Zed’s Not Dead…a two-stroke, nitrous-injected supermotard!
About five years ago, Brian Gingerich and his partner started a small shop to work on their “collection” of 75+ vintage barn finds. When they discovered how much people liked hanging the shop, they decided to create a gathering place around the shop. In the summer of 2016, Spoken Moto opened its doors to the public — a working moto shop, coffeehouse, taproom, and music venue all under one roof in Bend, Oregon. Sounds like our kind of place! Brian says the clientele is incredibly diverse…
“It is pretty fun to fire off a bike with a group of soccer moms cheering…”
The team tries to build two shop customs per year. The concept for “Zed” — the incredible two-stroke supermotard you see here — was born when Brian saw an RD350 motor sitting on the shop floor next to a stripped, mid-2000’s Yamaha YZ motocross chassis. When we saw the bike at The One Moto Show last weekend, we simply had to feature it.
Below, we get the full story on Zed — a bike that races our black, two-smoke hearts.
“Zed” Yamaha YZ/RD350 Supermotard: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are just two guys that love bikes of all kinds and decided to create a gathering place around custom moto builds and vintage restorations. I am in my early 50s and have always tinkered with bikes, cars and aircraft. I have a soft spot for little bikes, especially two strokes. My partner owns a commercial construction company but grew up racing dirt bikes. We’ve known one another for 25 years or so.
Between the two of us we acquired a “collection” of about 75 vintage project bikes. Most are 1960s and 70s Japanese bikes, and most are barn finds. About 5 years ago, we started a small shop and when time allowed we built or restored a bike out of our inventory. We saw that people really liked hanging around the shop and decided to create a gathering place around a working moto shop. At the time, we thought we were brilliant and the first to think of such a thing. As we know, it turns out the concept is not new. That said, there was no place like Spoken in our community. So, in 2015, we leased an abandoned industrial building and over the next year built the space into a working moto shop, a coffee house, a tap room and a music venue. Spoken Moto opened to the public in July of 2016.
We have restored or built about two dozen bikes; everything from Honda 90’s to RDs, RZs, VFRs, CBs, KZs etc… We try to do as much in-house as we are able. Typically, we only outsource really tricky fab work and paint.
There are three of us working in the moto shop and about a dozen in the coffee shop/pub. The moto shop and the pub are integral to one another. The shop is open and accessible to the pub customers. Our clientele is incredibly diverse. It is pretty fun to fire off a bike with a group of soccer moms cheering.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Zed is a late model (2000s) Yamaha YZ mated with a ’74 Yamaha RD350.
• Why was this bike built?
Each year we try to build two shop customs for personal use, show or resale. This year, we had already committed to building a BMW K75 into an urban scrambler/adventure bike but there was an RD motor sitting on the floor next to a stripped YZ frame. They caught my eye and I thought that it would be pretty rad to put them together.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
To me, coupling an RD motor with a YZ chassis could only mean supermoto. The finished bike is really a testament to the vision and skill of all of the talented folks I have the privilege of working with. Once we modified the frame to accommodate the RD motor, we really wanted to run the chambers up high and tight to the cylinders. That required running a single carb — banshee style. My tuner gave me crap about sacrificing top end so I thought a shot of nitrous would keep him quiet.
We wanted the overall aesthetic to be recognizable as a YZ but to have the RD motor be the focal point. We also wanted a “rough” and industrial look without being gimmicky. Once I understood how the body components would look, I committed to all black with gold accents. Thus, the “DG” gold cylinder heads (sourced from our friends at HVC Cycle) and the black and gold supermoto setup from Warp 9 Racing.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The YZ frame is heavily modified to accommodate the RD motor and all the NOS gadgetry. The fuel/oil tank, fender and side panels are hand made out of aluminum. The triple is a one-off designed to house the Motogadget instrument and nitrous arming switch. We built the harness centered on the Motogadget M-Unit, turn signals, custom LED headlight and, of course the nitrous system which we designed. The chambers are actually FMF Fatty Banshee pipes that we cut into pieces and rebuilt to fit. The seat was built for us by New Church Moto.
• How would you classify this bike?
Supermoto (or urban assault weapon).
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Being open to the input and vision of others. Zed is truly a collaborative build. It feels really good to see other peoples’ influences all manifested and working so well together. So…huge props to our fabricator, Rick Vecquery at 369 Fabrication and his crew and Ginger McCabe at New Church Moto for building consistently badass seats.
Follow Spoken Moto
- Web: www.spokenmoto.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spokenmoto/
- Instagram: @spokenmoto
- Photos: Troy White (@flockaburrrd)