in Japan to produce a collective pipe exhaust for motorcycles, but do you know the relationship between YOSHIMURA and MORIWAKI? Mamoru Moriwaki, the president of MORIWAKI, was one of the few engineers working at YOSHIMURA, which was established in 1953, and was an apprentice to "Pops" Yoshimura himself. He is also famous for marrying Yoshimura's eldest daughter, Namiko. Especially if you do not read Japanese, both companies' logos may even look the same. The fact that they not only worked together but also have a family relationship might be a little known fact. Like YOSHIMURA, MORIWAKI is also a brand that continues to create products with a strong background in racing.
MORIWAKI is best known for their exhaust systems, which are packed with technology cultivated from the racing scene. Although MORIWAKI exhaust systems are developed for racing, they cover a wide range of models, including not only supersports, but also low-displacement bikes such as the GROM, CT125, and CC110, as well as the Rebel series and the CRF250L. MORIWAKI doesn't use the same generic silencer over and over, but rather provides the perfect exhaust layout, silencer length, material, and coloring to take full advantage of the look and feel of each bike.
The Moriwaki Dream
With the number of young people riding motorcycles decreasing in Japan, MORIWAKI has been independently creating highly competitive machines with the primary goal of increasing the number of young riders. This is the "Moriwaki Dream" and what MD stands for. When the GP-MONO class was first established in Japan in 2006, teams were building machines by hand, combining motocrosser engines with 125cc racer chassis. Despite the fact that it was originally established as an introductory class so that anyone could participate, the technical know-how required to build a machine conversely raised the bar for participation. Seeing this situation, MORIWAKI started manufacturing complete machines in order to create an environment where people could easily participate in these races.
Original Frame "MD Series"
The original MORIWAKI racing machine, equipped with a 4-stroke 250cc motocrosser engine, was built without compromise, and underwent extensive testing, including the introduction of various parts and dimensional changes. The resulting MD250 has achieved brilliant results in the Japanese racing world.
The MotoGP Challenge
MORIWAKI's full-fledged challenge into MotoGP began in 2002, when the name was changed from World Grand Prix to MotoGP and the pinnacle class became a mixed race between 4-stroke 990cc and 2-stroke 500cc machines. With the change to 4-stroke 990cc, MORIWAKI was convinced that if one had the special talent to control the monstrous power it produced, he or she could beat the Works Machines, i.e., the era would return to that of the 70s and 80s, when constructors such as MORIWAKI and YOSHIMURA were honing their skills.
And so, the development of the MD211VF, equipped with HONDA's then newest 211V engine, began.
While the works bikes used an aluminum twin-spar frame, which was the norm for supersport bikes at the time, being the challenger they are, MORIWAKI took a fundamentally different approach. They mounted the latest MotoGP engine on a steel pipe frame. The reason for this was that a welded steel pipe frame would allow for immediate dimensional changes to reflect test results. In order to enter the world of 200-plus horsepower and 320km/h, for their first GP challenge MORIWAKI chose a steel frame that could be modified immediately based on their machine building know-how, and from then on proceeded to make improvements one by one.
They made their debut in MotoGP as a wild card in the Suzuka round in 2003. Their machine completed the race amidst a large crowd of spectators and supporters. The result was 16th in qualifying and 19th in the race itself, 1'35.459" behind the leader after completing all 122.304 km. This was MORIWAKI's GP debut.
Four incarnations of the MD211VF were subsequently manufactured, and one year and eight months after announcing their first intent to enter the MotoGP, they finally scored their first point in their fourth race of the series.
MORIWAKI's record in MotoGP was 7 points in 7 races in 2 years. For the reader who is used to seeing factory riders rack up points with ease, this may seem rather low, but think back to the past few years. Have any other privateer riders, using their own developed frames, competing against the best riders and machines in the world, scored as many points in only seven races?
This achievement was enough to make the power of MORIWAKI known to the world. And for MORIWAKI, it was not only the race results themselves, but more importantly the experience they gained through the difficulty of developing machines at the highest level, and the data they were able to collect, which has became a great asset. Furthermore, all MORIWAKI staff, mechanics, and other employees who experienced this world class project are able to put this experience to use in all of their products.
If you visit MORIWAKI's Home Page, you can see what kind of manufacturer MORIWAKI is with more detailed information about their battles, their attitude toward racing, and both the joy and pain of being a challenger. Unfortunately, it is written in Japanese, so you may not be able to understand the original, but if you are interested, you can view the website with a translation tool here.
Webike Japan's global merchandiser who is passionate about motorcycles. Born in Japan, and spent his childhood in the US. 25 years of riding experience mainly on the tarmac and motorcycle market. He loves products made in Japan and considers himself a "Japan Parts evangelist".