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1978 Kawasaki KZ650

$10,500 OBO
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CONTACT SELLER

Brent King

(614) 530-5273

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1978 Kawasaki KZ650

As seen on Silodrome, https://silodrome.com/custom-kawasaki-kz650-motorcycle/

Also on MSN's RideApart, https://www.rideapart.com (custom-dystopian-kawasaki-kz650)

As well as numerous digital magazines around the world in several different languages....

This motorcycle was designed and built by Brent King at Mifune_werx Custom Motorcycles. You can see more of my work on Instagram @mifune_werx. After showing this bike in the Midwest at several shows, and gently enjoying it, it is time to move on and make room in the shop. This bike made a couple Peoples’ Choice awards over the past couple years, and was featured in Café Racer Magazine as a reader’s ride.

Here’s the build Specs:
Nickname: Beastie
KZ650 (mildly modified) Frame and Engine
KZ900 forks (rebuilt) w progressive springs and duel front discs
GSX1100 rear aluminum swing arm (adds a couple inches to length, and a stronger axle)
Moto Gadget M-Unit
New custom electrics harness
Dyna electronic ignition and coils
Phase 3 stator
Stock alloy rims
Kenda Big Block Tires
High output led off road lights
Suspension (placeholders pending a new owner)
Custom seat pan and leather seat (w/ gel insert)
Custom copper mesh front and side panels
Custom aluminum switch panel
Custom copper work
Custom leather work

Here’s the story:
I originally acquired this pile of assorted parts from a guy down the street which included a couple engines, tires, a frame, and boxes of things that was probably not even for a motorcycle. I hadn’t really decided if I would go café or scrambler/tracker on this one, but I knew I wanted to do something fun and different.

The pile originally had a GS550 tank in it, but was a bit too slender for the look I was leaning towards, so I acquired a beat up KZ tank from a local vendor. This tank had been primer coated white, and was pretty filthy, but the inside looked good. After soda blasting the primer off, the most amazing natural patina began to show itself, and that shaped the entire rest of the build. I decided to lean post-apocalyptic, with a touch of functional steampunk, as the opportunities of this genre are virtually limitless.

The top end was removed to check the cylinders. The pistons, rings, and cylinders were in excellent condition, so a valve job, and cylinder honing was all that was necessary for the engine itself. It currently has 958 miles on it since the bike was built.

The frame was sandblasted, de-tabbed, and prepped. The original squared off geometry of the rear KZ frame was retained and new grab bars were added as a functional nod to what this bike is designed for, off-asphalt/gravel/fire roads.

All the electrics are new, and wired with a Moto Gadget M-Unit, electronic ignition, new coils and wires, and a custom aluminum electrics box under the seat.

With the tank being a dark rich color, I wanted to continue to stress this patina with the use of natural materials in distressed steel, aged copper and leather. As copper began to weave its way into the scheme the front and side panels were designed and fabricated with anodized copper mesh with steel frame, all clear coated to discourage any galvanic reactions. A hand hammered copper tank panel brings leather and a touch of brass to the top of the tank in the vintage compass and traveler’s medallion.

The fenders were a great opportunity to experiment with an origami concept that was used in one of my art installations a while ago. I tried to re-imagine what the fenders would look like with no curved edges, and after a dozen or so mockups, finally came to the right visual aesthetic.

With it being used off-asphalt, light would be needed, and lots of it. High output leds where utilized to provide maximum lumens for minimal volts. While the bar mounted switch panel allows a complete blackout, all lights can be separately turned on and off.

Storage would also be important, 50 cal military cans were used for their visual appearance and water tightness. An auxiliary light was also wired in one of the cans for trail repair or maintenance.
The exhaust for this build demanded functionality, fording a stream with a standard 4 into 1 hanging below just doesn’t get it, so scrambler 4 into 2 stainless steel exhausts were designed and fabricated. An interesting design challenge came out of this; how to rectify high pipes with storage containers located where the exhaust would normally exit. Again, approaching from an origami perspective, rectangular copper mufflers were sketched and mocked up, and after dozens of attempts, a solution presented itself. Quick release levers allow easy trail removal of both mufflers and pipes. An air gap with heat insulation keeps the cans cool despite a hot environment, I wouldn’t keep chocolate bars in there, but everything else is fine, I regularly keep my phone in there. The muffler itself is riveted, so it can be opened and the baffle and packing adjusted should a different exhaust note be desired.

I have a couple videos of her on YouTube on my page: mifune_werx

It was envisioned, designed and fabricated to be “unapologetically raw”…

The bike is currently in Ohio. Contact me with any questions…

 
 
1978 Kawasaki KZ650
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Brent King

(614) 530-5273

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(614)530-5273
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(614) 530-5273

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