I have been working on this project for some time. Now came time to announce it.
During the years of Zephyr 750 cafe-racer kits making I was regularly asked if my kit is compatible with Kawasaki Zephyr 550 and Zephyr 1100. Well, the answer was simple: 550, 750 and 1100 Zephyr frames are different, so the 750 kit couldn’t be installed bolt-on on 550 and 1100 bikes. In case of Zephyr 1100 my kit could be installed with some minor modification of Zephyr frame and kit seat base, however in case of Zephyr 400/550 differences are less subtle so there is no chance to install 750 kit on 400/550 models.
To make the situation with Zephyr 400/550 even more complicated, Kawasaki redesigned these models in around 1993. The most visible changes were made to the rear brake system and dashboard. Less visible from the first sight were changes that Kawasaki made to the seat and rear fender. In early 400 and 550 models, the place for OEM tool kit was organized similarly to one of the 750 model : its position was under the rear cowl and it had to be strapped to the rear part of the rear fender by rubber. In later models of Zephyr 400 and 550 Kawasaki integrated a special tool kit compartment into the front part of the rear fender. This caused quite a change of a seat design, so seats from early Zephyr 400-550 couldn’t be installed on later Zephyr 400-550. I’ll show the difference between seats in one of the next posts.
Position of tail mounting points for Zephyr 400/550 does not fit those of Zephyr 750. Therefore, in a situation like this the only way to get the cafe-racer kit for Zephyr 400 and 550 similar to those for Zephyr 750 is to… design the new kit.
And that’s where we come to the announcement of the new project from Gazzz-Garage. Some time ago we got a later model of Zephyr 550 in our workshop. Actually, it’s Zephyr 400 – version of 550 bikes for the internal Japanese market, with 400ccm engine and built –in speed limiter. A frame, a seat, a tank tail and other exterior parts of 400 and 550 models are identical. I was so eager to start working on the kit that I found no time to shoot motorcycle photos. Therefore, I could do it only recently, when I gave the initial parts of the kit into the paint-shop, where they will be prepared for molds making.
The goal of the project is the same as it was in case of 750 Zephyr: to make a completely bolt-on cafe-racer kit for Zephyr 400 and 550 compatible with both earlier and later models (including their original seat locking systems). Similarly to 750 kits, 550 kits will have E-approved tail light and two optional types of license plate holder with E-approved license plate light.
At the moment the 400/550 kits project is moving under full steam and I hope to post an update soon. Meanwhile, here are photos of Zephyr 400/550 which was the start of this project.