Two-Stroke Ninja from Batakastem Workshop…
While two-stroke streetbikes have been phased out of the North American market since the 1980s, you might be surprised to learn that modern, small-displacement smokers have remained available from major manufacturers right up until the current day — in certain markets, at least.
In Indonesia, for instance, there’s the Kawasaki Ninja 150R — a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled two-stroke with 30 bhp, a six-speed transmission, and a dry weight of 275 lbs. The highly modified 2014 model you see here comes from our new friend Abraham Simatupang of Batakastem Workshop:
“Batakastem started in 2016 when my friend and I were taking a full stop from circuit racing. We have a common interest in classic motorcycles. At that time, I had a dream to create a concept from a donor bike to become something new with no skills in designs nor metal-shaping, etc. So, we started to save some money to get some tools and learn the culture from zero.”
Fast forward eight years, and Batakastem has turned out a long series of well-executed builds. Most of their projects are based on four-stroke donors, but Abraham has been a fan of two-strokes since he was a boy:
“The smell of the smoke reminds me of my childhood when my father just started his bike before dropping me off to school.”
Usually, a customer has to wait 2-4 months for a commissioned build to be built, but Abraham and the Batakastem crew had the idea to build a series of “Smoky Sprinters” on spec. This is the first “001” model, built as a lightweight, reliable daily commuter with a street tracker touch.
All of the bodywork is hand-shaped out of sheetmetal. The OEM cast wheels were swapped out for a set of more classic, tracker-inspired spoke wheels. The entire ergonomics were transformed for more an upright riding posture — better for the busy streets of Jakarta — and the lighting, controls, saddle, fenders, and most everything else from the standard bike has been replaced or modified.
Abraham says he and his crew are proudest of the vision and execution of the design.
“The challenge was how to make this build completely different from the original while keeping it compact and easy to maintain…”
The result is a 150cc smoker that’s perfect for dicing city traffic on the busy streets of Jakarta. Below, we talk to Abraham for more details on the build.
Kawasaki Ninja 150 Street Tracker: Builder Interview
● Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Hi, My name is Abraham Simatupang and I’m the owner of Batakastem Workshop. Batakastem started in 2016 when my friend and I were taking a full stop from circuit racing while we have a common interest with classic motorcycles. At that time, I had a dream to create a concept from a donor bike to become something new with no skills in designs nor metal-shaping, etc. So, we started to save some money to get some tools and learn the culture from zero.
● What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Kawasaki Ninja R 150, 2014.
● Why was this bike built?
I’ve been a huge fan of two-stroke motorcycles since I was a kid. The smell of the smoke reminds me of my childhood when my father just started his bike before dropping me off to school.
Our daily other projects from customers are regularly from four-stroke and modern engines. And this time we wanted to have a project where customers could buy the build without having 2-4 months to wait. So, we developed the SMOKY SPRINTER and this bike is the 001.
● What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The concept is simple, lightweight, and can run fast if you have to. Actually, the idea had to be different from others. In Indonesia, two-stroke engines are not a favorite donor bike to build; mostly they are being restored like new (OEM) or just modified with plug and play parts/aftermarket.
So, we thought, why not? Street Tracker was the genre to match the idea because the purpose of the build is to be a daily driver for the owner in crowded Jakarta. The wheelset was influenced by the scrambler vibe, so that you could use this bike for dual purpose if you want to.
● What custom work was done to the bike?
Basically, the engine, chassis, and swingarm, suspension (front and rear), instrument (speedometer, switch, etc).
We built the bodywork from metal, changed the wheels and rims from cast wheels to spoke wheels, and set it up with a dual purpose stance.
We rebuilt the seat / foot controls / handlebar to transition from the sport riding posture to more of a tracker posture, and replaced the headlamp / brake lights / blinkers with the smaller, modern-ish models.
● Does the bike have a nickname?
● Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
Two-stroke, 150cc engine with 6-speed transmission: 29-30 HP, 21 Nm (max. torque), 125 kg.
● Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
If you have a custom bike, especially in the crowded streets of Jakarta, you might prefer to ride the bike just normal and chill, letting other people enjoy the build as it passes by. But this bike was built for more than just that. If you have a busy schedule to move you around the city, this bike would do it properly. The feeling is like sport performance with street tracker posture.
● Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The design process. The challenge was how to make this build completely different from the original while keeping it compact and easy to maintain at the same time. We were so glad to have a series of builds that even with the really small details were something.
● Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
All the people that were involved in this project.