Surplus stock – Kawasaki Z650

In something of a contradiction to Tony Garnham-Parkes’ company name, as of early April, this was the latest bike to roll out of the Sheffield workshop of Complete Cafe Racer!

Words & pics: Dave Manning

Clearly, it’s not a caffeine-fuelled road racer that owes its styling and heritage to the Ton-Up boys of yore – perhaps its influences lie with Billy, Wyatt, and a trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans?

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Tony was undergoing something of a clear-out as Complete Cafe Racer was relocating to a new unit, so they were trying to offload as much stock as they could to ease the trauma of moving so much stuff from one workspace to another. In the process, he realised just how much stuff he had, and not just stuff that pertained to the core focus of his business. He admits he’s a bit of a hoarder, and not only did he have rather a lot of two-stroke Suzuki parts, but also a lot of air-cooled Kawasaki bits too. Somewhat conveniently, a friend was also having a clear-out of a hardtailed Z650 frame and rear mudguard so Tony decided to, rather than just get rid of stuff, do a deal on the frame, and build a complete bike.

The next step was, as he puts it, “just grabbing bits from the parts unit and throwing them at the frame”. The wheels are SR650 (the factory custom variant of the Z650), the yokes were originally on a GPz1100 A2 streetfighter, and were machined to suit 41mm GTR1000 forks with KLE500 stanchions to give some extra length, and a pair of Triumph Trident 900 calipers were, with a couple of adaptor plates made by CCR’s mechanic Martin, bolted on to them. He now had a rolling chassis that had a nice stance (the rear fatbob-type mudguard already fitted had struts that only needed a few minor modifications to look right), so some thought then went into finding a tank that suited the look. They tried all sorts, peanut tanks, Sportsters etc., but nothing looked right until Kev the laminator found his old Honda CM200 tank – it proved to have the ideal proportions, and only required a little bit of brazing/filling before it’d fit just so.

A four-cylinder Z750 engine was bolted in (essentially a bored-out Z650), fuelled by a bank of carbs that originally saw life on a Z1000J, now equipped with CCR bell-mouths, and burnt hydrocarbons exit via a set of stainless Delkevic downpipes allied to a one-off slash-cut silencer can (more like a ‘pencil pipe’ of the Seventies, rather than a true exhaust ‘can’). Internally baffled, it’s actually far less offensive than a Piper or Alpha of the era, with a pleasing tone that’s still loud enough to let bystanders know it’s there.

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With the chopper profile sorted (including the drag ’bars on tall risers), the only thing now required was an eye-catching paint job. Tony does all the paint for the Complete Cafe Racer projects, and he spent over a week on the paint alone, laying down the heavily flaked silver base coat, adding the black shading and detailing, and the three different greens (candy/moss/emerald), and finishing off by using more than a gallon and a half of lacquer! It’s little wonder that the paint looks deep enough to swim in! Even in the moodily lit cattle halls of Stoneleigh Park, the ’flake shines through, and to see this bike in bright summer sunshine’d put one’s retinas at serious risk!

The build was, he says, fairly straightforward, with no nasty surprises or problems, as everything was done in-house – as one of Tony’s customers once pointed out, despite the company name, “Complete Cafe Racers don’t just build cafe racers, they build cool bikes.”

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