By Anthony van Someren - 24 Jan 14
The Kawasaki Kz650 has been a donor bike of choice for custom builders for decades, and like its twin cylinder cousin, the z750, it's easy to see why, as the tank shape and chassis parts are all there to be revealed and enjoyed. These days they are often restored to their original condition as a classic, and in recent years many have been rebuilt into retro streetfighters, graced with Yoshi pipes aftermarket oil coolers with braided hoses and braced swingarms. There's plenty of Streetfighter influence present in this build from Jordan and a couple of friends, Andrew Cornelissen and Lee Kinney, in a custom bike they created as part of the sponsored 'Greasy Dozen' build last year. The Greasy Dozen build is a grass-roots sponsorship programme where 12 builds are selected and given additional support. The brief was to build a bike with a retro vibe but with decent performance and practical enough to ride every day. It was also a collaboration between guys who normally work individually, completed during evenings and weekends, but they enjoyed the process so much they hope to be able to make custom building a primary focus in the future. We hope so too. The donor bike is a 1979 Kz650SR. The forks have been swapped-out for a set of 43mm cartridge items from a ZX7 with twin gas shocks at the rear, supported by 17 inch spoked wheels with the front brakes powered by 320mm Brembo discs and calipers from a Ducati Sport Classic GT1000. Pod style filters are a must have on a build like this... The headlamp comes from a Suzuki SV650. The rear seat cowl is from a GPz750 with the seat upholstery in oxblood leather by Ginger at New Church Moto, and the metalflake gold paint with an unusual mix of retro swooshes and pinstripes on the tank and tail was sorted by Bridge City Cycles. The four into one pipes are hand made in pie-cut stainless steel mated to a Mega 'Quiet Core' reverse cone end can. The sweeping steel double-tube swing arm is also hand made using aluminium concentric chain adjusters. The clip-on mounts are blended-in flush to the top triple clamp, adding to the refinement that is seen across the whole build. No speedo required, but mini bullet indicators tell other road users where she's heading next. It's a little different from the usual crop of raw-metal, industrial builds we feature on The Bike Shed, but it's nice to see a bit of gold flake, after-market bling and streetfighter performance parts in a custom cafe/fighter hybrid. We'd love to see more bikes just like it, so; perhaps Jordan, Andrew & Lee from Portland, Oregon, can build a few more along similar lines? Thanks to Jordan and the guys for sharing his pride and joy with us here at the Bike Shed. There's a build thread you can follow at DoTheTon and here's a link to the Greasy Dozen. Thanks to Celerity Photography for the vibrant pics - find them on Facebook and their Website.