‘Red Rooster’ is One Seriously Hot-to-Trot Kawasaki
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you a Kawasaki Kz1000… well, you make this. Meet the ‘Red Rooster’—the second custom bike created by Rok and Luka, the two halves of Slovenian cycle shop Krakenhead Customs. As Rok explains, coming across a Kz1000 in their native Slovenia is a rare find, so when the pair found this one, which was left abandoned on a farm, even it was a perfect candidate for a café racer conversion… despite some quite dodgy repairs. “It was fixed with some serious redneck engineering,” Rok told BikeExif, “including various tractor parts, peeling rattle can paint, chipped chrome, duct tape and some questionable welds. It was the perfect bike for us to create a ‘Kraken’ from scratch!” RELATED: See More Photos of the Kawasaki Kz1000 'Red Rooster'
And so the new ‘Kraken’ build began, starting with a full bike teardown. Somewhat surprisingly, Krakenhead says the engine, gearbox, and frame were all in good order. Everything else was… well, not.
Rok and Luka soon got stuck-in, giving the Kawasaki a bit more attitude toward its rooster tail. Out went the original suspension and brakes, and in came a rear Kayaba monoshock setup with a new custom aluminum swingarm and a two-piston Brembo brake kit.
Up front, the Kz1000 sits meaner on fully adjustable USD forks with a six-piston Tokico caliper chomping down on a second Brembo brake disc. Sleek 17-inch BEHR spoked wheels work their way in at both ends, wrapped in Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires. “It definitely has that café racer vibe,” says Luka, “since it is really light and agile compared to the original.”
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With its road-handling characteristics all sorted, Krakenhead turned its focus to performance and looks. In came K&N air filters, one-off stainless steel headers, the fuel tank nicked from a Kz1000A, plus custom clip-on handlebars, a bespoke leather seat and a very clean headlight conversion.
Luka explains the bike’s headlight with its integrated speedometer, ignition, and warning lights is a bit of a signature Krakenhead look. With a goal of creating an old school café racer that remained faithful to the original, we’d say they knocked it out of the park. Their next bike build?
“Our next project is a Honda GL1000,” says Luka. “We’ll set up dual Weber carburetors, custom exhausts, and all the other goodies. It’s not the preferred option for customizing since it’s a big and heavy bike, but we believe we can pull it off.”
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Photo Credit: Jani Nendl