Time warp triple: London bike builder creates electric Kawasaki KH250

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Electric ‘restomods’ are nothing new in the car world, with battery power wizards removing tired classic combustion engines in favour of quieter, and usually dramatically more powerful, plug-in alternatives.

From original Range Rovers to Opel Mantas and everything in between, classic cars are now being given a futuristic second chance at life – retaining their original looks without the need for greasy hands, choke knobs and endless fettling.

Although a craze that divides opinion, it’s now making its way into motorcycling, with one London bike enthusiast restoring a Kawasaki KH250 and installing an electric motor and 5kWh battery where the 249cc two-stroke three-cylinder once sat.  

Kawasaki KH250E before restoration

“The bike was a pile of bits, and it wasn’t running,” creator of the aptly named KH250E, Simon Whitelock told MCN. “All the parts are original apart from the battery, the electric motor, the electrical system, and the wiring looms.”

With the motor itself housed inside the casings of the original air-cooled engine and the charging port located under the chromed filler cap, it’s only small details like the KH250E logos beneath the seat and larger rear sprocket (and lack of smoke) that give it away.

“I didn’t build it for the speed, or range, I built it for the technical challenge,” Whitelock added. “The trickiest bit was machining out the crank case, as the motor only just fitted inside it. Most of the bottom crank case has gone to accommodate it.

Kawasaki KH250E motor sits withing the original engine casing

“There was a lot of cut and measure,” he added. “The seat is sculpted out and the whole frame is 2.5in wider than stock. The battery tray is also under the seat and there was a lot of cutting and welding. It doesn’t look like it, but that was the whole point.”

Whitelock continued: “A year ago, last July the bike was running, but it wasn’t painted or chromed, and it took me another year to get all this done. It was a two-year project, but all the hardest bit was done in the first year.”

Powered by a 10kW motor, the KH250E is capable of around 60mph, with a modest range of 45 miles. It now resides in Whitelock’s dining room as an ornament but he could be willing to part with it if you have £15k going spare.