BMW Motorrad Spezial

Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer

Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer
In the 70s and 80s, Georges Martin was one of Europe’s most prolific frame and component manufacturers. Based in Les Sables-d’Olonne, a picturesque seaside town in western France, he built almost 6,000 frames for custom and racing motorcycles. He’s still an iconic figure on the continental scene, and this new café racer is a tribute to his skills. It was built by Alain Bernard of Santiago Chopper to rekindle his old passions of racing motorcycles and Kawasaki in particular. The frame is an original 70s Martin frame; Moto Martin bikes were usually powered by uprated Kawasaki, Honda or Suzuki engines, so Bernard has chosen a Kawasaki Z1000 motor.

The front end, swingarm and 17” wheels are from a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R, while the seat is a Benelli item. The bike replicates the squared-off, chunky look of an original Martin tank, but the Breitling-themed paint is a distinctly modern touch—Bernard has built a motorcycle in the past for the owner of the Swiss watchmaker brand. Look out for this cafe racer on Discovery Channel in October, and it will be sold at auction to raise money for the charity Curing Kids’ Cancer.

With thanks to Erick Runyon of Choppershotz.

Photographer’s note: These images were shot with a Nikon D3, with 700-200 F2.8VR and 27-80 F2.8 lenses. The shots were lit with the Nikon CLS lighting system, consisting of one SU800, two SB800s and four SB600s. No Pocket Wizards or Radio Poppers were used during the shoot.

Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer
Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer
Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer

  • Great color scheme. I dig that it’s a tribute or homage. (nitpick: I always wonder about putting the words “Cafe Racer” on a cafe racer. Is it like a chopper having the word, “Chopper” painted on it?) Nice build nonetheless.

  • whitebear

    Overall, a very nice looking bike, but that hydraulic fluid reservoir sort of popping up in the middle of the bars is like a finger in the eye – maybe it could be lowered or tucked out of the way somewhere on the frame?

    I’d still ride it!

  • bob

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a Winner!!!!

  • Love it!

  • If that alternator stuck out a couple more inches, you could toss away the side stand.

    The ‘Monsteresque’ Martin trellis-frame shouldn’t work with the Kwacker’s inline multi…but it does. Brilliant grafting on the modern GSXR bits and keeping the lines clean. Damn dawg! Why are cafe’ racers so cool?

  • Love it….except for the ‘cafe racer’ badge.

    I’ve seen a more standard Z1000 with a beautifully fabricated straight beam swing arm, described in PB mag as ‘looking like the rear guns of a Lancaster Bomber’. I reckon this could do with a similar less moulded/less modern article.

    …Still, I love it!

  • …and spoked wheels?

  • Benelli seat? Looks suspiciously like a SS Ducati to me.

  • Aaron Burke

    Bloody nice bike. The grafting of the mono-shock swingarm looks great! A simple idea that has been excuted overall pretty well.

    The photos look great too! Credit to the shutterman for capturing the highlights of the bike.

  • Bald Shaun

    Awesome mix of styles and components from a few different eras in there, but somehow it all works. Bravo!

  • Very nice mix of old and new. A custom you could ride every day if you were so inclined. Like much.

  • Uuuuuu uaaaaaa! That’s great!!
    Great great great machine!!
    I’ve a Kawa too, I’d like it’s like this.

    But, dear Chris, where do u find this beauties?

  • WRXr

    Cafe racer or monster? Me thinks the latter.

  • D.

    What the-
    That’s the least Z1000 I’ve ever seen.
    But I like it.

  • no

    So THIS is a cafe racer! I was starting to think it had something to do with british bikes from the 60s but I see now it means “crotch rocket with a sticker”.

    Just kidding of course, nice looking bike despite the BS sticker.

  • Yeesh… really?

    the lines are attractive, but the end result looks very poorly built. Taking a nice old race frame, sloppily stuffing in a bunch of streetbike bits, doesn’t come within a mile of anything ‘cafe racer’

    i think if you have to tell everyone it is a cafe racer by tarting it up with stickers, it probably isn’t one. which it obviously isnt. probably not much of a race bike, either.

    Must be a slow day on the internet… definitely not up to the normal bike Exif standards.

  • frannie

    Come on…the tank is crooked and none of the pin stripes line up. That’s just poor form. The upholstery is well done though, the seams on these seats are bitch to do, good job on that.

  • Phil

    OMFG..i’ve just made a mess in my pants. This style of bike was the 80’s step along from what was the 60’s cafe racer brit bikes.
    Take a powerful jap engine and put it in a race frame and throw away all the junk.

    Heres mine..not world class exif material..but it was at least mine.

  • simply great!!!


  • Jeff

    Love the bike… In keeping the with retro styling, I would have considered spoked wheels (either painted or chrome.)

    Where does one find a chassis like that? Anyone fabricating that sort of thing as a routine item? Having not built a bike from the ground up, I began searching for frame options and can not seem to find what I’m looking for…

  • Michael

    This bike is an amazing work of art. You did a great job. One question how did you get your hands on a martin frame?