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Small parts invite a global market


There is a single hand-drawn blueprint. This scrupulously prepared drawing, which shows the exact shape of each part, as well as how much to tighten each screw and how to make adjustments after assembly, became a trigger for the spread of the Keihin name around the world along with the later growth of the motorcycle manufacturer to which it was supplied. This classic-style carburetor with butterfly throttle valve + fixed venturi was designated BH. The use has been marked at the bottom right of the drawing. USED ON HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Everyone thought they would be the one to save Keihin.

"How about doing a Harley carburetor?" This offer came to us from a Canadian company in 1974. Keihin was no exception in being caught up in the upheavals in the global economy of that time, including the 1971 Nixon shock and 1973 oil shock; the Development Department, which had had three Sections, had been scaled back, and departments other than those handling Honda products were just hanging on.

Keihin's engineers were exhilarated to get this offer at a time like this. "Harley was a famous company, so when I heard we could design the carburetor, I was really fired up," reminisces one person involved at the time. That was not the only thing to get fired up about, of course. If we could get orders, a Keihin struggling to survive in general-purpose carburetor manufacturing would be revitalized. Everyone in the department was determined to take the lead themselves and become the driving force behind that. People were even prepared to give up on holidays. The time difference with the United States is 15 hours. The drawings were done in the middle of the night while listening for the sound of the telex. Seeing the completion of the blueprint after three days of meetings, visiting Harley engineers praised our staff saying, "You must be supermen!" The prototype crossed the Pacific just one month later.

Three weeks later, a telex from Harley headquarters in Milwaukee reported, "Trial manufacture proceeding well." But what made the developers even happier was receiving the news that Keihin carburetors would be used in the full product lineup, and not only in the 1000 cc engine, as originally planned. The Keihin performance evaluation and quality control technology introduced along with the products subsequently led to the global development of the Keihin brand while supporting the worldwide success of Harley Davidson. And the extraordinary craftsmanship has been handed down to the engineers of today.

BH Carburetor
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