A professional photographer who captures the essential qualities conveyed by objects, Ms. Kohide Nakashima examined the CRF250L design with her “unique eyes.”

Kohide Nakashima

Obtained a bachelor’s degree in Photography at Nihon University College of Art and a master’s in Image Arts at Nihon University Graduate School of Art, Ms. Nakashima joined Light Publicity Co., Ltd. in 1997. She is engaged in projects in many fields including still photography for advertising, movies, and magazine photo shoots.

Munehiro Sugimoto

Assistant Chief Engineer, Motorcycle R&D Center, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Since joining Honda R&D in 1985, Sugimoto has taken part in designing various models. He was sent to work in Los Angeles, the home of off-road motorcycles, for five years starting in 2000. He is a designer with no boundary between “On (weekdays)” and “Off (weekends)” who sets off to the mountains with a motorcycle in his transporter when weekend arrives.

Osami Inomata

Modeler, Motorcycle R&D Center, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Joining the company in 2005, Inomata has been a clay modeler for 8 years. He is a man of few words with rugged looks but also with good hands. In private life, he has enjoyed surfing at the shores of Chiba and Ibaraki for over 20 years.

Enter here to see the CRF250L photo gallery by Ms. Nakashima

This was Ms. Nakashima’s first time to shoot photos of a motorcycle. Well, what was her initial impression of the CRF250L?

"It’s a bit like…an insect." "I see! Now that you say so…"

So you say the CRF250L looked like an insect, but which kind?
A grasshopper, perhaps?
A mantis at first. Then, it struck me as a water strider with its long legs. I say what I felt because I am not familiar with motorcycles. The CRF250L’s simple and functional form gave me these impressions of insects. I consider the forms of living creatures, not only those of insects, as the ultimate art. I felt a similar fascination with the CRF250L.
It’s nice to hear you say “functional form.” I have always thought that the design of an off-road model boils down to how to express functions in an appealing way. I’m glad you noticed it. What designers directly deal with is mainly styling resin parts such as shrouds. Those are exoskeletons of insects, as Ms. Nakashima puts it. An off-road bike takes an exoskeleton and fills it out with flesh. In other words, functions reflect straight to form. That is why the styling of the structure itself, as well as its component parts, is important for the design of off-road models.
In trying to think how to depict an image of an insect, I decided to approach the subject as close as I could. When we look at a small bug, we bring it close to our eyes to examine it up and down, right? To apply this perspective, I used a super wide-angle lens for this shot at a distance of about 20 cm. The image was so extremely distorted that it would not be accepted for a catalog. But I thought I could successfully bring out the allure of the CRF250L in my own way.
A designer would instead draw back to see the whole picture for overall balance when deciding on a form. So your photographs were very fresh to me.
Your perspective on capturing images is similar to those of modelers at work.
When I kept clicking the shutter, the CRF250L started to look like something different.
Oh, really? What was it?
A thoroughbred. Because the rear end of the CRF250L evokes a perky and muscular feel. But I guess it’s not nice to always liken the CRF250L to living creatures. (Laughs). Because of its “beautility” design, the CRF250L also resembles a Japanese sword. I felt its leanness as I kept going.
The specific functions of a thoroughbred and Japanese sword are both expressed in their forms. The same is true for off-road motorcycles. The best thing is that the CRF250L makes a first impression on the rider that “I can ride it anywhere!” External design supplements function. If the CRF250L’s overall form evokes an image of something connected to its functions, that’s what we desire.

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