Modern retro

Published: 14 April 2013

I’ve spent hours drooling over the bikes crafted by Sanctuary and Bulldock in Japan and longed to recreate something similar.

You have to remember though, that these guys are quite well established and possess all the machinery and parts necessary to push out bikes of that quality, and what high quality they are too.

However, never one for giving up, I got hold of a 1992 Zephyr 1100 as a starting point. It was ridden hard first, around the Isle of Man during the Manx GP in 2011, then in November the same year, she was gutted ready for my interpretation of what a Zephyr 1100 should be.

Now I’m a custom Harley man now, and before that I’ve owned MV Agusta, Ducati 888, Yamaha R7 and lots more, but I have always had a soft spot for the retro muscle bikes.

They just look right, but way too fussy if you know what I mean, so my idea was to clean it up and make it look simpler and this is the result.

The frame is standard but de-cluttered and the factory welds ground back then Stove enamelled satin black.

The engine is also standard but stripped, blasted and also stove enamelled. It was re-assembled with new seals and bearings, not to mention the new stainless bolts throughout.

The airbox was junked and a new tray under the seat was fitted, this holds the collector bottle for the rocker breather.

The front end on the standard Zeph always looked way too girly, (no offence to girls by the way), so I opted for the Triumph 955i forks/yolks, which were lengthened by 50mm and given a black Nitride coating.

These hold one of the Aprilia RSV wheels and 955i calipers gripping a pair of Armstrong wavy discs.

At the back I fitted a CB1300 swingarm, which again was a beefier option to the thin stock item and had Hyperpro make me a pair of emulsion shocks, longer than standard for that raised rear look with RAL2009 orange springs.

The wheel is a rear RSV job wearing a 180 Race Attack. Under slung rear brakes with a torque arm are a favourite of mine so that had to be made too, using the modified RSV bracket and a fabricated torque arm for the swinger.

Lots of other parts including the rearsets, longer stand, curved oil cooler were sourced from we-bike in japan that holds so much stuff for the Jap retro bike it’s unbelievable.

The clutch and brake radial masters are from a Ducati 1098. Again so much better looking than the standard stuff.

The electrics were the only really tricky bit, because to me, electrickery is just plain voodoo, so I handed the standard loom over to a local auto-electrician to have the R1 switchgear woven in. A genius.

Overall, this has cost me a lot less than the cost of a new ZX-10 and about the same as a new CB1000R, so overall, I’m quite pleased with the outcome and it was built in my garage and not a factory. It’s a great feeling that this is the only one out there.

Build it, don’t just buy it!!