Hand built 'retro' is 125 money

Published: 19 August 2011

With continuing resurgence in interest in 70s and 80s superbikes, riders are once again buying bikes from their youth.

But unless you're after a true 'classic' version - ie original and standard - there are two problems with that: first you'll quickly learn that their performance leaves a lot to be desired, particularly from a modern perspective. And secondly, many of the examples available have already been tuned or modded.

So if the thought of buying a 30-year-old modified bike leaves you feeling nervous then maybe the guys at www.usedkawasakiparts.com can help.

This bike, dubbed the 'Retro Racer', has been built from parts by Chris Tombleson and his team in Kings Lynn, to classic racer spec. Yet, they say, it can easily be modified into road trim - a bike with all the style and appeal of a '70s classic but with near-modern performance and the peace of mind of a professional build.

It came about when Chirs became aware that a chunk of his customers were increasingly shunning modern bikes and going back to older models.

The 'Retro Racer' is basicall a Kawasaki 1980-era Z1000J fitted with a later and more powerful, but outwardly similar, air-cooled GPz1100 Uni-track engine, although the GPz11's fuel-injection has been dumped and a set of carbs fitted for added simplicity. Other parts come from all eras and donor bikes...

Running gear is mostly SuzukiL 1985/6 GSX-R750 Slabside forks and 1988 GSX-R slingshot wheels. The swingarm, however, from a crash-damaged Kawasaki ZRX1200, is one of the few modern items. "We do like modern Kawasakis, too, and this one is just like Eddie Lawson's AMA racer!"

Chris went on: "We built the whole bike in-house. All the used parts came off the shelf but we also stock new parts like Dyna Ignition products - all old Jap multis benefit from modern electrics so we've fitted a full Dyna set up on the Retro Racer coils and pick ups. We did the paintwork ourselves, and even ultrasonically cleaned the carbs here."

The bike has already generated plenty of interest and and the firm has already been commissioned to build similar bikes for a number of customers. Meanwhile, this bike is up for sale for £2995 - or around the price of a new 125 scooter.