Carbon KX from the Czech Republic!
The Kawasaki KX500 is one of the most infamous dirt weapons ever created. The 500cc 2-stroke motocross bike made 63 horsepower in stock trim and weighed just 220 pounds — lighter than most of today’s 250Fs and more powerful than the 450 four-strokes! The bike was a true widow-maker, with a reputation for neck-snapping power delivery and wild handling. Said Motocross Action Magazine in a recent retrospective:
“Turning the throttle felt like pulling the red handle on an F-18 ejector seat. It was an adrenaline junky’s dream.”
Unfortunately, the AMA axed the 500cc motocross class in 1993, and the bike’s development remained stagnant until its retirement a decade later. However, there seems to be a KX500 renaissance at work. Dirt Bike named it “The One Bike to Ride Before You Die” and other publications have tested it against modern 450s, where it still fares well in certain tests. Says MXA:
“A decade ago, you couldn’t give away a KX500. Now, people are going into the dark corners of their sheds and dusting the cobwebs off their ancient green beasts.”
That’s exactly what Jan Žuži of the Czech Republic did, dragging this 1987 KX500 from the weeds beside his father’s cabin:
“Because this bike was lying almost my whole life in my father’s cabin, my father agreed I could do with it anything I want…so I rescued it and made a fully functioning show bike…”
Jan built his first bike in 2016 for his own pleasure, but his world truly changed when he met the guys from Klasick Wheels, a custom motorcycle shop and coffeehouse in Prague and one of the hotbeds of new wave custom culture in the Czech Republic:
“Since then, my whole life is upside down and everything is about custom bikes…”
Soon Jan had opened his own shop, JZ Handmade, where he works on projects set in steel and wood. For this build, Jan set out to create his own vision of a futuristic dirt bike. Only the engine, frame, swingarm, and rear suspension are original — the rest of the bike is handcrafted. The signature element is the carbon bodywork, which Jan designed and molded himself, developing his skills and trying different methods and technologies throughout the process. The end result is one of the most striking custom motocross bikes we’ve ever seen, aptly nicknamed “Carbolution.”
Below, we get more details on the build from Jan himself, as well as some stunning photos from Czech moto journalist and test rider David M. Bodlák — aka “Mr. Thistle.”
Custom Kawasaki KX500: Builder Interview
• About me:
I am Jan Žuži from Czech Republic, I am 28 and built my first bike, Honda Heretic, in 2016. It was all about my own pleasure until I met the guys from Klasick Wheels…since then, my whole life is upside down and everything is about custom bikes…
• Bike Model:
This bike is based on the legendary 2-stroke dirt bike, Kawasaki KX500, 1987.
• Why was this bike built?
Because this bike was lying almost my whole life in my father’s cabin, my father agreed I could do with it anything I want…so I rescued it and made a fully functioning show bike to demonstrate my skills ?. And of course it was big challenge for me to bring this shit alive ? because of the condition that I found it…
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I decided to make something like a futuristic custom dirt bike, something like my own vision of a future dirt bike.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Only original KX500 parts on it are the engine, frame, swingarm and rear shock absorber. So every other part on bike is custom, handmade, handcrafted by myself, even those carbons…namely, aluminum fuel tank 6L, fully carbon body kit, completely tuned up suspension by TK works (from Suzuki RMZ45 ), front fork DLC nitride coating, highest level components like exhaust, Pro circuit platinum 2, Boyesen factory ignition cover, Talon wheels, Tenthal levers, complete Motomaster brakes, Wiseco piston, Hammerhead shifter, Galfer hoses…etc
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• How would you classify this bike?
As I said, custom dirt bike, futuristic dirt bike, or something like that, it’s difficult.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Of course, the main goal of this build were those carbons, especially my own design of those carbons. It was the second time I was trying some prototyping of carbon, so I was learning to make carbon by several methods and technologies throughout the whole project…and after all, it’s still makes me happy ??