The majority of the Japanese custom motorcycles that we feature are built using 1970’s underpinnings. Twinshockers are presently the norm as they tend to look more old school. It is therefore refreshing to feature a Japanese motorcycle which was built in 1983 and which was one of the first motorcycles to herald the change to single shock suspension for superbikes.
Most modern motorcycles utilise single shock absorber rear suspension technology. The benefits of the single shock over the twin shock system is considerable. Larger, more efficient and adjustable single shock units can be neatly installed, providing far greater travel but still weighing less than the twin shock system. This single rear shock absorber technology was first introduced by Yamaha, if memory serves me correctly, on its motocross motorcycles in the late 1970s. Their Monocross suspension immediately revolutionised the sport. Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki rapidly introduced their respective ProLink, Full Floater and Unitrack systems and the jumps on motocross tracks have been getting bigger ever since then.
Our featured motorcycle was one of the first bigger capacity four cylinder street models to be fitted with monoshock technology. This 1983 model Kawasaki GPZ750 broke away from the twin shock standard which had revolutionised rider comfort in the 1940s and had served backsides well for more than thirty years. Motorcycles like the 1983 GPZ were also the first to show that the Japanese designers and engineers were moving away from traditional styling in order to produce faster, better handling and more aerodynamic motorcycles.
Originally this motorcycle was painted in the red with which Kawasaki had a brief love affair in the early ’80s before returning to their beloved green. In standard trim its in line four cylinder engine pumps out 87hp which gives it a very respectable 220 km/h top speed. Dual discs up front and a single disc at the rear meant that this GPZ can stop, perform and handle better than any of its predecessors.
This GPZ750 was built over a period of 36 months by its owner Kevin. This motorcycle is a product of Kevin’s imagination and pays tribute to the renowned Danish customising leaders The Wrenchmonkees‘ distinctive style. Kevin has thus given this motorcycle the catchy name of Wrenchcafé. This is such a good name that we can perhaps start using it to describe café racers built in this style.
Another term which Kevin uses when he talks about his creation is recycling. He correctly believes that by rebuilding old, outdated and often unwanted motorcycles into desirable motorcycles, he is recycling these motorcycles and making a contribution to preserving our planet. If you would like to read more about Kevin’s creative philosophy, visit his blog at Kwakheads Blogspot.
If this is what stripped down, detabbed 1980’s monoshock customs can look like, we say bring it on! Kevin used the talented fabricator, Mark Lewis from Retro and Custom for several items such as the battery holder under the seat, rear set foot controls and the modification of the stainless 4 into 1 header into a very open, very angry 1980s air cooled sounding 4 into 2. The wiring and electric components have been well hidden. A Wrenchmonkees tail light was fitted. The heavy breathing of the four K&N air filters is wonderful. The warthog tusk mounted meaningfully on the top of the triple trees between the clubman handlebars is another personal creative touch from Kevin. He says that he wants to sell the Wrenchcafé and move onto another project, but when you see how lovingly he stares at this GPZ and how much he enjoys the sound of the open pipes, we wonder if he will actually let it go.
Saving the world was not on our list of reasons for originally starting this blog. Thanks to Kevin’s philosophy, we now realise that salvaging and reinvigorating old motorcycles is beneficial to our planet and our souls. That makes us feel even better about what we are doing. Thank you.