'81 kz440: brat cafe build

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
i'm new here from customfighters.com. my '81 kz440 project is well underway, but all the work done thus far has been on that site. however, i grabbed some progress pics off there to make somewhat of a timeline for you all so you can see what i've been up to with this thing for the last year and a half!

this is how i bought it, as a "cool idea but pretty ugly" bobber...



i had a set of gsxr forks and kawi zx6r wheel waiting to be used, so i threw them on...



got some beefier tires, ditched the dirt bars and went with clip ons, scored a front brake setup on ebay, and a set of progressive shocks, which were desperately needed. the PO had cut the original rear springs, so not only was there ZERO travel in them, but the springs were working their way up over the upper bump stop. this is what i ended up with after all that went on...



as you can see from that pic, the front tire looks HUGE compared to the rear. that's because the zx6 wheel was wider than the original kz wheel in the back, so even though both tires were a 120 width with the same size sidewall, the wider wheel up front allowed it to expand more. also, the rear wheel was an 18", while the zx6 wheel was 17", so something had to be done. ebay to the rescue. $100 later got me this whole setup...



that's the rear wheel off a 2010 ex250. 17" like the front, slightly wider, and the spoke patter now matched haha.

so, that takes us up to last december, a little over a year of having the bike. work was slow because i was able to ride it all last season, so i didn't do any work during that time. but once it started to get cold, i wrapped the pipes, threw on some shorty levers (hard to see in pic) and finally got the new rear wheel on...



the stock swingarm wasn't wide enough to accept the new rear wheel, so my wife got me an ex250 rear swinger to match the wheel for Christmas :) i then started entertaining the idea of monoshocking it...



over the winter i cut up the tank and made an attempt at some knee dents. also made my own exhaust (except the muffler, that i bought). but, as you can see from the pics, it was way too close to my rear end!





so that had to be re worked. a lot has been done since then, but not much has been done as far as picture documentation. as a landscaper, i had planned to be laid off over the winter, so i tore into a bunch of stuff on the bike that i thought i'd have time to complete by spring. however, here in PA it never got cold enough for long enough, so we worked straight through the winter, and i ended up not having nearly the amount of time with the bike that i thought i would. so that leaves it in it's current state: exhaust nearly done, monoshock setup nearly done, engine painted and mostly hooked back up, seat still needing to be completed. a lot of little things, but hopefully it will be wrapped up by july. much later than i wanted, but what are you gonna do haha.

anyhow, that's my bike! i'm excited to be a part of this community now, and i can't wait to show you all progress as it comes!
 

tron97

New Member
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Sweeet..I remember seeing this bike somewhere else..

So are you going to monoshock it?
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

it's been on customfighters.com, so you may have seen it there. i am in the process of monoshocking it, yes. well, a buddy of mine is doing the welding for me, as all i have access to is a little flux core mig, and there's no way that could do the job haha. can't wait for it to be done though, i'm super pumped!
 

CafeRacer650

Dream it. Build it. Live it.
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Good looking bike! It has the look of a Confederate. I would almost keep that "raw material" feel and not paint the tank. If you want to go crazy and keep that detached look on the rear wheel, try to put a Britten rear suspension setup on it. That would make a rockin' ride!!
 

AdrockMK2

New Member
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Looks awesome! I liked the powder blue with the chunky black...are you going to paint the tank?
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

CafeRacer650 said:
I would almost keep that "raw material" feel and not paint the tank.
AdrockMK2 said:
Looks awesome! I liked the powder blue with the chunky black...are you going to paint the tank?
i'm having a hard time deciding between those two options of leaving it raw or painting it. i love the raw, more industrial look, but i also love color, so we'll see what happens, ha.

on another note, i couldn't be happier about this little dandy...



this baby came courtesy of cafegoose. for months now i have been looking for a loop like this to cap off the back end of my bike, and for the life of me, i could not find one that wasn't upwards of $100. cafegoose has these for half that + FREE SHIPPING. and speaking of shipping, i talked to him about it thursday, he shipped it out last friday and i had it by monday. can't beat that! thanks goose!
 

M.B Co

Member
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Hell ya, so sick.

So whats the specs on the GSXR front. I have my eyes on a front setup at a local salvage yard.
 

Shermanator86

Big guy on a little bike
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

M.B Co said:
Hell ya, so sick.

So whats the specs on the GSXR front. I have my eyes on a front setup at a local salvage yard.
I was wondering that myself, whats all involved in switching to modern forks like that?
 

DesmoBro

Busted Nut
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Shermanator86 said:
I was wondering that myself, whats all involved in switching to modern forks like that?
If the stem is the same length (usually not the case) they can switch over with new bearings....If the stem is a shorter/longer, you must have the old stem pressed out/and the new tripples are machined to fit the old stem with Very tight toleranced bushings, Then new bearings....
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

if you need help, go to allballsracing.com. they have a fork conversion chart where you can just put in the make and model of your bike and they'll give you a whole list of other makes and models who's forks are compatible with your bike. it just so happened that my forks off a gsxr750 were a perfect fit for my kz440. oddly enough, had i ended up with a set of forks off a gsxr600 or 1000, they would NOT have fit and i would've needed new bearings. the only thing i ended up having to switch was the bottom race off the original forks onto the new ones, then i used all the same bearings. the stem is a bit long, but i didn't feel like going through the trouble of finding a shop and paying them to press the stems out and in. the longer stem just took a spacer to fix.
 

Shermanator86

Big guy on a little bike
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

7aliveatlast7 said:
if you need help, go to allballsracing.com. they have a fork conversion chart where you can just put in the make and model of your bike and they'll give you a whole list of other makes and models who's forks are compatible with your bike. it just so happened that my forks off a gsxr750 were a perfect fit for my kz440. oddly enough, had i ended up with a set of forks off a gsxr600 or 1000, they would NOT have fit and i would've needed new bearings. the only thing i ended up having to switch was the bottom race off the original forks onto the new ones, then i used all the same bearings. the stem is a bit long, but i didn't feel like going through the trouble of finding a shop and paying them to press the stems out and in. the longer stem just took a spacer to fix.
Thanks for the info, I need new forks sometime as mine are too pitted to be saved and the search for cheap replacements hasn't turned up much so might as well upgrade haha.

I'll be watching this build for sure though
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Shermanator86 said:
Thanks for the info, I need new forks sometime as mine are too pitted to be saved and the search for cheap replacements hasn't turned up much so might as well upgrade haha.

I'll be watching this build for sure though
what kind of bike do you have? i still have the forks from my kz if you'd be interested. or if you're patient, some real gems pop up on ebay here and there. i got my forks with the top and bottom yokes for $180, which from what i've seen is a decent deal.
 

Shermanator86

Big guy on a little bike
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

7aliveatlast7 said:
what kind of bike do you have? i still have the forks from my kz if you'd be interested. or if you're patient, some real gems pop up on ebay here and there. i got my forks with the top and bottom yokes for $180, which from what i've seen is a decent deal.
might be interested in those kz forks, they should be the same as mine. PM me some pics and info if you would
 

SeaBee

New Member
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Saw the build title and was thinking, meh not interested...

Saw the build and I'm in!
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

dangit, maybe i need to change the title of my thread haha! glad it's a nice surprise once people take a look though :)
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

alright, so progress has been slow lately, but last night i went to my buddy's place who's welding up the monoshock mounts for me and we put in some good work! 2-3 more hours on it this coming saturday should see it FINALLY finished!! i forgot my camera, so i didn't get any pics of the work. however, we pulled out the piece of wood i was using to hold the rear up (as seen in previous pics) so we could get in there to weld some stuff, and my buddy snapped these pics with his phone of what it would look like with a serious bob job, haha. bobbers were my first love, what first got me interested in modding bikes, so it was tempting to see it like this. however, i'm way too far into my cafe planning to even consider changing directions, so it'll have to wait for another build! looks sweet though, in my opinion...





anyhow, i also got some more little bits to install soon:

lowbrow customs baffles...



and some translucent neon yellow fuel line tubing. nothing super exciting, but progress nonetheless! neon is not my thing, but since my bike is gonna be pretty drab colors, i thought a little flair of an accent color could look cool.
 

tron97

New Member
Re: '81 kz440: bobber --> cafe

Sweet cant wait to see it.

I used lowbrows baffles in mine, did the trick. Took the edge off
 

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