17-year-old clutter transforms into Kawasaki H1 Flattracker

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A discovery of Kawasaki H1a parts, disregarded as a pile of neglected boxes for 17 years, left Dave Riley from Lancashire with no choice but to purchase the lot and form the basis of flattrack project.

It’s probably not the most idealistic way to pick-up an iconic motorcycle such as the H1a, but that didn’t stop him from buying the neglected containers that housed just two-thirds of an actual bike. 


What to do with what some would class as “clutter” was a bigger challenge.

Dave already had a H1f in the garage and like BOOM like magic, the idea of a customisation project was born.

“I’ve always liked the look of flattrackers so I thought I’d have a go at building one,” Dave recalled. “I had a basic vision of what I wanted to achieve but wasn’t entirely sure if it would work.” 

Next came the sorting process – sifting through the boxes and finding out just what was useable and what could be fixed.

Dave and his boxes of Kawasaki H1a bits

“A few nasty surprises were found including an ingenious piece of work where a previous owner had gone to the trouble of welding a broken piston back together along with welding the barrel skirt back on,” Dave added. 

Then the real work started; The alloy parts were sent to be vapor blasted and the frame sent for powder coating.

Once all the parts started to arrive and come together the build began, starting with the motor.

“The engine went together fairly easy with a fresh crank and rebore. It came with new seals and bearings fitted and looked mint after being vapor blasted,” explained Dave. 

The forks were in poor condition with rusty stanchions, so an alternative set were purchased from America.

The next port of call: The bodywork

Dave, who ordered a front number board and a seat unit from Redmax for the classic tracker stance, said: “The seat unit was really an inch too short as it exposed the rear frame rails so I extended it and had a custom seat pad made up to match.”

The electronics proved to be a problem though and he couldn’t figure out why the bike wouldn’t charge. A racing ignition system from Electrex seemed to sort out the gremlins and allowed the bike to run properly again.

Kawasaki H1a flattracker

The low drain from the LED neutral light and stoplamp means the electrical system isn’t too stressed. Dave explains he ‘runs the bikes electrics on a total loss system and recharges the battery as needed.’

So what we have here is stunning Kawasaki H1a flattracker, the finish and attention to detail on the machine really is fantastic.

Do you have a shed built bike? We’d love to hear from you – email james.archibald@motorcyclenews.com with some details and images of your creation.

Looking for the perfect two-wheeled companion? Visit MCN Bikes For Sale website or use MCN’s Bikes For Sale App.

James Archibald

By James Archibald

Former MCN Junior Web Producer