Growing up with mostly Hondas and Harleys, me and my brothers rarely had the chance to mess with Yamahas or Kawasakis. They always seemed a bit less refined, but always just as fun. Maybe it felt a bit more dangerous. Heck, maybe that was the thrill.
After casually browsing FB Marketplace one day, I stumbled across a hacked up KZ400 that needed some loving. The guy selling it had used it as a starter bike with a friend to teach him some of the basics of owning a motorcycle, and after some fun they had given it up. The guy seemed quite handy and was happy to send me a bunch of pics and videos of it running and riding around the block. At the time I was settling in after a recent move and still unpacking and setting up shop. We agreed that if no other serious offers came along before winter maybe we could work something out.
A couple of months passed and he messaged me to follow-up. Some quick haggling and he agreed to a simple trade that made both parties happy, and we coordinated a time on a weekend in November for him to come drop it off.
These KZ400’s (from what I’ve been told) were nothing to write home about, even when they were new. They were touted by Kawasaki as being cheap and practical. Check and check. It hit it’s mark with boring efficiency, but as it turns out all these years later…. makes for a great starter bike and cafe-racer build platform! It’s a modest mid-range bike that doesn’t break the bank and is probably more fun than it should be.
The goal with this build is to Keep It Stupidly Simple and pay proper homage to the vintage look with practicality and reliability at the forefront.
Pics of the building will be Coming Soon! Before and After results will be showcased on this build article and some of the custom parts will be available for sale on the storefront.