The London artist Stevie Gee was introduced to us at Sideburn magazine by our mutual friend, Death Spray Custom. After a few years of meeting up places and doing the odd thing together, we decided to embark on a major project that would include an art show, magazine feature, T-shirt design, sticker graphics and a motorcycle, this motorcycle. Stevie would look after the art side of everything, Sideburn would organise the building of the bike. At first we considered trying to get hold of a cheap Japanese or Chinese 125, then Stevie’s dad donated this Kawasaki Z200 that he’d owned since the 1980s.
It was in a very sorry state when we dropped it off with Carl at CFM, Lincolnshire, but nothing we couldn’t remedy. CFM has built both Sideburn’s previous project bikes (Honda FT500 and Royal Enfield) and does a great job at a very good price. He’s used to working with tight budgets.
The little Zed was stripped before the frame was de-lugged and sent with the wheels and some other components to be powder-coated. Front disc was drilled with the bike’s name – Slacker, and tank was modified to take a Monza cap. The engine was given a once over and cleaned, while the seat was recovered by CFM, half zig-zags, half-straight lines, to echo the schizophrenic paintjob Stevie had planned.
Shocks came from Hagon; Mushman pegs and Kung-Fu grips from Biltwell, while bars, sprockets and chain are Renthal. Stevie was set on the Vincent-style repro back light. Tyres are Maxxis M6006 to give the chunky off-road feel of the bikes Stevie saw when he was artist in residence at Deus Ex Machina in Bali. Carl found some suitable brakes in a pile of his spares to uprate the weak, original cable-operated disc calipers, and moved the ignition to the redundant rev counter’s body.
The amazing stainless steel exhaust was made by Co-Built. The silencer is hidden behind the sidepanel then its splits into two tailpipes, under the seat, each with a different slash-cut, again to reinforce the two sides of the bike.
Those two sides – one black, one rainbow – represent two bike gangs – The Slackers and the Sleaze Bandits, that feature in Stevie’s art.
For the full story on Stevie, the Sleaze Bandits and the project, check out Sideburn 15.
These studio shots were taken by top bike photographer Paul Bryant (who works for magazines around the world, including MCN, PB, Bike and Café Racer). He is offering a service to photograph owner’s bikes in his private studio in Bourne, Lincolnshire. Contact him at HERE
Words by Gary [email protected]