When the KZ1000 first rolled off the factory floor in 1976, it was the fastest production bike with a 1015cc inline four motor that produced a very respectable 83 horses. In recent years, these KZ’s have been in high demand and have been fetching some high prices. So when Steve Meyer from Maui, Hawaii inherited his late uncle’s 1979 KZ1000 he wanted to bring it back to its former glory but with a custom twist. He had seen the work of Sean Skinner from Motorelic and decided to give him a call out of the blue. “My first thought was ‘How in the heck did you find me?’ – and then I wondered how he was going to get the bike to Virginia,” recalls Sean. “Well, it turned out Steve was originally from Baltimore MD and the bike was there.” Once the bike finally arrived at the Motorelic HQ, they began the design process together and nailed down the final look. “We settled on a classy brat style theme that would be comfortable enough to do a cross country trip to San Diego on so he could ship the bike back home to Hawaii!”
Compromise can be a word you just have to deal with in the custom motorcycle scene, functionality often sacrificed in the name of form or go preferenced ahead of show. Until the ’70s many applied the same logic to the very ownership of a motorcycle in that you could have fast or reliable but you couldn’t have both. That all changed with the arrival of the Kawasaki Z sportsbike, the fastest thing on two wheels and you just couldn’t break ‘em! So when Classified Moto’s main man John Ryland picked out a bike to turn into a custom creation that also had to be capable of taking him on a thousand mile journey he hit the proverbial nail on the head with a 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000. That it also features the unmistakable styling and build quality of all the brilliant Classified Moto bikes is testament to the talent of the Richmond, Virginia team.
Albert “The Chief” Hurt comes from a long line of automobile mechanics. His grandfather, father and all his uncles worked as mechanics in the family shop. At the age of 12, Albert earnt his pocket money by sweeping the shop floor. “After I had worked there six months I was able to scrape up enough money for my first street bike, a 1972 Yamaha DT1 250,” he says. There have been many bikes since then, but it took a marriage breaking down and being diagnosed with stage 3 cancer to really motivate Albert to build his dream bike. “I have found a passion that I always had,” he says. After surviving his battle with cancer, Albert decided to build the ‘ultimate cafe racer.’ So he got to work and managed to find the perfect donor bike, a beat up old KZ1000 in El Paso, Texas. After 7 months of wrenching, including many nights in his garage during winter he has finally finished. We’re pleased to introduce you to Silver Bullit Cafe’s KZ1000.
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After yesterday’s ‘Mad Kwak’ article I thought it was appropriate to feature this monoshock Kawasaki green KZ1000 café racer which was recently a finalist on Do the Ton for ‘Bike of the Month’. Built by ‘backyard builder’ Andrew Lakowicz who told us “the bike was actually given to me by a relative, it had about 60,000 miles on it and was in a very rough shape”. Andrew did everything on this bike himself, including all the welding which he learned during the process. He is far from finished though, and already has a list of changes for his bespoke creation. “I actually just finished taking the swingarm off, as I am going to redo it. I am not too happy with the way it looks. My first stab at it was really an exercise in design and function, now I want to make it look more aesthetically pleasing”. The bike is well documented in it’s many stages, with numerous build threads (one, two, three, four, five, and six) on Do The Ton, showing how Andrew transformed this vintage bike into a beautiful monoshock café racer.
We love the story behind this killer Icon KZ1000. Back in 1979 this humble bike started life as a police bike in Portland – but now 30 years later it’s on the other side of the law, ready to cause some trouble. The build started by removing the stock swingarm and replacing it with the swingarm and rear wheel from a ’92 GSX-R750. The KZ1000 frame was modified to accept a SV monoshock – not quite sure about the Redbull can shock cover but we have been told it’s already been removed. The engine was given a 1075cc Wiseco big bore kit and the front end is off the same Suzuki SV1000. Considering the bike is a motorcycle mash-up we can’t believe how stunning it turned out. It not only looks great but we bet it would be a whole lot of fun to ride this monster. To read a very humorous story about this KZ, visit the Icon Blog. [Spotted on HFL]
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