Le French Atelier are a bunch of creative young Frenchman who’ve put together some fantastic customs over the last few years and we particularly enjoyed the bikes they exhibited at Bike Shed Paris 2015. For this year’s show the guys returned with a couple of crowd pleasers and a freshly completed project, this handsome Kawasaki Zephyr 750.
Mid-nineties four-bangers aren’t my area of expertise but it does seem slightly churlish that Kawasaki’s air/oil cooled beefcakes are shunned by the current custom scene in favour of Honda’s omnipresent CB. Most builds start with a client and this one had specified a squat and compact machine that maintained the original tank.
A decent 750 from 1996 was sourced and subjected to a complete undressing. The blasted frame was de-tabbed and looped at the rear, standard fare these days but the finish is neat. The customer wanted a practical ride to use everyday so a skinny style-seat wouldn’t do. A thick saddle sits within the frame rails rather than flush to keep proportions as slim as possible and allowing for city traffic foot-paddling.
A simple, hand-rolled rear fender should keep all but the worst roost from flicking up the rider’s back and a machined LED taillight was made in-house. Overall nothing radical was chosen by the client but LFA are fastidious about fit and finish. Every single fastener was either replaced or removed and polished. And anything that wasn’t buffed has been painted in lustrous gloss black. Apart from the wheel rims and forks, these were powder coated for longevity.
The engine didn’t escape unscathed either. That’s been blasted and painted in low-sheen black as background for the mirror polished side cases and cam covers. Countersunk speed holes suggest at least a nod towards raciness.
Velocity stacks, polished of course, and new exhausts assist breathing and ensure that the manufacturer’s original power figure of 71hp is still relevant. The donor was a low-mileage and well looked after example so internal fettling wasn’t on the agenda.
The handlebar clamp was rebated to accept a particularly small array of warning lights and the gaudy clock setup was binned in favour of a single digital/analog unit. A mini Bates style headlight reduces the frontal bulk and suggests a more svelte silhouette.
So, there we have it. No attempt has been made to break new ground with this build but the LFA crew have delivered on a customer’s brief with a bike that’s perfect for stylishly scything through Parisienne gridlock. And it looked right at home on their stand at this year’s Bike Shed Paris show. We hope to see more from them next spring.
Photos by Vincent Amar