Without wishing to cause offense, it’s fair to say that Belgium does not have the most illustrious recent history of motorcycle manufacturers. Other than some innovation through pre-war Minerva engines and FN racing efforts, certain mid-century events put the kibosh on post-war efforts. So it’s great to see that enthusiasm isn’t dampened for building bikes in the Battleground of Europe. Brice and Oli of Kruz Co. are working hard to show their Belgian mettle/metal. Nearly a year after we first featured Kruz Co’s XS400, their latest build is a real bruiser. The Hinckley heavyweights of the early 90’s were ungainly animals; top heavy, but admirably over engineered. However, with exemplary build quality and the opportunity for some serious weight shedding, they make an interesting if challenging platform to build upon. With Daytona prices at the bottom of the curve, this example was picked up by Kruz for a mere 450 EUR, the guys were surprised to find a 4th cylinder hidden beneath the bodywork when they got it back to the shop. A free extra 250cc? Yes please... A Kawasaki KZ650 tank was opened out and squeezed over the substantial spine frame, while the sub-frame of the bike was reworked to level the seating platform. A matching KZ seat transforms the back end of the bike. Muted blue-grey paint was spread liberally over the bike and is now something of a Kruz signature, letting the machine do the talking more than it’s makeup. Brushed aluminium side panels tucked under the seat hide the copious electrical bits and bobs as well as the problematic water tank. The modularity of the early Hinckley Triumphs proved very useful, allowing the Kruz guys to slot in a set of Dutch-eBay sourced Thunderbird Sport spoked wheels with just minor modifications. After powdercoating and fitting modern sticky rubber they work perfectly to bridge the classic/modern look the guys were going for. To keep costs down, the guys modified items like the rearsets, controls and swingarm to liven up the heavy duty originals. If you’re sat wondering why that Cyclops headlight nose cone looks familiar, it’s actually a Honda Monkey bike tank. On such a monolithic bike, it adds weight to the front for visual balance, yet doesn’t look out on place. The projector light peers curiously out of what was the petrol filler. Along with the grey daub and fabricated fork shrouds there’s an armoured, almost classic military look to the front end. Kruz’s brief for the build, was classic speed machine meets modern war bird; brief met! The 1000cc Daytona engine was given a thorough cleaning, cases left au natural and covers powdered black break up the large lump and bring out the best in the 90’s design. Triumph’s black coated stainless headers were decent kit in the day and a pair of reverse cone mufflers complement the system with a more classic look. Matched to pod filters and jetted for smoothness, the grumbly 4 cylinders can now roar freely. The bike went down a storm at the Bike Shed Event III back in May, these early Hinckley bikes aren’t yet a common sight in our little world. With inspiration from Kruz, will this change in the near future? A cheap donor for sure, but Kruz has shown with some careful thought the old girl can shake off her plastic frock and bare all with the best of them. If you like what you see, check out the Kruz Co. website and Facebook Page
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