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Custom Eye Candy: The Akira Bike Project

A Functional Replica Based on Kaneda’s “Shotaro”

A customized motorcycle based off of the motorcycle in AKIRA.
A view of Bel & Bel's "Akira Bike Project." Media provided by Bel & Bel.
Last updated:

  • Bel y Bel  (Bel & Bel) Akira Bike Project began with a single, Yamaha-powered prototype
  • The series to follow this prototype will be electric, with debut expected later this year
  • Price is listed around $26,287 USD with ~$5,000 USD deposit required

Everybody has a different reason to ride. 

Some might wish to carry forward their family’s biker legacy; some hunt for the ultimate adrenaline rush, while others are just looking to save a few dollars on the daily commute. 

I myself began riding only a handful of years ago, but my love for bikes began almost a decade before that when I first set my eyes on the Japanese cyberpunk action film, “Akira” (1988). 

About the cyberpunk film “Akira” (1988)

Secret military projects, ESP experiments, biker gangs, and an atomic climax aren’t even half of what this flick has to offer. A highlight of the plot, for me, is the camaraderie of a vigilante bōsōzoku gang that calls themselves “The Capsules.”

As you can imagine, a high-octane sci-fi film like this has the Capsules pulled into conspiracies that threaten humanity and, consequently, the world as they know it.

Amidst the chaos and beautifully depicted scenes of carnage lie a series of frames where one of the gang’s main guys, Kaneda, swoops in on a swanky machine called “Shotaro.”

A poster illustration of a boy and a motorcycle.
A poster illustration of Kaneda and “Shotaro” from “Akira” (1988). Media provided by Akira Fandom.

About the original Akira motorcycle

Kaneda’s two-wheeled choice is a blood-red bike that sits so low – and so far back – that “cruiser” aesthetics lean more toward “recumbent.”

To the slightly unrealistic visuals, we add Shoei, Arai, and U.S. Air Force stickers. Akira fandom’s website also points out the following hardware/specs for Shotaro:

  • Ceramic, double-rotor, two-wheel disk drive
  • Electronically controlled Anti-Lock Brake System (a pretty advanced concept for 1988) 
  • 200hp, no torque designation
  • A gearbox case and the appearance of electricity at the front tyre suggests this motorcycle is a turbine-electric hybrid

Cool fact: Shotaro’s pipe notes were pulled from an actual MiG-21 fighter jet and merged with a recording of a 1927 Harley-Davidson.

A custom motorcycle based off of a Japanese movie.
A view of Bel & Bel’s “Akira Bike Project.” Media provided by Bel & Bel.

Carles Bel and Jesús Bel are re-creating Shotaro

These lovely gents are responsible for creative studio “Bel y Bel,” or “Bel & Bel” (Bel & Bel Facebook page). 

In an interview with RideApart, Carles Bel mentions how much of their first prototype (the working one) was made up of used bike parts:

We could say that more than half of the parts have been made expressly for this bike, many parts are reused but have had to be somewhat modified for this purpose.”

“In the following [motorcycles after this first prototype], practically everything, including the chassis, will be custom built.”

– Carles Bel, Bel & Bel (RideApart)

What went into the “Akira Bike Project?”

Part of the pair’s project involved a Yamaha gas engine mated to an electric motor for a hybrid design that would be durable and easier to work with. 

To this was added fiberglass/carbon fiber fairings and 17’ wheels shod in race rubber, while the generous 78.74” wheelbase was added between the front and rear tire.

The whole caboodle purportedly weighs a surprisingly scant ~374 lbs.

two custom electric motorcycles.
A view of Bel & Bel’s “Akira Bike Project.” Media provided by Bel & Bel.

Are Bel & Bel taking orders for future Akira bikes? 


Heads up, the next models will be a bit different from the prototype we’re covering in this article. Coverage from Janaki Jitchotvisut (RideApart) shows that the next generation of Bel & Bel Akira bikes will feature the following, among other things:

  • A fully-electric rear hub motor capable of 5000w and 72v, though Carles says we can “mount more power and more battery if necessary”
  • A range of about ~64 miles on a standard 60AH battery
  • ~75 mph top speed
  • Three speed maps
  • Reverse function

Expect the new series of Akira bikes to come through sometime this year; Carles tells RideApart that each bike will cost around €24,000 ($26,287 USD), with a required deposit bringing that price up by €5,000 ($5,475 USD). 

What do you think of the Bel & Bel Akira Bike Project?

*Media provided by Akira Fandom, as well as Bel & Bel and my own copy of the AKIRA series*