Oily Rag Kz400 Tracker
By Gareth Charlton - 18 Jul 14
Oily Rag proved there was much more to their repertoire than producing top quality motorcycle themed clothing when they created their flagship Triumph Bobber back in 2013. Now the Cotswold based brand have once again stepped away from the haberdashery and back into the Shed to produce their second stunning custom build. As with their T-shirts, Oily Rag have refused to pigeon hole their biking pleasure; bobbers, cafe racers, scramblers and trackers all feature in their great designs. This cracking little Kwacker tracker now provides them with a completely alternative ride for when the roads turn to tracks and their hard tail Trumpet can go no further. "I’d always fancied a Harley XR750 but with the silly prices they go for, that just wasn’t an option." says David Sutton, Oily Rag Owner and Chief Designer. So with flat track style and a tight budget in mind David took to ebay where he uncovered this 1977 Z400, dismantled and in boxes, with a few bits and pieces absent. The Zed set him back a mere two-hundred and forty pounds, or about one percent of the price of that dream Harley Davidson XR750. David had been a fan of the green machines from the land of the rising sun since first he took to two wheels aboard a trusty Kawasaki AE50. "Of course there was only one colour she could be." With style and colour decided David set to the nitty gritty of the fabrication work. "I am passionate about design, whether it be designing an item of clothing or a motorcycle". His attention to detail and eye for the completed product is plainly evident in the finished bike which he exhibited in all its glory at BSMC 3. It yearns to be ridden every bit as much in the metal as in the pictures. "The frame was chopped off and shortened at the back and all brackets and unimportant parts were cut off." David avoided the route of bolting on an XR replica tail piece, instead opting for a more classic seat. The rear end may hint at twin shock motocross style, but the bike as a whole screams of dirt ovals. A Kawasaki 250 tank with a DT175 bung welded in to allow for fitment of an 80’s screw in petrol cap exhibits the lengths David went too in the pursuit of his desired details. "High ride pipes were made by a specialist to give her that McQueen look. The front mudguard was cut down and an alloy trials mudguard was used on the back." On a bike designed to get dirty chrome was considered misplaced so the wheels were sent to Central Wheel Components who applied a “chrome powder-coat” which dulled them down. Honda motocross foot pegs were grafted on along with a custom bash plate cut with a bespoke Oily Rag design. Fripperies such as lights and clocks were done away with in exchange for the ultimate cleanliness of a flat track front end and a daylight MOT. The only electrics present are merely those required to turn her on and off. The side panels proudly bear the Oily Rag monicker and no doubt remind David to get back to work after his ride. Builds of this quality show that Oily Rag are far more than a manufacturer of trendy T's. They are a brand evolved from their true love of bikes and riding. It is unlikely that you will wrestle this machine from Davids' skilled hands, so the Vintage Kwacka Works T that he has made to match will have to do. We look forward to seeing the inevitable next bike from David, and the threads too!