We’ve covered some extreme custom motorcycles over the years. From ultramodern electrics to art deco odes, there’s no shortage of flair in the current custom scene. However, conventional comfort has its merits as well, and MotoRelic demonstrates textbook form with its classic take on a 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000.
The project started when a Colorado customer contacted MotoRelic’s Sean Skinner for a custom Kawasaki inspired by Skinner’s previous KZ build. Armed with the knowledge from his first outing, Skinner set some parameters: the customer supplies the donor bike and they find a 1978 KZ1000 with spoked-wire wheels. Soon, a donor bike arrived from Colorado and Skinner was in business.
Gallery: MotoRelic: 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000
Once the customer also sourced a new Royal Enfield Continental GT gas tank, Skinner refined the shape with a streamlined curvature. He also needed to adjust the tank’s tunnel to fit the KZ frame. Next, Skinner repurposed side panels commonly found on Kawasaki’s old shaft-driven models. Transplanting the side covers required a few tab relocations but it was certainly easier than fabricating custom versions.
From there, MotoRelic shaped the elegant bench seat and sent it to Counterbalance Cycles for a vintage leather and stitch job. A subframe loop at the rear and a mounted round tail light stay within the retro theme. Despite the classic slant, Skinner raised the rear a half-inch with new dual shocks and lowered the forks for an aggressive stance. A replacement front caliper and newly drilled and resurfaced rotors beef up the braking as well.
With the engine and bodywork sorted, Skinner sent the tins to Knights Kustom for a Ford Raptor Red paint job. A MotoGadget mini speedo, Continental tires, and Biltwell grips finish off the build.
“With long distance builds, the only thing I wish I could see is the client’s first reaction,” said Skinner. “Like your kid at Christmas, opening that one special gift.”
If the customer’s first reaction was anything like ours, we’re sure it was a jaw-dropping reveal.