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Danger Zone: Federal Moto’s Kawasaki GPz1100

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
The year is 1986, and Tom Cruise is playing Maverick in Top Gun—flying an F-14 Tomcat by day and tearing around on a Kawasaki GPZ900R by night.

If you fell in love with that film and the bike ridden by its motorcycle-mad star, you’re not alone. “We all know that movie,” says Michael Muller of Federal Moto. “And we always knew that when Federal Moto built its first custom sportbike, we’d need the beefiest bad boy of the 80s: the GPz1100.”

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
The GPz1100 was the older, bigger brother of the Ninja 900, and the Chicago shop managed to secure a 1984 model. “It came to us bone stock,” says Muller. “With 120 hp, 73 foot pounds of torque, and a top speed of 135 mph [217 kph].”

“The commission came from an 80s kid,” says Muller. “He’s based out of Ohio and only swears by Kawasakis and KTMs. He is very excited for his Federal Moto custom.”

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
‘Danger Zone’ was an opportunity to blood Federal’s newest family member, mechanical engineer Desmond DiGiovanni. “He was an obvious hire and really took this build to the next level with 3D printing, water-jetting and digital design work,” says Muller.

“It’s nice to have to make a part only once now, after the measurements are rendered digitally. Damn kids these days!”

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
Muller, longstanding tech David Pecaro and DiGiovanni decided to strip the GPz right back, and go for a sleeker, more aerodynamic look to match the bruising performance. “In our opinion it has too much ‘baggage’,” says Muller.

Taking off the bodywork was only the start, though—there’s a ton of work gone into this stunning machine.

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
The engine has been treated to a top-end rebuild back to OEM specs, a rack of four Mikuni carbs from an ’84 KZ1000, and stainless steel velocity stacks with 3D printed top covers.

The mighty mill is now Cerakoted for protection, with polished aluminum covers. The header pipes have been finished in Cerakote too, and are terminated with Cone Engineering’s ‘Big Mouth’ stainless steel mufflers.

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
There’s a custom tray right behind the carburetors, which is home to an Antigravity AG-1201 ‘small case’ lithium-ion 12-cell battery. It feeds a Dyna electronic ignition system and Motogadget m.unit control box, and stays charged thanks to a lithium-spec regulator/rectifier combo from Rick’s Motorsport Electrics.

Other Motogadget goodies include a Motoscope Pro gauge, a remote m.lock 
ignition system, and classy m.switch push buttons on the new clip-on bars.

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
If the tank looks vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s from a modern Honda CB1100—with a custom gas cap added for a personalized touch. The rest of the bodywork is custom fabricated though, using computer modeling and 3D printing

There’s plenty of sweet custom fabrication here too, including the tail unit, side covers and headlight housing. The rear subframe and its new supports are hand fabricated, along with the 18-gauge steel seat pan (with electronics hidden below). The rest was 3D printed by Custom Color 3D printing in Chicago.

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
As well as the custom LED headlight unit with integrated turn signals, new boy Desmond DiGiovanni also designed the solid rear wheel 
panels, which were water jet cut for installation.

The brakes have been upgraded to modern tech, with CNC’d front and rear rotors, new Goodridge lines, and a Tokico four-piston setup at the front.

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
The entire front end is a transplant, with Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa forks (anodized gloss black) hooked up via a steering stem and upper triple tree from Cognito Moto. Cognito also supplied a custom hub to attach the 18-inch Excel front rim.

It’s all pulled together with deep, glossy black paint designed by Chris Paluch and shot by NSD Paintwerks—with an added hint of classic Kawasaki green.

Channeling Top Gun: A custom Kawasaki GPz1100 from Federal Moto
The seat is an understated work of art too, upholstered by Dane Utech in black leather and suede supplied by the high-end leather specialist Relicate.

The bike was wheeled out in front of the camera before Federal were able to add a few finishing touches, such as a Brembo RCS front master cylinder and Motogadget mirrors.

But we’ll happily take it as it is. And we reckon Maverick would approve as well.

Federal Moto | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Daniel Peter | Video by Ben Petty

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