If you flick through your local classifieds or scroll through eBay, you will surely notice the price of classic bikes is getting out of hand. And it’s no longer simply because they’re desired, the fact is, there are fewer and fewer of these motorcycles left in functional condition. Even the manufacturers are running out of spare parts for these much-beloved machines. It is a problem that Hiroyuki Nakamura of the famed AC-Sanctuary saw coming a mile away. And with demand for his incredible resto-mods only increasing, he’s come up with a solution to a lack of old bikes; build new ones. So, what you see before you might look like a stunning rebuild of a classic Kawasaki GPz900R, but as its name suggests, this Sport Package ‘New’ Type R, is as fresh as a newborn baby.

The truth is, not every manufacturer is in the same position, some clearly made a lot more spare parts than others, while some makers have maintained production right up to this day. With just a week until the Isle of Man TT races commence, Suzuki will field a Superbike wearing their Team Classic colours, all to promote their vintage parts program. Your Suzuki might be forty years old, but if it’s a popular model, you can still get a full catalogue of brand-new parts for it. Kawasaki, like many others, has not done the same, however. So, is it wise to spend big dollars on an old bike if you can’t even get parts to keep it on the road?

Nakamura-san sums it up this way, “not only have prices risen, but the condition of the motorcycles has also deteriorated at the same time, resulting in a contradictory situation in which the bikes are expensive but of poor quality.” And this simply won’t do for a man who prides himself on building the best custom motorcycles money can buy. His solution to the problem was first to buy up as many donors as possible, but now their condition is so bad, he’s turned to building old bikes from new parts, that he and his team make from scratch. These bikes still wear his RCM tag, but now come under the subcategory of being labelled a “New TYPE-R”.

So, to bring a GPz900R to life, essentially all AC-Sanctuary needs is a frame and a set of engine cases, and that makes finding suitable donors a lot easier and a hell of a lot cheaper. The frame really only needs the neck for road registration purposes, everything else is built in a custom jig. The backbone is based on the original round tube, but from the downtubes to the cradle and the centre plates, everything else is precisely pieced together from machined aerograde billet aluminium. Even items like the engine brackets that appear original are in fact made from scratch before the whole thing is given a slick powder coat in black.

The creation of the engine is even more comprehensive, no matter the state, the entire thing is stripped down until you only have a set of cases and covers. These are then reassembled bare, all holes filled and the package is pressure tested to check its overall strength and expose any leaks. The wet bore liners are then pressed out, with new items pressed back in which are machined oversize to accept the new forged pistons. Later model crankshafts are balanced and machined, cylinder heads are built with custom made guides, seats, valves and camshafts and the transmission is rebuilt using gears from later model Ninjas.

It would take a book to deliver all of the details but to show you how serious Nakamura-san is about creating a brilliant product, he wanted a stronger generator chain, so this meant crafting new guides, sprockets and tensioners from scratch. Now with the engine back in the frame, the stock wiring is left in the bin and a loom is built, coils, ignition barrel, a host of WotaniSP-II parts and a modern Ninja fuse box, brand new out of the plastic. Even the assortment of trays and boxes to house these components are made new from aluminium, while the bodywork and seat are all in-house and fresh as a daisy.

Only now can the real fun begin, bolting on all of the amazing parts that make these bikes perform so incredibly well. But half of the bolt-on bits come from the firm’s own Nitro Racing brand, with the swingarm, steering stem, triple clamps, rear sets, handlebars, radiator, exhaust and oil cooler taken straight from their own showroom floor. It is simply incredible what the team at AC-Sanctuary can do, and oh, they even make the side stand. That’s actually a necessary change, with all of their bikes converted to run 17-in OZ Racing forged aluminium wheels, which are then wrapped in modern superbike spec rubber.

As seen on any AC build, you’ll notice that no expense is spared on handling and braking performance, with Ohlins, Sunstar and Brembo supplying a host of their products. But even these come to Nakamura-san having been built to his exacting specification, and the Sunstar drilled discs come complete with the RCM logo stamped in just so you know! Being a resto-mod style of build, AC sources the stock looking lights and indicators from a third party supplier who still makes them new.

The carbon fibre mirrors are the major departure from the stock look, and I’m curious if Nakamura-san makes these himself in a small back office, but I’m almost afraid of the answer! The end result is a Kawasaki that literally performs better than new in every single way and yet still carries that classic style. Having an old donor is no longer an obstacle to owning your dreams, but my bank account certainly is.

[ AC Sanctuary ]