There is a pressure in the automotive world of Japan that those outside of the country will probably never fully understand. Perfection is not just something to strive for, but a standard one must achieve to become a mainstay of the industry. From the likes of JUN and HKS in the car scene to Yoshimura in the bike world, their work is of such standing that the major manufacturers still call on them for help. But many of these firms aren’t known outside of Japan and one such company is Auto Magic in Chiba prefecture. Here they can simply do it all, and when a customer had an unsatisfactory experience with his KZ1000 at another shop, he turned to the wizards for some true Kawasaki magic.
Under the watchful eye of founder and lead engineer, Misao Araki, Auto Magic has been in operation since 1988. It really is a one-stop shop, with bike sales, custom parts, race bike preparation, and full custom builds all on offer. Like many of the best Japanese workshops, they specialise in retro-modding some of the country’s best bikes of old. But Araki-San also has a flair for both the creative and the extreme, having shown his ability to go all out with an incredible Ducati 748R fitted with a Honda six-cylinder engine.
So the owner knew the possibilities for his KZ were endless if he came to Auto Magic, but first the bike had gone elsewhere. To you and me, the original build was by no means a bad thing, in fact, I can’t actually see a problem with it. It had a built engine, gorgeous bodywork, and the best in suspension and braking. But the owner just didn’t feel it, so it was over to Araki-San in the pursuit of perfection. All of the goodies were pulled off the bike, every part catalogued and label until all that was left was the bare frame.
Into the chassis room of the big workshop and a set of lasers was run over the factory Kawasaki steel; the frame was bent. This is not at all uncommon on older bikes and doesn’t have to be from an accident. With a significant increase in power and the suspension and tyres to pull bigger G’s, the factory metal often folds. So the solution was simple, the frame would be cut up, realigned, and then totally rebuilt with the stressed sections made from Auto Magic’s own “custom-made seamless chromoly-based special tube.”
With the bare bones sorted, attention turned to the pivot point of the swingarm and extra bracing was added to the area Araki-San calls a motorcycles navel. This allowed for the stunning alloy swingarm that had come with the bike to be refitted and correctly aligned so that no unnecessary twisting force was sent through the frame when power is applied. The engine case went back in the bike for proper chain alignment and the suspension is kitted out with a set of Ohlins fully adjustable rear shocks and Ohlins forks upfront, that slide through a set of custom triple trees.
The tins were next on the list and very quickly the aircraft-grade paint stripper was sprayed onto the custom lime green paint laid down by the last shop. Back to bare metal and the tank, side covers and tail section were treated to a timeless gunmetal finish, with black highlights and NOS badges for the ultimate in resto-mod aesthetics. The front mudguard is a custom carbon fibre piece that can be bought directly from Auto Magic, and the factory seat had the base restored before it was re-foamed and covered to look factory fresh.
Building race engines is all in a day’s work in this building and the Kawasaki gets the best of everything internally, as well as a new oiling system and cooler to keep the heat under control. To help make the most of the modifications on the inside, a bank of Yoshimura carbs not only helps to increase horsepower but drastically improves throttle response. On the other side of the engine, a full titanium system keeps the weight as low as possible and looks a million dollars expelling the gases from an Auto Magic muffler.
The supporting components are all high end too, keen eyes will have noticed a full hydraulic clutch conversion has been performed. With the second of the master cylinders on the bars now sending power to race-spec AP calipers and wave style disc rotors. The wheels are lightweight magnesium and that purpose-built swingarm allows for a superbike-esque 200 section rear tyre to ensure every last pulse of power gets to the road.
The bike that rolled into Auto Magic was good, and a lot of money had been spent. But experience and an absolute commitment to perfection mean Araki-San sends home another customer with a killer Kwaka that’s wanting for nothing.
[ Auto Magic ]