Café Racer New Style rebuilds a middleweight KZ…
Introduced in 1974, the Kawasaki KZ400 was designed as a “bigger and better CB350” (Cycle Guide, 1979). While the KZ didn’t have the smoky sex appeal of the middleweight two-strokes, the sophistication of the midsize Honda Fours, or the brute force of the mighty Z1, it earned a reputation as economical, reliable, and fun for the daily rider:
“Kawasaki ran a lot of entertaining ads focused on the commuter, one saying, ‘More fun than any car I ever drove.'” —Rider
Today, such solid all-rounders make great donors for custom transformations. This one is the work of Cafe Racer New Style, based in Albacete, Spain. It was built for a client whose intentions were clear:
“He was looking for something in a classic style that was not large displacement, for daily driving.”
The CRNS team decided combine a retro, chrome-laden style with some modern amenities, mixing in red accents. The result is a striking middleweight café racer that can knife through tight city streets and turn heads on every corner, transforming the owner’s daily commute into a special occasion — each and every time. The nickname “Waterloo 77” comes from the owner’s town and the year of the model.
Below, we talk to the builders for more details. Many thanks to Xavi Dynamische for the photos.
Kawasaki KZ400 Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My passion for motorcycles comes from a young age thanks to my father who was a fan of them. Over time I started doing personal projects until I decided to take the leap and create my CAFE RACER NEW STYLE brand. Our workshop is dedicated to motorcycle transformations to different styles — our specialty is the café racer.
We started out doing work for later sale, but today, 80% of our workload is custom projects for clients.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
In this project we have based ourselves on a Kawasaki KZ400 from the year 77 ‘, American model.
• Why was this bike built?
This work was done for a client; he was looking for something in a classic style that was not large displacement, for daily driving.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
In this specific design, we wanted to maintain the retro character of its original design, so we decided to give it an aged-air paint and put a lot of emphasis on its chrome components. We made up a single-seater cafe racer seat and improved performance with conical filters and megaphone-style exhausts.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Reconstruction of the chassis to make it a single-seater. Chromed 80% of its parts, lowered the front suspension, and mounted YSS rear suspension.
We mounted a set of Brembo levers to improve braking and clutch safety, and made a custom side support with 3-in-1 rear lights.
The motorcycle is fully homologated.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Riding the bike is pleasant and fun, especially since we’ve combined retro aesthetics with modern safety and mechanics.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Well, we are very happy with the final work; it is a very nice cafe racer finish.
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