Ton Up Zephyrus 1 The Kawasaki Zephyr of the early 90's was a bike 20 years ahead of its time. Well, technically it was a bike 20 years behind the times, as it was built to evoke the spirit of the Kawasaki superbikes of the 70's. But it was pretty much the first stab by one of the big four manufacturers at going 'retro'. Of course, back then no one was interested in looking back, it was all about upside down forks, lurid paint schemes and the relentless pursuit of speed over everything else. Consequently the Zephyr was never a huge seller. Saying that, if it looked half as cool as this one then it might have been a different story. Ton Up Zephyrus 2 The idea for the Zephyrus was formed on the 2013 Distinguished Gentlemans Ride at Oporto in late September. A customer came to Ton Up Garage's shop and asked them to build a proper café racer, and comfort wasn’t an issue - a bike builder's dream brief. Ton Up Zephyrus 3 The bike is a 1993 Zephyr 750 (they came in 750 & 550 engine guises). The engine remains pretty standard, with just new air filters and some re-jetting work to make sure she runs properly with the new exhaust set up. There's nothing lacking about a Japanese four cylinder 750 from any era, so why mess with it? Ton Up Zephyrus 4 All the work on this build has gone into the aesthetics. The original rear section of the bike has been discarded and built again from scratch. The rear cowl was designed with a shape that compliments the rest of the bike beautifully, and a new leather single seat was built to match (the original Zephyr seat was butt comfy, but butt ugly). The rear section of the sub-frame was teased upwards slightly to tuck a small tail light in, and new side panels were made to cover the electrics and the battery. A teeny, tiny mudguard makes a half-hearted attempt to stop the spray, but looks great, so who cares. Ton Up Zephyrus 5 It goes without saying that the big change over the original Zephyr is to the riding position. The production bike was very much a sit up and beg affair, so in order to get that head down, bum up look, Ton Up removed the footpegs and fitted some clean looking rear sets and LSL clip-ons. LSL also provided the Clubman headlight and supports. At the same time, the front suspension was shortened and firmed up for a sportier ride. The wheels were replaced with a neat black spoke set up, and new wet race tyres were fitted to improve the handling. They also happen to look pretty damn good too. Ton Up Zephyrus 6 The guys went for this simple, understated, stealth-like paint scheme that suits the bike so well, and its actually nice to see a black bike for a change. Apparently she's called Zephyrus as its the name of the Greek god of the west wind, and 'you won’t see it coming when it passes you!' Ton Up Zephyrus 7 Pictures were taken by photographer Joel Bessa, and you can see a short film by thesearefilms.com on Vimeo. Take note Kawasaki, you did a decent job with your last retro, the W650, so why not raid the parts bin and re-launch the Zephyr? But if you do, just make sure you involve the Ton Up boys in the design stage this time. Posted by Ian@TheBikeShed
Share