Kawasaki GPz900R by AC Sanctuary

Kawasaki GPz900R
There’s a small list of landmark motorcycles: those that moved the game forward, upsetting expectations and changing the market for ever. In the 1980s, one of those bikes was the Kawasaki GPz900R.

This immaculate resto-mod from Tokyo’s AC Sanctuary is a reminder of how good that bike was. For starters, it was lighter than the competition, had equal power from a smaller engine, and was the first production bike to top 150 mph (240 kph).

Kawasaki GPz900R
Never mind that the engine was temperamental, the carbs iced over and the choke operated on a hair-trigger. The GPz900R could smoke every other bike on the road.

Kawasaki GPz900R
This AC Sanctuary GPz900R is even faster, though: The Japanese performance junkies have upgraded virtually every component on the bike, while keeping its looks and essential character. That means a crate-load of top shelf Nitro Racing parts, including frame strengthening, hand controls and the entire exhaust system.

The 16-valve water-cooled engine has been rebuilt and blueprinted, and Öhlins suspension fitted both front and back. The brakes are now a mix of Brembo, Nissin and Sunstar components, and the 17” wheels are from OZ racing.

Kawasaki GPz900R
The sweet spot of popularity for customs is still a few years behind the era of bikes like the GPz900R, but it will surely catch up soon. Treat this one as being a little ahead of the curve—and way ahead of most retro superbikes in the performance stakes.

Hit the Archives to read our coverage of previous AC Sanctuary builds. For a completely different take on a custom GPz900R, check out the Icon 1000 Old Ghost.

Kawasaki GPz900R