Biking specials cover a multitude of ideas, with a mixed bag of end results, but Brian Foord’s creation is among the very best. Looking every bit like something that rolled off the end of a Kawasaki production line, this Z1000 is near perfect. It all began many years back when Brian was just a teenager, “I always lusted after a Zed” Brian admitted “But for some reason I never managed to get one, then many years and two kids on, while looking at a special Zed, my wife Sam suggested I build one for myself.”
Starting off life as a tatty 1975 Zed frame with a Z1000 engine in it, some attempts at creating a street special had already begun, a Metmachex swing arm and a paint job was present, but this was a million miles away from what Brian had in mind. “I had a clear vision of the bike I would end up with” Brian explained “It was going to be hard work, but hopefully worth it in the end. To maintain the correct ride height, I mounted the frame on blocks before removing the original parts; having built a few bikes, I have learnt to keep the height as near to original as possible to avoid big problems later. The front end is all new parts, mostly intended to fit on a K8 GSXR1000, I didn’t want to go down the route of second hand or potentially damaged parts, so the calipers, switchgear and everything was sourced from new. A new fork stem was machined, and a pair of extenders also needed adding to the tops to keep the length right. The Radial mount calipers also needed spacing backwards to allow the larger discs of the GSXR1400 to be fitted, I am lucky that I have a mate, Nick Wright, he lives locally and can CNC parts for me; he also made the trick looking billet engine mounts once I had a sketch for him to work from.”
The attention to detail is impressive, especially as Brian, being a partner in a Sussex timber yard by profession, has had no formal technical or mechanical training. “I had a big job on getting the Thunderace swing arm to fit, it was an easy enough job to get in into the frame, simple machining each end, and then fabricating a set of bushes, then attaching the rear shock mounts, but getting the chain to meet the front sprocket was a real task. I had to machine the top of the arm and then fit a billet channel into this for the chain to run in, and weld it all up. I hadn’t done any welding before this bike but managed to do that and fit the extra braces, 18 in all, to the original frame. I just copied bracing I have seen on other modded Zed’s, particularly the tricked up Japanese race versions, and now it handles like a dream.”
“The wheels I polished myself, but then I ran out of willpower, so Mikey from the Z1 owners club helped out with the rest of the alloy polishing, in fact lots of help came from the Z1 owners club (www.z1ownersclub.co.uk) and some of the parts I have made for this project are now available to members of the club. The stunning stainless steel exhaust has been fabricated by Exhaust Craft (www.exhaustcraft.co.uk) looking every bit like a 70s 4-into-1, but retaining good ground clearance by tucking in the lower pipes and end can, however, I will own up to fitting the Harris emblem to it for period effect.”
“The engine had been recently fettled before I bought it” Brian said “To save work it has remained as it was bought, save for the two-pack paint being applied, the addition of the oil cooler, Dyna ignition and the 36mm Mikuni flat slide carbs. From the day it was completed I have had no problems with the bike, save for a niggling problem with the heavily offset front sprocket, and its lock washer, but that is sorted now. For the coming winter I am planning some engine work, a Wiseco big bore kit for certain and maybe some hot cams if possible.”
As specials go, this has to be right up there with the very best, it is well thought out, superbly finished and yet still retains much of the original looks of the classic Z1. Brian admits to it costing over £7K, so it hasn’t been cheap to build but says it compares favourably with his more modern machinery, with the added bonus of turning more than a few heads too.
Kawasaki Z1000 Special Gallery
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