Cafe Racer

Turbocharged 1978 Kawasaki KZ650 from Magnum Opus Custom Bikes

This build is quite unique for a couple of reasons. It’s not just about the turbocharging a stock KZ650. What just by itself would be an impressive restomod.

This particular Kawasaki KZ650 was built by Ezio Covelli of Magnum Opus Custom Bikes from Wilmington, NC. And regarding the looks, it’s a brilliant classic. A lot of chrome, spoked wheels, classic paint job. With some characteristic “cafe racer style” touches… like the clip-ons, raised rear shocks, stripped-down styling. Yet it all remains retro (no USD swap, no piggyback shocks). I like the “bling bling” style it represents, while definitely being more sporty than any machine from its era.

This “Baby Z1” got an 830cc big bore kit.

But the main feature that makes this build truly unique: is modifying this machine using the turbo kit made by the company who was a supplier for the Kawasaki Z1R-TC – the first turbocharged motorcycle released to the public. How cool is that!

In addition we where able to locate, acquire, and install a period accurate turbo kit (intake manifold, turbocharger RAYJAY F40 and exhaust manifold) from ATP (American Turbo Pak) company–the same one that equipped the kawasaki Z1R-TC back in ’78-79. 

The main idea with this build was to achieve something classier while keeping the bike still sport-oriented.

The paint job design and striping comes form its bigger brother Z1.  This machine in fact wants to be a bridge between the most wanted and discussed Kawasaki motorcycle, the Z1 and the Z1r-TC turbo.

We currently set the turbo at 5-6 psi to let the motor break in before pushing it a little more, but the bike is capable of handling 10psi of boost with an estimated output of 105/110 HP at 10,000 rpm.

I don’t know about You, but I would definitely put this one in my living room for the winter. I love the design of the early 80’s Kawasaki’s… Plus turbochargers are such a good looking accessory.  And this particular restomod is just perfect.

And the sound… 

Source: Magnum Opus Custom Bikes



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