AC Sanctuary Comes to SoCal: Radical Construction Manufacture

John Burns
by John Burns

What to do if your resto-mod Z1 just doesn’t feel up to snuff? First of all, relax, and realize you are not suffering alone. Here’s what RCM, an offshoot of AC Sanctuary, has to comfort you, according to its website:

“Recently, state-of-the-art tuning and restoration have reached high levels. There are classically tuned Zs, constructed with sophisticated manufacturing techniques and settings, and custom Zs, constructed with an emphasis on reasonable bolt-on procedures. Take them out for a test-drive and the fundamental difference is clear. You can plainly feel the difference in level of performance.

Why not just have RCM do it right the first time, like this?

“Regrettably, many people have the latter kind of Zs. Amongst these there are many Custom Zs that do not express the concept of “practicality” and where you cannot feel the ease of handling or high quality that these vehicles should have. Trapped by the experiences they’ve had and the value judgements they’ve learned from these bikes, riders judge that “thicker tires are inflexible” and “custom work leaves nothing but trouble.” Hearing this from riders on an almost daily basis, we always feel sorry for these unfortunate riders.

“It’s true that in the crowd of after-market parts there are many parts which could become sources of trouble, and many parts which have problems which are difficult to discern from a visual inspection alone. Remodelled bikes which use these parts and which were assembled without taking advantage of the limitless possibilities of bolt-on technology can become bikes that are sloppy-looking and occasionally even dangerous. Take a custom Z, which looks well-made at first glance. The frame and exterior are beautifully painted, and the brakes and carburetor have been replaced with premium parts. You can acquire it at a reasonable price. You are overjoyed, waiting for the day your bike is finally delivered and you can live that exciting “bike life” with the motorcycle you longed for. But is it really safe to say you’ve acquired an easy-to-ride and ready-to-run bike in good condition? There are still some doubts…

“The job we are most often asked to do at AC Sanctuary is the alteration or repair of clearly flawed and badly done custom work. What these bikes have in common is that it is extremely difficult to fix them with just single-point alteration or repair. Most of the work has to be completely redone. This takes quite a bit of time and carries high costs. Sometimes we come across machines where the damage is too great because the welding done to the frame is clumsy and the bike cannot be fixed, so we have no choice but to give up on the repair. Even with total manufacturing, there can be a crudeness in the techniques and the machining of the various parts to the point that you feel like all the small details need a touch-up. You can see the unfinished quality of these bikes. Though they may be reasonable and cheap, these Zs are sloppily made. On the other hand, there are Zs that may be expensive but have been carefully set up by tuning specialists and racing constructors and can be relied on. If you actually compare the two it’s obvious that the process of repairs and alterations is never-ending for the first kind of bike. Why does this kind of situation continue to occur?”

Beats us. Luckily, there is a solution. Have Sanctuary build your custom retro Z from the ground up:

“An R.C.M. is a truly complete bike, born from the passion of mechanics with no regard for cost and using true tuning techniques. With the right parts for the job and your choice of material, plus procedures which are guaranteed to be safe, you can fulfil your dream of yourself as a rider with a fully order-made bike that has been set up with high standards of techniques, that looks good, and that is high-quality and fully reliable. R.C.M.s have been totally coordinated at a high level. There is true beauty and skillful function in even the smallest details.”


Wow, I like that idea. AC Sanctuary, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, is a very big high-end custom motorcycle player in Japan, and they just opened an offshoot in SoCal, in an historically Japanese part of Gardena near where the original American Honda established itself before later moving into its huge Torrance campus. Okay not totally Sanctuary itself, but “our company is named after “RCM” that is derived from their customized motorcycle. We are proud to say that We, as “RCM USA Inc” and “SANCTUARY,” are nothing but a hand-in-glove as companies.”

The house special is customized vintage motorcycles, known as RCM (Radical Construction Manufacture) from the early `70s to late `80s Kawasaki Z‐1, GPz900R Ninjas, Suzuki GSX Katanas, Honda CB-F, et al.

Sadly, nobody was there when I dropped by yesterday to scope it out, nobody answers the phone, and I no longer have a FAX machine. Still, the guy who imports shoes next door says Aoki is a great guy, and still establishing things. We can’t wait till he’s up and running so we can drop in for a drool and pester session.

Radical Construction Motorcycle USA

AC Sanctuary Japan

John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 21 comments
  • Mikstr Mikstr on Oct 19, 2018


  • TheMarvelous1310 TheMarvelous1310 on Oct 25, 2018

    Frame jobs are the wave of the future. Look at Big Bear Choppers, who saved their whole business by switching from off-the-wall choppers to FXR style baggers. The problem is that everybody wants to do the work for you, and charge you your whole @$$ and both legs for it.

    Solution - I'm gonna start a frame company, make mini-FXR frames that fit Sportster components. All Sportster components, so you can literally just swap your whole bike over and scrap the frame.