Six beau­ti­ful bikes built in a garage a bit like yours

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Retro Special 2017 -

“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

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