Waki Saki – Kawasaki Zephyr 750 – DNA Custom Cycles | Bike Tests | Used Bikes
After one of our readers sent in a pic of this creation from Sydney’s DNA Custom Cycles, we had to get the full story
Race replicas have been around for decades now. From Repsol Hondas to Pepsi Suzukis, they’ve largely been a marketing gimmick to boost sales.
And it’s not a case of all show and no go; some brands have commissioned special editions to add a little race to the replica. Bikes like the mild Phil Read TT Formula One Honda CB750 and the wild Ducati Desmosedici RR allow keen weekend warriors to imitate their heroes.
However, the Seeley-built Honda was barely faster than a stocker while the Desmo is best suited to the track and an absolute pig on the road.
Could this be the best race replica ever built, finally striking the right balance?
DNA Custom Cycles’ 1991 Moriwaki Kawasaki Zephyr has the go, the show and will hammer down Gardner Straight while still being a pleasure on the street.
“I had always liked the endurance racer look, so I went down that path with the full rebuild,” says Bryan Kidd, the bike’s owner. “Like an 80s Z1 piloted by Wayne Gardner crossed with a Bol d’Or or Le Mans endurance racer. I wanted it to be roadworthy and legal, so this pushed me into a lot of research for parts.”
But first Bryan needed a base for the build and it came in the form of the ’91 Zephyr 750 he’d owned for five years. Having first bought it with full sheepskin seat cover and luggage rack for $500, he then transformed it into a rat café machine, but when a few things needed upgrading all hell broke loose.
“The carbs were shot, the front brakes spongy and the base gasket was weeping.” As good a time as any to build a full-on custom then.
The 90s Z has many advantages over its more prestigious older brother for such a build. Cheaper purchase price, more modern tech and yet still with that retro flavour.
As he moved to India three years ago, Bryan stripped the bike and brought in people to work on individual areas of the build.
The spongy conventional fork was swapped out for a ZXR750 USD item, which was rebuilt, chromed, anodised and powder coated with Racetech gold valves from Shock Treatment in Sydney. It looks the business, but not as good as the triple tree holding them in place.
Darren at DNA Customs did a lot of work on the build and the CNC upper triple clamp features a nifty hidden cam-locking mechanism.Once it and the lower clamp were anodised, it was back to the machine “for the Moriwaki logo to be CNC’d into the top recess, a very stressful moment for Darren as any mistake would mean starting from scratch.”
Visiting the GP
The bodywork is a clever combination of parts. A Moriwaki 2 tail section, XR69 front fairing and universal bellypan and tail-lights come from Airtech in the US. The tail-piece is made just as cool as the tank, with the Shorai lithium battery now exposed.
The accessories are just as impressive: Beet rearsets are complemented by Woodcraft clip-ons with Biltwell grips; ISR levers, switchblocks and front discs come from Sweden; Watsen Design flush-mount indicators are from Canada; and the beautiful Stack ST700 dash is from the UK.
“It was up and running one week before leaving for the Island and rego’d within another day. Then it was a rapid week of riding as many kilometres as possible to shake it down and run in the engine.”
Finally it was time for its maiden trip, from Sydney to Phillip Island for the GP. She rode like a dream.
“It has very usable power, great stance and a lovely tone from the exhaust. It is not the most comfortable whip, but handles the tight technical stuff really well.”
Flywheels in Marrickville rebuilt the engine. It was stripped, sandblasted, powder coated and painted, with the fins being linished. A Wiseco 810 kit was fitted (teflon-coated pistons, bearings and seals), the cams ground with a hot street profile to maximise torque down low, the valves reground and seated, and a set of CR29 Keihin carbs (favoured by many Kwaka racers) fitted. Making a beautiful sound is a stainless-steel exhaust and reverse cone muffler. The end result is a peak of 9500 rpm with about 70kW.
WORDS MARTIN HODGSON FOR PIPEBURN.COM
PHOTOGRAPHY SCOTT HOPKIN