Shed Built: 1981 Kawasaki Z440

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After a long period away from motorcycling, Gareth Duns wanted something to de-stress and distract him from the everyday routine so decided to build a bike. 

After a lengthy search for a suitable donor bike, Gareth stumbled across a Kawasaki Z440 before setting out on an extensive build that would span a total of 7 years.


“I needed something to de stress from kids, house renovation etc. so in my infinite wisdom I thought it would be a great idea add more work into my life and build my motorcycle. I religiously checked the classifieds for a number of months and finally found the suitable donor bike, a 1981 Kawasaki  (K)Z440. An air-cooled parallel twin, which has a passing resemblance to a old triumph unit.”

After a mock-up build, a complete nut and bolt strip down was carried out; “Everything was examined and although was in good condition for a 35 year old bike I decided to replace/renew all items that carried any wear. Every single bearing on the bike and in the engine including piston rings, valves and guides, cam chain etc was exchanged for mostly new old stock sources”

The frame was de-lugged and shortened before getting powder coated along with the swingarm and yokes, which match the deep gloss finish of the tank, which was painted by a local painter.

He played with the idea of soda blasting the engine to give it a clean finish but decided against it, “I loved the patina that it displayed and decided to leave it original, I still can't stop myself from polishing bits though.”

The proof is in the riding though and Gareth is pleased with the end result, “It doesn't have any abs, no traction control, no anti wheelie, no computer settings it doesn't even have any indicators! It’s just a good old school bike; an engine, some wheels, handlebars and somewhere to sit. After all this time it still puts a massive smile on my face every time I ride the bobber and that's the most important thing, isn't it?”


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James Archibald

By James Archibald

Former MCN Junior Web Producer