Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod by Nova Motorcycles

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

Few motorcycles have the long and varied history of the Kawasaki KZ1000. Known as the Z1000 outside North America, the big air-cooled inline four debuted in 1977, and the police model would remain in continuous production until 2005. During the bike’s heyday, legends like Pops Yoshimura, Freddie Spencer, and others fielded winning KZ1000s in AMA Superbike and other championships. What’s more, the KZ1000 made its away onto TV and movie screens across the globe. Jon and Ponch from the original CHiPs TV show rode KZ1000 police models, while fourteen of the bikes in the original Mad Max (1979) were KZ1000s donated by an Australian Kawasaki dealer.

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

Enter the team of Nova Motorcycles, founded in 2013 by Sayre Anthony and Pete Chilton. Sayre, whose mother was a European car mechanic, cut his teeth at Brooklyn-based vintage Grand Prix motorcycle racing team Team Obsolete. Pete, meanwhile, grew up in a family of builders and woodworkers and spent thirteen years in the music industry, where he toured and played with hardcore punk legend Bane before leaving the industry to pursue a career in design.

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

The 1980 KZ1000 you see here came into the shop with worn shift forks. When the decision was made for a rebuild, the client upped the ante with a request to retrofit a swinger from a 2004 ZX-6R. The retrofits and upgrades continued from there, and soon the crew had this full-fledged custom KZ1000 on their hands.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

Below, we get the full story on the build.

Kawasaki KZ1000 Custom: In the Builder’s Words

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

(Words by Peter Chilton.)

We would like to submit our 1980 KZ1000. A complete revamp of a very rough running bike that rolled into the shop making “funny noises” from the transmission. A commissioned build for our client John P. that expanded from a repair job into a full custom build.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

That funny noise turned out to be worn shift forks so the decision was made to rebuild everything. Wiseco high compression thin ring pistons were added to boost the power from stock.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

The client had done some research online and found that a 2004 ZX6 swing arm can be retrofitted into the stock KZ1000 frame. We designed the mono-shock frame trellis and added stiffness overall to the subframe to counteract larger and stickier tires.

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

We converted the front end to a 2005 ZX636R unit for improved handling and braking power. It rides on a set of Shinko Advance 005 tires.

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

A Vance& Hines 4-into-1 pipe is hung from a custom hidden bracket.

Kawasaki KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

The rear sets are Tarozzi that have been selectively powder coated in a copper color and anodized flat black.

 The rear sets are Tarozzi that have been selectively powder coated in a copper color and anodized flat black.

The stock tank was replaced with a more race-inspired Yamaha XS850 tank. Pinstriped by Ken Jacobs and accented by the powder coated gas cap.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

The pinstriping on the rear cowl and front fender mimic the styling of the finned taillight.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

All the electronics were redone to incorporate the new Motogadget M-unit Blue with matching mini gauge and switches. A custom-made triple clamp houses the gauges.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

The headlight is an aftermarket LED DOT approved lamp and is hung from Nova designed and made headlight ears.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

The taillight was custom built to tuck neatly under the custom kevlar-reinforced seat cowl.

The taillight was custom built to tuck neatly under the custom kevlar-reinforced seat cowl.

The seat cowl was designed by Nova and built by fiberglass and carbon-fiber expert Matt Tanner at Tannermatic. The leather upholstery was hand-dyed and sewn by Wes Boege at Counterbalance Cycles.

KZ1000 Restomod Cafe Racer

Follow the Builder

Web: www.novamotorcycles.com
Facebook: @novamotorcycles
Instagram: @novamotorcycles

One Comment

  1. Paul Koulouris

    Nova is a first class operation. They are restoring my 1970 Triumph Trophy 250. We are working as a team making decisions on what to upgrade, while keeping the bike authentic to its heritage. Their attention to detail is extraordinary and I have every confidence in their work. These are good people, talented and they love their work.

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