We sat down with Marcos from Free Kustom Cycles in Mollet Del Valle, Spain to talk about his stunning Kawasaki KZ400 Cafe Racer.
bikerMetric: Tell us a little about yourself Marcos?
I’m Marcos, and I’m 37 years old. I’ve been a fan of motorcycles and of everything related to the world of motors and speed since I was a kid. Back then I would get up early to watch racing on TV. I consider myself a lucky guy to have been living my passion for 11 years.
bikerMetric: How about Free Kustom Cycles?
I opened Free Kustom Cycles in 2003 as an accessories and clothing shop because I couldn’t find the parts and accessories that I really wanted in Spain. I decided to start my own business to fill that niche. By 2009 I’d opened a garage where I build Harley-Davidson or metric motorcycles, including choppers, bobbers and cafe racers. I’m hoping to keep offering advice, general mechanic work, customization, and more, for years to come, if this ******* economy leaves us.
bikerMetric: So what’s the Kawi?
It’s a 1974 Kawasaki KZ400, The story began a few months ago when a customer brought this bike in to our garage to transform it into the motorcycle he had always dreamed of riding. It was quite clear he wanted a motorcycle with all of its classical essence.
I started by dismantling the bike to sand all the pieces and then did a rough assembly to modify the parts as necessary ensuring it had the look the customer was after. The next step was to cut the rear sub-frame to do a new round rear sub-frame. The engine has had a facelift, the cylinders were cleaned and then all the covers were polished. I cleaned the carburetors installed chrome conical competition air filters as well.
bikerMetric: I can see where the KZ’s battery used to be, where is it hiding now?
All the electrical parts, including the battery are now under the seat in a small box. The key ignition switch and the start button are located under this box. This was the biggest challenge for me because we had to simplify all of the electrical wiring to fit it inside the box.
bikerMetric: The front end looks like it had a nice makeover.
I put on a new handlebar and Biltwell Kung-Fu grips. The original tires were changed to Firestone Deluxe and a new Goodridge front brake line was installed. Other new parts includes a speedometer with all the indicator and warning lights on a support, which I handmade. There’s also a new headlight and tailight and a new seat that fits perfectly with the new shape of the rear of the frame.
bikerMetric: And the exhaust pipes?
I adapted two-megaton baffles with exhaust wrap and made some new brackets to hold one on each side of the bike.
Cream and flat black paint with a pinstripe gives a timeless look and is done by my big bro KILIAN RAMIREZ of PIC-ASTUDIO, who also did the photography.
bikerMetric: How did you and your client decide what to do with the bike?
The client had a very clear idea what kind of motorcycle he wanted: a simple and very clean bike aesthetically, but at the same time, a bike that he could be used every day to roll through the streets of Barcelona. So what I did was meet with him and snorkle through internet (bikerMetric and other sites for example), to see what kind of motorcycle he was looking for and what I could do with his bike. The rest of it was hours of work and patience to give him a bike that satisfied him.
bikerMetric: Do you have any personal favourite modifications?
One of the parts that I felt more proud when i finish the bike, was the box that I did under the frame to hide the entire electrical system, including the battery and the starter button.
bikerMetric: That’s actually one of the things that stood out the most to us too. What are other people saying about your Kawasaki KZ400?
The KZ400 is really liked by the general public, because I got to leave very clean lines without losing that classic essence that this motorcycle model breathes. Today, months after having finished, people are always amazed with the work done on it, and I am pleased to see it published in several articles like this one in the specialized press.
bikerMetric: Any words of wisdom from Freedom Kustom Cycles for people thinking about making their own cafe racer or bobber?
You do not know how much time you have to devote to do this kind of work, until you have the bike on the lift.
bikerMetric: What other motorcycle builds have you done?
Since I opened the workshop, and with the mechanics who have been here, we have made several modifications in very different bikes. Some were metrics, some were Harleys. Plenty of different styles too: bobbers, choppers, cafe racers, dragsters, etc. I am very proud of every motorcycle that has come out of our garage. I take even more pride in knowing that the customers who rely on us are even happier . We’ve done such a variety of motorcycle customizations, some of which aren’t common transformations, such as a Cafe Racer Suzuki GS500. We’ve made bobbers from Honda Shadow VT600, etc. We do not limit ourselves to any particular type of style , we let the customers come with their bikes, explain their ideas , and develop a project that will leave them satisfied. That is our only goal.
bikerMetric: And you’ve got a celebrity motorcycle owner?
We did a pair of dragsters from a Suzuki M109R and a Harley-Davidson Night Rod. The Night Rod is currently owned by the MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo.
bikerMetric: What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two projects, one is a Kawasaki GPZ400. I am giving her a very similar finish as the Kawasaki KZ400 of this article. The other is my own bike, a Kawasaki VN800. I’m doing a 1960’s style chopper. I hope to have them finished in less than a month in order to present them in Castellar Speed Fest, an event organized with some friends which in just a few years has become one of the most anticipated events on the national scene. We had around 12,000 attendees in two days!
Get the best of bikerMetric directly in your inbox, once a week, every week.