Editor’s note:This bike comes at an interesting
time. We’re about to launch the Girls of Bikernet and brothers
have been fighting over the Japanese influence in our lives. I ran
across this bike sometime ago at an event and told the builder
how knocked out I was about the paint, the white base and
smooth look of the machine.
I had it shot by Don Rogers in Florida, because I knew Don
would pick the right girl and do the classic Japanese warrior
artwork justice. The paint is incredible, the girl beautiful and
Don’s photography excellent. Watch for more shots of the girl
GirlsofBikernet.com in March. And regarding the Japanese art on
American Motorcycle, as far as I’m concerned all bikers are
warriors. This art shows warriors a great deal of respect. The
art on the girl was crafted by the same artist who masterfully
adorned the bike.—Bandit
Imagine jumping on your bike with absolutely no
destination in mind. Visualize riding for hours on end, only
stopping for gas and the occasional burrito washed down with a
coke. You enter a town after riding for several hours and just
want to find a place to stay for the night. As you are checking
into the town, you realize how small a place this really is. Two
stop lights, a hotel, a gas station, and lots of God’s country. I’ll
bet these people have never seen a bike like the custom painted
Heritage you blasted into town on. As a matter of fact, I’ll bet
these people still ride horses.
There is absolutely nothing here….then you hear it. The
unmistakable sound of a big twin resonates as familiar as the
sound of your alarm clock. Instantly you find your senses peaked
to just see the maker of this familiar sound. Cresting the ridge
above you, with the horizon glazing his back, is a bike unlike
any you have seen before. As it coasts past you, the image of
fine china chased by thunder is all you can associate with the
splendor of the beast.
You see her, the beast
only known as Munewari.
Whatever has happened before doesn’t matter. You
have to find out about that bike. Such is the case for everyone
the first time they have laid eyes on her. Here is the story of
Munewari, a Japanese word for split chest tattooing, or the name
of a bike that makes the gods of Valhalla nod with approval.
Matt Kraft started working with his hands as many have
before him. He usually broke something and had to discover a
way to fix it. He bought his first car when he was 14 years old
and started on a journey that brought him to present day owner/
operator of Kraft Custom Cycles in Kamas, Utah.
Always one to start with a bang, Matt goes all
out on everything he does.
“I got my license on Wednesday, and crashed on
Friday. You know the story of trying to impress your friends by
showing them how fast your car is and how well you can drive,”
he claimed. I could tell I was going to like this kid already.
Honest and not scared to tell when he screwed up.
“I worked for several shops, but I was never truly happy
with what I was doing. I decided to sell my house in California,
and move to Kamas to start my own deal. This not only gives me
the opportunity to build my bikes, but I get to spend the time
with my family doing things we used to have to wait all year to
Well, so much for the theory that bike builders don’t
live “the life”. I spend half my time trying to discover ways to
escape my family and this guy sells everything he has to have
more time with his family. Maybe there is something to the
suspicion of half crazy guys running wild.
Two years ago, Matt decided to leave California to pursue
his dreams of being a bike builder. He seems to be among the
new breed of bike builders. He doesn’t have the “biker look”.
Like builders such as Jesse Rooke, Joe Martin, and Matt Hotch,
Matt would look more at home playing X-box than designing
Munewari’s concept actually originated with the owners
father, Dennis McQuire Sr. He had the bike built and then gave it
to his son to remind him of the legacy his family believes in.
This bike represents all things honorable represented by the
Bushido symbols that adorn the bike.
The symbols are actually versions and concepts of “the way
of the warrior”. Each part of the bike has a different belief, such
as honor, honesty, and bravery. Jonathan Pantaleon, award
winning airbrush artist, used House of Kolor paints for the entire
The paint job on the gas tank is done in
the same style as it would be on a man’s chest.
That’s where the name, Munewari, came from. The
bike was originally scheduled to be a more flesh tone color, but
Matt decided against it, as he didn’t really want to build a bike
that could be compared to a big tattooed dick. The
owner was blown away when he saw the bike for the first time.
“If I would have known you were going with white, I would
have talked him out of it. But once I saw the bike, I couldn’t
imagine it being any other color,” stated the elder McQuire
incredulously. The white appears with an immaculate glow that
seems to illuminate the whole area around it. Dennis McQuire Jr.
could not have received a better adaptation of the warrior’s way
than a bike as kick ass as this one. The paint is laid down in a
way that reminds me of the tattoos I used to see on my Dad’s
Seems all war veterans have tattoos representing where they
have been, and Munewari looks to be at home on everything
from a man, a bike, or even a woman. No doubt one of the
classiest and cleanest paint schemes to come down the pike.
When I asked Matt how often the bike was ridden, he
laughed and explained that the owner wanted a chalice. He
didn’t spend 12 grand on a paintjob to be scratching it running
around town. This bike is a leisure rider that was built for show.
People can say what they want, but I wouldn’t mind something
like that being parked in my living room as a centerpiece. The
quality of the bike and paint are second to none, winning several
awards along the way. She won “Best Street Custom” at the
Easyriders show in San Diego, Ca. in 2004. Matt also entered her
in The Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, Ca. in early
“Growing up in San Diego, I always looked at this show as
the biggest and best of them all. If you win here, you really did
something because the competition is phenomenal,” Matt
enthusiastically beams like a proud papa. “We walked out of
there winning ‘Outstanding Motorcycle of the Show’ and ‘Best
Paint’. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
For a shop that’s been open for only two years, Matt has
began to rack up the trophies. He won numerous times with
several bikes and looks to be gaining momentum. I look for Matt
Kraft and Kraft Custom Cycles to be a major player in the years
to come. Anyone who truly knows about bikes will be able to
appreciate the no nonsense style and clean lines Matt’s bikes
display. Don’t take my word for it, check out the pictures or go
online to www.kraftcustomcycles.com.
“I just wanted to give my thanks to Jonathan, as he was
an immeasurable help with my project and I look forward to
working with him for years to come,” insisted Matt. It sounds to
me like Jonathan has made a partner worth having for the long
Today’s bike industry has become so cluttered with
bike builders copying one another and each claiming to do his
own thing, making this encounter a refreshing one. It is cool to
see a couple of guys collaborate ideas to build a slick and mean
ass ride such as this beauty. It’s not every day you see a 600 lb.
piece of china rolling down the tarmac being powered by a
thunderous v-twin whose sound is so penetrating you have to
look twice to be sure of what you just saw.
Take a few minutes and admire the look of Munewari. It is
unlikely you have ever seen anything quite like her, and
seemingly impossible to expect to see another again. This bike
is a true representation of what a custom should be. A bike with
unique lines that represent the philosophy of the owner reminds
people around him what he stands for. I don’t think Dennis Jr.
will ever forget the power of his family beliefs, or be able to
deny the strength and craftsmanship by which his ride was built.
The next time you see another carbon copy “custom”
rolling down the strip, try to compare the bike to this beauty.
Look at the lines and the style. The cleanliness of the bars down
to the fat rear tire; this is why we started customizing bikes. The
desire to make each bike unique and styled to our own personal
tastes and beliefs drives each one of us to make our own look.
Lucky for this kid, he will never have to change a thing on this
Man, talk about starting with a leg
Keep your eye out for more from Matt Kraft and his
custom bikes. If you’re ever in Florida, don’t be surprised if you
see this monster fly past you on the freeway. Maybe you can
catch the guy and get a closer look at the bike; this is one
paintjob you will never forget.
Munewari Spec Chart
Owner - Dennis McQuire Jr.
Year/Make- ’04 Kraft Custom Cycles/ Munewari
Fabrication- Matt Kraft
Assembly- Matt Kraft
Build Time- 4 Months
Web Site- www.kraftcustomcycles.com
Size/Type- 121” TP Engineering
Ignition- Crane Hi-4
Pipes- Martin Brothers
Year/Type- 2004 Baker RSD6
Clutch- Barnett Scorpion
Drive- Billet 4 U
Rake- 42 2004/Xtreme degrees
Stretch- 4 up and 3 out
Molding- Matt Kraft
Triple Trees- Perse 6 degree
Type- Legend Air Ride
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Size/Type- 21” PM Wrath
Size- Metzeler 80/90/21
Size/Type- 18x10 PM Wrath
Size- Metzeler 280/35/18
Caliper- PM Drive Side
Color- House of Kolor
Painter- Jonathan Pantaleon
Graphics- Jonathan Pantaleon
Polishing- Orange County Plating
Front Fender-Fat Katz/Kraft Custom Cycles
Rear Fender- Xtreme/Kraft Custom Cycles
Caps- Independent/ Hotmatch
Handlebars- Kraft Custom Cycles
Foot Controls- PM
Foot pegs- PM
Tail light- Billet 4 U
Seat- Bitchin Stitchin
Electrical- Kraft Custom Cycles