Six beautiful bikes built in a garage a bit like yours
“I’m a proper backyard builder, who juggles full time work with a wife and young family,” says Jamie Smith. “I work for Caterpillar in Peterborough where I’m a research engineer specialising in engine valve-trains.
“I always fancied a modified Z1000 with fat rims, USD front end etc but these days a donor bike is pushing the budget, so I sat sifting through ebay one night and there was a scruffy, badly-modified 1980 Z650. I had always liked the 650’s iconic duckbill back end. The next morning at 7am I was picking it up.
“It sat for a little while but then one day I took it out, did a few sacrificial burnouts, rode it home and started to strip it. That was about a year ago, blending the build in with a full-time job, family and a new baby. When the kids go to bed, I go to the shed.
“The design brief for this build was simple: big spoked rims, monoshock, USD forks, declutter, lose some weight. With a nice Nitron shock from another bike, and a deep-braced JMC swingarm from a GPZ secured, the initial design, cut and weld could begin. As well as the monoshock, chassis modifications include the integrated turn signal, rear light assembly, rear-set mounts, lock stops, front light. I also cut out two rotten tubes and replaced where the rear footpeg hangers used to be.
“The front end came courtesy of a lightly-crashed GSX-R1000, this was re-anodised black, rebuilt and complemented with a front hub from Cognito Moto. The rear wheel is a Honda CRF item with XR650 brake.
“The engine has had minor mechanical work: valve stem seals and manual camchain tensioner. Performance is aided by a Boyer Branson ignition and a set of GPZ750R1 carbs. The exhaust system is a hybrid of parts: Deklevic front pipes, home-made centre section, and a Danmoto silencer.
“The entire electrical system was ditched after 37 years of abuse to be replaced with some lovely stuff from Motogadget and Motone. I hope I’ve taken a fairly ugly duckling and given it a new lease of life using some up to date parts. The 650 is never going to have the grunt of the Z1000MKII I wanted, but I think it looks pretty cool.”
Kawasaki Z650 by Jamie Smith ‘When the kids go to bed, I go to the shed’
Renthal bars meet fully electronic dash Combined number board and LED light is a stunner Modded tank brings the Zed up to date HIGHLIGHTS O GSX-R1000 front end O Swingarm from a GPZ O New wiring, ignition and carbs
Monoshock radically changes the back end It has to be a monochrome numberplate