Friday, June 10, 2016

Sacrilège: A Kawasaki Z1000ST Of Biblical Proportions

Ed Turner is one of Europe’s most extreme custom workshops. Owner Karl Renoult has a very clear and unapologetic vision: he builds each bike with “the sole purpose of giving it character and attitude.”This is Karl’s most outré creation yet, a Kawasaki Z1000ST heavy on biblical references and christened Ezechiel 21, ‘The Sword.’

The Z1000ST is interesting enough in its own right—35 years ago, it was Kawasaki’s first shaft-drive motorcycle, and pumped out a solid 93 horses. But it was also a little staid. And that’s like a red rag to a bull for Karl.The project was commissioned by Grégoire, a man counting his blessings after surviving the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

“He decided that his dreams had to be achieved in his lifetime,” says Karl. “After two or three phone calls, we had the outline of the project.”Grégoire wanted a machine with a powerful-looking frame, a springer front end, and beautiful finishes. The Z1000ST was chosen, largely for its powerful engine—this allowed Karl to devote most of the budget (“not crazy, but comfortable”) to the design.

The chassis took shape rapidly, with a sleeker profile at the back. But Karl resisted the temptation to mess too much with the stock wheels: “I find them pretty cool when polished and adapted to the CBR forks.”The Honda forks have been ‘emptied and springerized’ using custom dampers built by Shaft Racing. It’s a most unusual setup; the suspension duties have been moved from the fork springs to the shock nestling between the yokes.

“For this step, I admit I used some sketches—and even some math,” says Karl. “Not my habit!”“But as usual, surrounded by my mates Joe, Mikael and Gael, we tinkered with this thing and it works pretty well.”

Other cues come from the American vintage drag scene. Notably the proportions of the tires: an Avon 5.25/5.50 17-inch car tire at the rear, and a 3.25 18-inch Speedmaster Mk II rib tire at the front.Everything else is kept to the minimum—specifically, a tank that does not exceed five liters in capacity, and a microscopic brake light and flashers under the custom saddle, masterfully crafted by Red’s Leather.

“Restricted by the wallet, we were unable to satisfy all our pretensions for the preparation of the engine,” Karl says. “We had to play another card…”It was time for divine intervention, so Karl chose a few lines of Ezekiel 21 from the Old Testament to decorate the tank. “A rather creepy passage which speaks of a sword sharpened and polished—and a God who, for once, seems really pissed off and ready to fight.”

To complete The Sword, Karl called in extra manpower from the Breton artisans at Stick Your Cycles. They helped fabricated the bars and the stainless steel exhaust, and refinished the engine cases in green.After several months of work, the Kawasaki was finally ready to hit the autoroute.

Karl handed it over with a message to his client: “Greg, you run faster than bullets. Now let’s see what you can do behind the handlebars.”Amen to that.
Ed Turner | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Francois Richer
Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.
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