Rebels Uncaged: The Kawasaki KZR-1

Classified Moto's Rebel Yell giveaway bike

Classified Moto's KZR-1
Classified Moto's KZR-1Rebel Yell

Commisioned by Rebel Yell Bourbon, the Rylands and company at Classified set out to build a bike with a rowdy attitude that could make its way cross country. Not the easiest of tasks, considering the signature aesthetic style of the Richmond-based shop. To get the best of both worlds in looks and usability, they chose a 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000 as the base of their build—a bike near and dear to their hearts because of its prominence in the original “Mad Max” film.

“Our style is sort of a Mad Max apocalyptic style,” explained John Ryland, founder of the Richmond-based shop. “Part of that is from when I was first starting out. I couldn’t make it nice and neat, so I would play up the rough part and art direct it. It had a style to it even though it wasn’t super polished.”

Classified Moto's KZR-1
Classified Moto's KZR-1Rebel Yell

A quintessential classic muscle with a powerful 1000cc engine, the old Kawi sports an upright riding position with wide, girder-style handlebars and canvas fairing. Dual sport tires allow for kicking up dust…when necessary.

The rear subframe has been shortened with a new hoop welded into place, and finished in matte black to give the bike a tough looking skeleton. And the custom pan was upholstered by Roy Baird for a vintage utilitarian look reminiscent of a WWII messenger bike.

Up front, the bike features an inverted fork setup from a later model Yamaha R1. And at the back, Progressive Suspension 970 Series shocks for a smooth ride. All on top of custom Sun alloy rims and polished original KZ hubs, with R1 calipers to haul ’em.

Classified Moto's KZR-1
Classified Moto's KZR-1Rebel Yell

Other features include upgraded engine electronics, a full stainless four-into-one exhaust, diamond-pattern waxed canvas and leather storage bag, an Acewell digital gauge, and a powerful Shorai Lithium Ion Battery. All coming together for a loud bike with a lot of character and a definite tendency to zig when others zag.

“There is no rule book in this shop,” said Danik Herashchanka, lead tech. “Here, we’re pretty much breaking all the rules. We just do our own thing…whatever looks good. And then we try and make it functional.”

The KZR-1 was built as a part of the Rebels Uncaged motorcycle giveaway sponsored by Rebel Yell Bourbon, the Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that encourages its drinkers to never go quietly. It is one of four bikes up for grabs, and you can enter daily for a chance to win it at RebelsUncaged.com now through September 30, 2016.

Classified Moto's KZR-1
Classified Moto's KZR-1Rebel Yell
Classified Moto's KZR-1
Classified Moto's KZR-1Rebel Yell