Hand built in Colombia by a pair of craftsman who were on a tight deadline to make a big show in the USA, this 1974 Kawasaki KZ400 is anything but rushed and far from factory. Esteban Pasquale and Gustavo Pasquale are the co-owners of Garaje 57 based in Bogotá that specialises in hand-built motorcycles with no discrimination between vintage Vespa’s all the way through to Modern Ducati sports bikes. But give them a 70s Kawasaki and… well, just take a look for yourself.
Barn finds are good and well, providing you actually have barns where you live. But as long as you have old geezers who love to horde, you’re going to find old bikes hidden away. Here in Australia we usually find them in sheds or garages. And clearly barns are the preferred storage method for the forgetful oldies in the US. But what about Germany? Apparently carpenter’s shops are all the rage over there. And if Jochen Guske and his find are anything to go by, the common inhabitants of the average Deutsche woodworkhaus are none other than the ‘Kawikus Kaffeus’ – also known as the Green-Breasted Kawasaki KZ400.
Some of us dream of throwing in the towel on our day jobs to do what we truly love. Whether it’s building custom bikes, opening a café or just taking more time to focus on your family, it’s a fantasy that’s as common as slap bass in Seinfeld. But as with most things inline, there’s another option to consider. What if, instead of leaving one job for another, you just combined your passions and did both? Sounds impossible, right? Well don’t tell that to North Carolina’s Tattoo Projects, who are currently a successful advertising agency and a custom bike shop. It might seem crazy, but when you consider that they count Victory Motorcycles amongst their clients, you can kind of see the logic of it all. And what have they been up to when they weren’t standing around with whiskey and cigarettes Don Draper-ing? This is what.
Having two daughters of my own, I’m a sucker for a good father and daughter story – especially when it involves building a beautiful motorcycle. Sadie Glemza from Ohio has been brought up on the sweet smell of gasoline. She was four years old the first time her dad let her ride a motorbike. As she got older, Sadie started racing Junior Dragster, running 8.00’s in the 1/8 th mile. So when she came across a beat up old KZ400 for $400 she thought it would be a great project to do with her dad – who knows his way around a wrench set. “My dad has always been my go to person for anything about a car or motorcycle and it was only fitting we worked together on creating this gorgeous build” says Sadie. So with limited funds they got to work on the bike she calls ‘Elsa’.
Written by Ian Lee.
Motorcyclists sure are a social bunch. Which is weird seeing as the act of riding is a solitary pursuit in itself. However, many a strong friendship has been forged over a rusted bolt or faulty starter motor. And some can lead to greater things. It is thanks to this social aspect that we have today’s feature bike, Vast Moto’s 1975 Kawasaki KZ400. Created in a small Portland workshop, the bike is built on the concept of motorcycles built for the people, by the people. Being the first build completed by a bunch of roustabouts who banded together for a common cause, this little Kwaka is proof of what can happen when you fall in with the right crowd.
Although we’re about as religious as Karl Marx around this here blog, we thought that for Easter we’d like to show you bike from a country that would understand the irony of celebrating the religious holiday about resurrection with a rebirth of a slight different kind. Here’s the latest build from Barcelona’s Free Kustom Cycles, a bunch of guys who obviously know a trick or two about bringing things back to life. It’s it a miracle? Probably not, but by gosh it sure is pretty.
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Ok, let’s not beat around the bush. There’s an elephant in this custom bike room and we’ll need to get it out in open right now. I haven’t got the slightest idea what a “bolo shit” is. I’ve Googled. I’ve Bing’d, why I even tried an Alta Vista search by travelling back in time. Nada. Now according to the always amusing urbandictionary.com, a “bolo” is a itself a term for pooping, so that would make it’s name “shit shit” which, while quite funny, doesn’t make any sense at all. Then I saw the gun on the tank. Bingo. Another Google search of “bolo gun” tells me that bolo is a nickname for the Mauser C96, better known as “the gun that the Nazis always have in war films.” Except that the gun on the tank looks nothing like C96. So where does that leave us? I’d suggest we just all don these here special glasses that make white elephants invisible to the human eye and click that “read more” link below.
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“The customer is always right.” We’ve all heard the saying. It’s based on the thought that if a company really wants to get ahead, they need to listen closely to what their customers want. Most of the time you dredge it up when your stuck in a tricky situation dealing with an airline hostess or rental car attendant. You know the feeling; you just want that second damn bag of tiny little peanuts and it just so happens that no, you don’t care so much about the one-small-bag-of-nutty-snacks-per-passenger-rule thank you very much. So when a good customer of Maindrive Cycles in Texas asked them to build a street tracker using a Japanese bike, they needed a little convincing before they started. You see, Cory Hebert from Maindrive specialises in good ol’ American bikes, and had never built a Japanese bike before.
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This is a bike that doesn’t get much airplay anymore. Apart from the legendary KZ400.com (appropriate name). Originally run by Odd Ivar Bekkelund, who was obsessed with the KZ400. Unfortunatley he passed away last year (2008) and his son has left all his Dads posts and hard work up in memory of his Dad. The “original” Kawasaki KZ400 was a 398cc twin cylinder produced from 1974-1984. These motorcycles were marketed as fuel efficient transportation back in the 70’s. So you could say they were like the Prius of the bike world. It doesn’t make a bad Cafe racer either.
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