BUILD 2 - ZEPHYR 1100
The frame was to remain standard but cleaned up and stove enamelled satin black. The engine too would be kept stock but stripped completely to allow for a good blasting and painting, but rebuilt with new rings, bearings, seals and anything else that appeared worn. My local engine guru, Paul Curtis did the motor rebuild, and a fine job he did too. He builds and renovates Laverda's, Guzzi's etc and has built a mighty fine reputation in that department. His builds are nothing short of perfection, so he will do all my future engine work. Mick at SOLO Paint did the finish on the cases. Blasted first then etch primed with zinc chromate followed by top coat. He is consistantly flawless and eager to please.
Build 2 started life as an Ebay find, a reasonably priced 23,ooo mile, 92 model in
"old man's burgundy". I'm fairly sure that Kawasaki didn't list it as such, more likely
"candy something-or-other". On initial inspection it was in a good state and rode
well, it's first real test was around the Isle of Man during the Manx GP, and to be
honest, it was a bit sluggish and quite a bit wallowy. All normal traits though for the
old, heavy, 90's retro bus. That was in September 2011, and in the following
November the strip down began. You can see from the compilation, the state you
reveal when you gut what looks to be a cleanish bike, the muck and corrosion really
stands out when the polished paintwork is removed. The next step was to decide which road to go down with this build, the renovation to standard, what I call the purist but boring route, or the full works, the harder of the 2 options. I was persuaded to take the harder of the 2 after researching just what could be done to the Zeph, and after seeing what Sanctuary in Japan do to them this was the only way forward.
The front end was alway going to be Triumph 955i. These bikes in my opinion, look a little odd with USD forks, and the 955i legs are real chunky affairs that give the bike a more substantial look. These were sourced and the stanchions lengthened to meet the raised look I was after, then given a black nitrided finish. The lower Triumph clamp was fitted with the Zeph stem and they are then held together at the top by a LSL 955i top yolk. The rear was a little more difficult, replacing that stock swingarm with a more substantial item, required mucho machining by Billy Kaiser but he worked his usual miracles. This CB1300 swingarm is suspended by 2 custom made Hyperpro shocks, made to my requirements and considerably longer than stock, this gives me my increased ride height but the same geometry as standard (ish) with only a 10mm drop at the front for the sharper steering. Wheels are from an Aprilia as the spindle sizes match the front and rear Triumph/Honda. Stopping is
down to the 955i calipers, (reworked), and a set of Armstrong waveys, add to that a Brembo radial master from a 1098 Ducati and you get tremendous feel. The clutch master is also a Brembo radial but a 19mm job.
The pipework was key to getting the look bang on, so much time was spent on the computer designing the flow which was then executed in brushed stainless by Richie at Competition Fabrications, another bloody genious. Add to the end a Dan Moto can from China, held in place by a custom bracket and the look was achieved, as too was the sound. Getting it to run right with standard carbs without the airbox but with a cracking set of specially made stacks from the states, was always going to be tricky, but as with anything, there is always an expert at hand. BSD Performance in Peterborough did it in 4 dyno runs and now it just sings. Be gentle below 3000rpm and nail it after.
The seat profile was modified and the bodywork fettled to accept a custom paint job by Ty at Pageant Paint and it was done. Ok, there was a lot more to it than just that, like the rewiring, bracket making etc, but here she was, all ready for a damn good shakedown.
The VMCC Festival of 1000 Bikes at Mallory Park was the venue and she was pretty much flawless on the 2 runs in the sun. The ride height was raised 10mm for pipe clearance after the first and a minor oil leak at the oil cooler sorted and that was it. She is now pumping out 96bhp at the back wheel as opposed to the 95 at the crank when it was new. That equates to around +20bhp with free breathing carbs and pipework. She draws a crowd wherever she goes now and looks that good I an sit for hours just looking at her in the Rocket Custom Garage.
Signed by Jamie Whitham and Neil Hodgson who both loved it
- ROCKET CUSTOM GARAGE -