Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer by Therapy Garage

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

Toby Reed of Therapy Garage grew up riding the 60cc Yamaha JT-1 Mini Enduro that his grandfather bought new for his grandmother in 1971. From there came a dozen more bikes. Then, a few years back, he completed his CB750 build “Candice” on the very same day that he lost his 9-5 job, the company having folded. Toby opened Therapy Garage in his two-car garage and never looked back.

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

Most often, Therapy Garage builds according to their own vision and design, such as this Yamaha XS650 scrambler, “Jolie,” which we previously featured. However, a customer recently arrived with a proposal for a bespoke cafe racer to help promote a startup skateboard and apparel business. Since the bike would be at trade shows, this ended up being Therapy Moto’s first build with a center stand. The result is a sleek and stunning bespoke build dubbed “Freedom.”

Below, we get the full story on the build.

“Freedom” KZ400 Custom: Builder Interview

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

I still have the Yamaha 60cc Mini Enduro that my Grandpa bought for my Grandma new in ’71. I rode it as a kid, but between visits to Grandma’s house the carbs would gunk up. A carb overhaul regularly came shortly after hugs, kisses, and cheek pinches from Gram. It was part of the routine. I fell in love with those early Yamaha 2-strokes and wrenching on them!

Yamaha JT-1 Mini Enduro
Yamaha JT-1 Mini Enduro

I have had a dozen or more over the years. Including other minis, 125cc AT1s, 175cc CT1s, and I recently bought a couple 360cc bikes. A DT and an RT. A few years ago I got a call from a buddy who said he new of a 1976 CB750F Supersport that was headed to the dumpster unless I came with a trailer that day. I rented a uhaul trailer and drove 90 minutes to find a complete basket case. In those days I was working a 9-5 and it took several weeks but my first full build was complete the same day the company I was working for folded. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I had all the time in the world to ride Candice.

I never went back to a 9-5. I started Therapy Garage in my 2 car garage and have turned out a handful of bikes that I have been proud to ride! I’ve since relocated the Therapy Garage to Traverse City, Michigan, and have upgraded the shop and my capacity to turn out killer bikes. Stay tuned!

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

1975 Kawasaki KZ400

KZ400 Cafe Racer

• Why was this bike built?

I was contacted by a guy who had a project motorcycle and had seen our builds on social media and our feature here on BikeBound blog. He had acquired a cafe racer project that was unfinished and off to a rough start. He was looking to turn it into a promotional tool for his son’s startup skateboard/apparel business. On the weekends it will be on display in the tradeshow booth. As a result, we turned out our first bike ever with a center stand.

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

Most often our builds are our vision and design, but when the owner of the bike is involved in the creative process it creates a challenging, but exciting element. The outcome usually ends up being better. This owner was very involved in everything from the pattern of quilting on the seat to the lighting.

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

We stripped it down to a bare frame and built it back up to a beautiful little cafe racer.We went all out with a motogadget gauge and m-unit paired with Motone Custom switches. The cockpit is clean and minimal and so is the LED light front and back.

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

• How would you classify this bike?

The Brits would call it a “bespoke” build. It was built to the customers specs in a cafe racer style. It certainly looks very little like the stock bike and has all new electronics. So I suppose it’s also a restomod.

Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

We did a similar style seat on our Danica build. The customer wanted the same style seat with a foam and upholstered café bump. This one, however, turned out killer. It makes the tail section of the bike look tougher than a 400 should look.


Follow the Builder

Instagram: @therapygarage
photo cred:  @nathancolwell

One Comment

  1. Can you give more info about the electrical work and the underseat box you did? I’m also working on a 440 and like the look of an empty battery compartment.

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