Kawasaki GT550 – Auto Fabrica
Less is more. It’s a phrase that’s tossed around with more reckless abandon than an SUV being driven by a texting teenager. Most builders think that stripping the indicators and mirrors off of their latest project bike gives them a ‘clean and minimal’ look. But we’re here to tell you that as far as minimal goes, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Want to see the other 90% beneath the surface? Look no further than the inaugural build from London’s Auto Fabrica – their ‘Type One’.
Here’s Bujar – one half of Auto Fabrica’s dynamic duo. “We started in January 2013. The company consists of myself and my brother Gaz. Both are professional designers; Gaz is involved in Product Design and I have graduated last year from Automotive Design. Our builds go through a lot of design process and changes and get developed throughout. We manufacture our own parts in house and all of our work is done in 2mm aluminum and hand beaten and formed in house by us. We also offer aqua blasting service in house and almost all of our parts are taking through this process to give that unpainted, original OEM finish.”
“It started life as a ugly duckling Kawasaki GT550. The reason we chose this bike is because we haven’t seen a GT550 get any decent treatment in the past and the fact that it’s a shaft driven 4 cylinder I thought was pretty cool – it had that concept bike feel. We stripped the bike completely, trimmed and cut the frame, cut tank mounting points below the top tubes so we could get the seat right up close to the tank.”
“The tank was modified to get a flush and smooth finish and also to raise it 25mm from the rear to get a much better stance. We used Hagon rear shocks which were 30mm above standard, we also dropped the forks an inch which gave us the desired stance, matching the original sketches and renders.”
The seat was made in house. The intention was to keep it as clean as possible and also have a solid unit – you can actually lift the bike from the rear seat. The rear light is integrated in the back to give it that cool 80’s look. The foam and leather unit is a 3 piece which bolts onto the seat and can be removed easily. Again this was to get a very high quality look and feel to the bike.”
“A professional automotive colour and trim designer helped with the paint selection and the leather used”
“The speedo is a refurbed Honda unit. I redesigned the face and also exposed the brass needle which picks up on a few other subtle brass touches on the bike. A professional automotive colour and trim designer helped with the paint selection and the leather used.
In terms of the overall look and feel of the bike we are very happy – considering this is our first build we learned a lot. As a general approach to customizing bikes, I think we focus a lot on subtle details that only become apparent once you spend a bit more time around them.”