Kosmosaki/ Kawasaki KZ1000 Chopper | Street Chopper

Kosmosaki/ Kawasaki KZ1000 Chopper

Arresting Development

A year or so after selling the Pink Taco bike, I knew I wanted to build another bike; I just wasn't sure what to start with. My buddy Alex found a 1981 KZ1000 police bike next to a shop in Elsinore, California, and said the guy would take $200 for it. I couldn't pass up a donor bike that was so cheap, so an hour later it was in my garage.

The plan was to build something with what I had learned from the last two bikes. The pink bike was crazy looking but not the most comfortable to ride for long distances. I put a few hundred miles on it one day, and I figured out why those style bikes aren't ridden much. The uni-body construction made for a super-stiff ride. So I knew I needed to do something more like the Funkenstein Honda I have. I got ahold of Paul at Spitfire Motorcycles, and he was in for the frame and girder front end. He also happened to be sitting on a set of 85th anniversary H-D wheels I had been hunting for just for this project. Once that was all set McGoo and I did the usual cardboard pattern brainstorm in my garage. The tailsection came together pretty easily. The tank wasn't as easy though. After spending all the time making the pattern, it just looked like another Denver's style tank that had been done before. After a break, I spun the tank around backward on the frame as a joke, and there it was! It completely changed everything. I added two small sections on the front of the bottom to hold some more gas, and it was good to go. All the sheet metal was bent over a 1-inch-thick tabletop I have in the garage with C-clamps and angle iron. My buddy Renato taught me this method and was here to help out. Crude, but it works when you are working with a bunch of straight angles.

About this time I was with Lisa at the Cycle Lodge. Mike Davis asked if I would like to be a Born-Free 5 builder. I had been building it pretty slowly at this point and thought the show would be the kick in the ass to get it finished. Little did I know the insanity of finishing something like this under a deadline would be. After all the sheet metal was finished, it was on to making pipes with a few Biltwell exhaust kits, foot controls, etc. A weekend trip to Cole Foster's place to hang out resulted in the stainless Z-bars. I measured for throttle and clutch cables, and it all came apart.

It's the most comfortable, rigid bike I've ever built and it's scary fast

The sheet metal headed to Pete “Hotdog” Finlan. I picked the main hues from House of Kolor and just said I wanted it to look like an '80s drag car. As with everything he does, he went way beyond my expectations. While he had the paint, I pulled the motor completely apart. I had talked to Jay Eshbach at APE, and they were on for boring the motor for the Wiseco big-bore kit, mildly porting and rebuilding the heads, cams, springs, etc. When I got it back, it was art. After having the crank welded and the cases cleaned, it was time to assemble it. I've been in a bunch of motors but never completely put one together. Replacing absolutely everything with new parts and taking my time with a factory manual made it nice. After bolting in the Rick's Motorsports Electrics charging system, Keihin CR carbs from Sudco, and Dynatek ignition, it was time to see if I had done it correctly. With a garage full of people it started right up. While everyone did the usual high-fives, I stood there not believing it was actually running. I didn't have the seat covered yet, so I placed a towel over the electric box, and it was time for a ride. Everything worked first shot luckily. From the Mad Jap rear brakes with EBC stainless rotors to the Joker Machine hand controls, it was all good.

The Dakota Digital gauge is a first on a bike for me also. I wired every option in it, and they all work. It's a speedometer, tach, odometer, tripmeter, turn-signal indicator, oil pressure, and neutral light. I foamed and sewed up a leather seat about a week and a half before Born-Free and got it registered and insured. I had probably 50 careful miles on it when the show came around. Since then I've been riding it more. My buddy Rico and I took a trip up to Cole's place a few weeks back, and I rode this. Eight hundred and fifty miles and it didn't miss a beat. It also didn't pass any gas station. Sixty-six and a half miles and you're taking a break whether you're ready or not. It's exactly what I wanted to accomplish. It's the most comfortable, rigid bike I've ever built for both Lisa and me. It handles good, stops good, and it's scary fast-the quickest thing I've ever ridden.

I couldn't have done it without the help of all the companies and people listed in the tech sheet. It also wouldn't have ever happened without the help of my wife, Lisa, with her never-ending parts chasing. My son, Wayne, and my friends McGoo, Alex, Renato, Chris, Cole, and everyone else who came by for help or just to hang out, offering encouragement. Also, Mike and Grant from Born-Free for the kick in the ass to finish this thing. I had a great time, and I brought home the bike I've always wanted from their show.

Owner Duane Ballard
Shop Duane Ballard Custom Leather
Website dbcustomleather.com
Year/Make/Model 1981 KZ1000 Police Special
Fabrication Friends and me
Build Time 9 months
Year Manufacturer 1981/Kawasaki 1075
Cases Stock
Cylinders Stock bored by APE
Heads APE
Rocker Boxes CCE
Air Cleaner K&N
Exhaust Custom using Biltwell exhaust kit
Transmission Stock
Year/Manufacturer/Type 1981/5-speed
Clutch EBC
Year/Manufacturer 2012/Spitfire
Rake/Stretch 48º/2 in.
Front Spitfire Girder
Length 10 in. over
Wheels and Tires
Front H-D 85th anniversary wheel
Tire/Size 90x90-19
Rear H-D 85th anniversary wheel
Tire/Size 130x90-16
Manufacturer House of Kolor
Painter Pete “Hotdog” Finlan
Plating/Polishing Caltron
Powdercoating LK Fab
Rear Fender Friends and me
Gas Tank Friends and me
Handlebars Stainless steel, Cole and me
Headlight Old NOS Sears eBay find
Taillight Joker Machine
License Mount Joker Machine
Seat Duane Ballard Custom Leather