This bike started off as it’s life as a Standard 1990 Kawasaki Gpz 550. Dave had a Gpz1100 that he intended to intorduce to the wiley ways of Ms Angle Grinder , after all he’d been promised an 1127 engine from japan.
During 1996 Dave produced sketches and drawings of his vision of his ideal bike on the backs of fag packets, beer mats, damp toilet paper they way most visons of custom bikes come about. Like many promises of bits they become legend and pass into the realmns of myth, the 1127 motor never appeared. Hmmm what to do now? Dave asks himself, aw f*ck it! where’s the hacksaw, I’m gonnae single seat the 550.
Oh dear he started now, (having done the same thing myself on a few occassions, ye just can’t help yerself) where would it end? So the Gpz550 became the focus of Dave’s attention, and hacksaw. He cut the middle out of the seat and joined the front and back together again. Of course the standard Gpz550 wheel came from the era of bikes where the Japs just hadn’t cottoned on to “Fat Arsed” syndrome, so a suitable fatter replacement wheel needed to be found. Dave settled on GSXR400 running gear, being canny (smart) he bought the back wheel first to make sure it would be feasible, it was, hoooraa.
Smashing his china piggy bank he ordered a suitable JMC swing arm, mmmmm shiny, hmmm 7020, hmmm shut the f*ck up Homer, and shelled out on the GSXR400 front end. A set of slab yokes were ordered and his mate at work welded a pair of risers on them. Putting it all together the rolling chassis bore a remarkable resemblance to the dawings (or was it a remarkable resembelance to the fag packet) not often it turns out that way A Gpz750 Turbo belly pan was aquired, Dave had to cut a gap in the front aluminium spar to allow free movement of the front wheel. The bike now had a copious?? 1-1/2″ ground clearance, other wise know at rally sites as a plough . The seat unit was destined to foul the new back wheel so the rising rate linkages were removed and the shock mount welded directly to the swing arm.
The chain now took it’s turn to be awkward. It was going to foul the swingarm so the swingarm pivot had to be lowered by inch to sort it out. Faced with the common problem of where to put the battery now that ye’ve chopped things about, the stainless battery box fits on light hangers behind the fairing, only place left says Dave, he admits himself though thats it’s not ideal, the wieght is in the wrong place, too high up and consequently affects the handling of the bike. The tidy Stainless Steel undertray was fabricated by Dougie from the Party Crew. Dave chopped the standard side panels and tailpiece, which were then fibreglassed back together. He removed the old recessed fuel cap and replaced it with a ZZR-1100 one.
The St Andrews cross Seat cover was made by the talented by Hedgie in Dundee. Dave Orginally approached “Minted” to do the paintwork, turns out they hadn’t done tartan before, either that or they didn’t have a tin of tartan paint in stock. Dave wandered the land looking for someone who had a tin of the necessary then by luck came across Les Cameron, who was a hobby artist of the portrait type Moaning Lisa etc and had never painted a bike in his puff, Dave applied a suitable amount of “Aw just gonnae dae that”, Les, luckily bought it and agreed to do the job.
Dave’s vision (the amount of alchohol involved in this vision is not clear) was of a Horse at high speed, going into battle, flags draped over it, tattered and burnt and Targe (wooden shield)on belly pan Now this would be a challenge for any painter, never mind Les who’d never done it before.
Les used a tartan scarf of the “Clan MacDonald” as a pattern as Dave’s Granny had been Flora MacDonald (but not thee Flora MacDonald), that was his great great great great granny. Dave’s original concept was complete but he gave Les a free hand to add in any ideas. He came up with the addition of the belt around the LCD cluster on the tank, painting inside the fainring, the creast on the fuel cap, inside of the targe and various other touches. inside of belly pan also painted to look like the inside of the Targe. the claymore enters the tank but doesn’t come out as it would ruin the effect that the claymore moves as you walk round the bike.
It is the paintwork that catches everyone’s eye as soon as they see the bike, a splendid job it is too, hangs together nicely and has some striking detail when you look a bit closer. Methinks Les might have found a new outlets for his creative talents. Indeed look at the work he did on Dave’s helmet, steady now. Closer inspection shows a lot of detailing and thought that Dave has put into this bike. The cam oilway linkages for instance, originally Dave wanted to put them on for aesthetic reasons but found someone who could actually make ’em work.
thanks go to Ian McDougal of “Mirror Image” who polished all the shiny bits. M&P and MPS for taking so much money off him. Alan from Pit Stop in Dundee. And finally “Snobby” for his inspiration. Apparently Dave’s attention is about to turn to the GPz1100, I’ll look forward to the results.