Keinosuke “Keino” Sasaki was born and raised in Fukuoka , Japan. Just like the other motorcycle enthusiasts, Keino grew up surrounded by motorcycles, mostly father’s.
He remembers when he was small, he constantly climbed up on dad’s Yamaha 650, tried to reach for handle bar which is way too far for him, and also remembered that he used sketch that Yamaha and change handlebar and seat so he can reach on drawing.
After years of constant Keino’s attempt of riding dad’s Yamaha, His dad finally gave him Yamaha 125cc dirt bike he used to ride. When he was 11, made Keino promise not to ride on the street. Among the other promises Keino kept breaking. This one was exception.
Keino didn’t want to lose the bike. Even though Keino had to ride bicycle for half an hour to get gas..His dad used to make jewelry as a hobby also, It was natural that Keino started spent time together with his dad carving brass , silver around that time.
Keino got first motorcycle license, when he was 16, his dad brought abandoned scooter from street, Keino helped his dad take it apart, put it together. Keino never forget that feel of excitement and accomplishment he felt at the moment. “That’s the only thing I live for right now, I build bikes and take it out for a spin for the first time. That excitement makes all that cuts, burns, frustration, busted knuckles go away. And start all over again.” says Keino.
Keino took History as a major in college , looking to be a teacher. “I was into reading history book back then, nothing more. I didn’t give a damn about education, or any of that. It takes more than that to be a teacher, so, I didn’t have a enough passion to follow thru on that one.” He had something else on his mind. Motorcycle.
He had a part time job at restaurant and bike shop on off time, but he managed to stay and finish college. Then He got a job at Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant as assembly line worker to save enough money to come to the states.
After 2 years at assembly line. He got accepted at Motorcycle Mechanic Institute In AZ in 1998.
Jan 2000, Keino moved to Brooklyn ,NY. “ I never thought going to NY ,I didn’t know anybody out here, had no idea what it’s like either. but that was the only place that my job application accepted.
During several months at dealership, his desire for creative custom fabrication and engine building grew. So he knocked on the door of custom bike shop American Dream Machine in Soho, Manhattan. That was where Keino met his mentor Indian larry, and later partner Paul Cox. American Dream Machine moved its location to Brooklyn under new name Gasoline Alley named by head mechanic Indian Larry in 2001. “Larry wasn’t kind of a guy that took your hand to teach you how to make things. He just show you things and then he goes, you do it. He knew that I had a basic skill and knowledge. It’s not a skill I learned from him, it was mentality and philosophy behind making things that he helped me to establish”.
Indian Larry took over the business in Jan 2004, named it Indian Larry Enterprise. By that time Keino earned trust to be Larry’s Right-hand-man status.
August 2004, Indian Larry passed away unexpectedly. Keino and Paul Cox , Bob and Elisa Seeger formed a team to continue on Larry’ legacy. Indian Larry Legacy was born.
“3 years of Legacy, as for me, It was out of loyalty, respect and appreciation for my mentor by founding Legacy to take philosophy of motorcycle to different level. I really appreciated those people in this industry to give us tremendous opportunity to prove who we are. They could have just turned their back on us because we were not Larry.”
Jan 2008, Keino founded Keino Cycles in Brooklyn NY to follow his vision,
“Whole time I was with Larry, he was telling me , ‘Someday you will go on your own, and you should,’ back then I was like, “nah…”
…well I did. I wanted to go back to my roots. “
Keino focuses on functionality and artistry on motorcycle, his mentor’s philosophy as backbone, take it to next level by different approaches and ideas to develop his own.