Barreto Moto's Kz400
By Anthony van Someren - 02 Sep 13
Kawasaki's mid-sized Z & KZ series of bikes have spawned dozens of lovely cafe racer and brat style customs, and for good reason. These reliable old-school middleweights are good-looking bikes to start out with. The engine and chassis provide timeless proportions and design, and the twins are pokey and pretty - although a lot harder to find that the inline fours. This one really stood out from the crowd with it's white frame, bare metal tank and military green canvas brat-style seat. The bike has been put together by start-up bike builder Luke Barreto from Boise, ID, who is also good friends with regular Bike Shed contributor Josh Mott. When Luke is building bikes he works under the name Barreto Moto, but as a freelance product designer and custom steel furniture builder he works under the name Barreto Studios. "I'm a 25 year old mechanical engineer who grew up in Oregon working in my parent's manufacturing business. I practically grew up in a machine shop so I've been working with steel my whole life. I became interested in cafe and custom bikes when I was living in Los Angeles a few years ago, and after moving to Boise I rented a small shop and started picking up bikes to work on." "This bike had been sitting in the original owner's garage since the early 90's after he blew up the starter motor. Since it's the 6-speed, electric start only model, he never replaced the starter and it sat ever since. I picked it up on Craigslist earlier this summer and within the first two days had it running, and started stripping it down to the frame. I built a new seat frame and pan, a custom battery box under the seat and a pocket for all the wiring to hide in." "The stock carbs are notorious for not working well with pods and modified exhaust, so I decided to make a single carb manifold for it. I bought a new mikuni VM34 carb and put a shorty 12" muffler on it. The jetting took some effort, but the results are fantastic." "It went through one previous color scheme of black frame with tan leather seat until I decided to strip it again and go with a white/green combo. The tank only one small dent in it, so I stripped it to the steel and did a lightly-brushed look." "I made the seat myself from a surplus military parachute pack. I saw the pack while picking up some camping supplies at a surplus store and instantly thought the straps and stencil letters would make for a perfect seat." Having grown up riding dirtbikes, Luke preferred upswept crosser style bars and the stock footpeg placement. He's recently picked up an '83 Honda XL600/Hayabusa/EX650, nicknamed "Kondazuki", heavily influenced by the KT-600 from the crew at Classified Moto, and this will be his personal bike. This KZ went to a new home over the weekend. Since having the bike for sale Luke has three new local builds getting started, an '81 Virago Cafe with R6 front end swap, a '79 XS400 cafe with a mono-shock conversion - and his new personal bike - an XL600/Hayabusa/EX650. This last bike is nicknamed "Kondazuki" and is heavily influenced by the KT-600 from Classified Moto. We look forward to seeing them all soon on The Bike Shed. Thanks for sharing Luke, and best of luck with the Barreto Moto.