A Steve McQueen tribute inspired by vintage motocross…
The Kawasaki W800 has become something of a modern classic. An evolution of the W650 retro standard, the W800 offered an air-cooled, 48-hp parallel twin with that distinctive bevel-gear shaft on the right side of the engine — a lovely signature. While production ended in 2016, the W800 is finding new life in the hands of custom builders.
Enter Luo Hao of China, who opened Mandrill Garage and Mandrill Cafe in 2012 — a place for friends to get together, tinker, and talk about motorcycles. Earlier this year, we featured Luo’s his Shineray 440 scrambler — our first custom bike from China. Now he’s back with this stunning Kawasaki W800 scrambler that’s inspired by vintage motocross, paying tribute to none other than Steve McQueen.
Below, we get the full story on the build.
Kawasaki W800 Steve McQueen Tribute: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My work shop has been open since 2012, owned by me and some friends. I am a graphic designer by trade, and I like to build and ride motorcycles. So I opened Mandrill Garage and Mandrill Cafe, so friends can get together, party, and talk about everything motorcycle.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The design concept is vintage MX, paying tribute to Steve McQueen. The number is same as that of Steve McQueen’s race bike.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Aluminum fuel tank, aluminum front and rear fender, aluminum side cover.
Seat, racing number plate, head light, small instruments, 21″ front wheel and 18″ rear wheel with enduro tires. Gears racing rear shock. exhaust. etc.
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I think the proportions are very important for any custom bike. And I like all the polished aluminum parts. Paint on polished aluminum has a very vintage racing feel.
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