In the 1940’s, Komine Shunsuke was a student who was fascinated with the Indian and Triumph motorcycles. This led to the establishment of a wholesale trade company that deals on bicycles and tires in Taito ward of Tokyo. The company known as Komine Shoukai preceded the Komine Auto Center.
Bicycle parts and tires were delivered to government agencies, before the motorization of Japan and the freedom of gasoline distribution. Komine Shunsuke took advantage of this development and redirected the focus of his company.
Following a request from Honda Motor Co, Ltd, Komine Shoukai became a general agency for the “Red Club,” an F-type bicycle auxiliary engine kit. The Red Club, as expected, made impressive sales until Honda established its own sales network, discontinuing its alliance with small trade companies.
In 1953, there was a restructuring at Komine Shoukai, and its name was changed to
Komine Bike Industrial Corporation. The organization became involved in the wholesale distribution of its own products. Additionally, the first Komine motorcycle called the "The Giant" was manufactured.
Economic Expansion of the Company
With the advent of the Japanese motorization, many companies ventured into the manufacture of motorcycles. Komine’s Giant motorcycle was famous for its superior engine quality and high efficiency, making it a preferred choice for consumers. For this reason, other manufacturers began to use Komine’s engines for their motorbikes.
During the war, other companies acquired vast technical expertise in manufacturing, making it difficult for Komine Shunsuke to remain ahead of them. Eventually, he resorted to the production of “private motorcycle supplies.”
Komine Auto Center established in 1957, went into the production of motorcycle supplies which sold at Komine chain stores. The technology and experience acquired in the manufacture of motorcycle parts were used for the production of the motorcycle supplies. With the evolution of Japanese motorization and its accompanying economic growth, Japanese manufacturers were at the forefront in the motorcycle industry. However, there was an alarming increase in the number of traffic accidents, as riders lost their lives due to the lack of protection.
Komine Auto Center, determined to protect motorbike riders, commenced the research and development of body protection and armor. This gave rise to the production of helmets that met the standards of the American Snell Foundation in the year 1967. The high-quality helmets were also exported to United States, Australia and England.
In the eighties, Japan witnessed the evolution of motorsports. The increase in speed by motorcycle riders necessitated the evolvement of their protection wear. Komine supported professional riders by manufacturing high-quality protection products. This effort led to a significant increase in demand for Komine products to the point where 25 Komine brand stores operated in Japan all at the same time. Komine also began to import and sell high-quality products by foreign brands such as Dainese.
The Japanese economy crumbled in the early nineties, resulting in the decline in sales of motorcycles and protection products for riders. This was a major economic blow for Komine and the country as a whole.
To survive the economic recession, Komine again changed the focus of its company to large-scale production and it retained its customers. Despite the changes, Komine's love and passion for motorcycle stay the same. The new Komine slogan “Top quality safety products for over 60 years” is fitting as Komine continues to gain recognition and acceptance in Japan and foreign countries.
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