The Zed…

This middleweight of the 70’s outsold the Honda CBs of the time, and although most models were as barebones as they could make them, this build went even further.


What was just a pile of parts in boxes when it arrived on the doorstep of David Sutton, the owner of Oily Rag, was a 1977 KZ400. But with a vision of flattracking an XR750 and inspiration from vintage motocross, he turned this into a balanced dream machine of the dirt.


After the engine was pieced together and given a though going over, high pipes were custom made in the image of Steve McQueen desert sleds. Although the lines of the original tank are clean, to change it up, a Kawasaki 250 tank was substituted and modified. The tank’s fuel cap is actually a 1980’s screw-style that needed a DT175 bung welded in to allow for fitment.


The frame was then chopped short at the back and any frame brackets that weren’t going to be used ground off clean. After considering a XR replica tail, David decided for the more classic separate seat accompanied by an alloy trials fender. The original front fender was then cut down to match the styling.


A bold number ‘7’ racing plate has been used at the front while oval shaped side covers added with the ‘Oily Rag’ name used instead of the number. The electrics, lights and gauges have all been minimized or done away with and what’s been left is just enough to start her up and keep her barely legal. Because the bike is intended to take the rough stuff, a custom skid plate has been added along with Honda motocross foot pegs.


Then to handle the extra abuse, the wheels have been chrome powder coated then wrapped in vintage style H-03 tyres for both performance and looks. Finally a classic Kawasaki racing green paint job was applied. Of course.


Overall, there is a unique flattrack/motocross hybrid feel to this custom, and it’s clear that everything has been built with a purpose in mind. Find more of me on Facebook and Instagram.

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