Make some noize for the Kawasaki H1 that did not race at Glemseck


Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
The Glemseck 101 is the European occasion for anybody who loves quick, impractical, and extremely imaginative machines. Those that partake in it accomplish that with cult-like ranges of obsession—returning 12 months after 12 months in a bid to outdo one another and themselves.

Rolf Reick is an everyday face on the Glemseck 101. Primarily based in Heidelberg, Germany, the perpetually cheerful industrial designer heads up a design faculty within the close by city of Mannheim. However he additionally has years of expertise constructing customized bikes—like this wild Kawasaki H1 two-stroke—underneath the banner of Krautmotors.

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
Rolf has stockpiled a lot of rad bits and items over time. So he set himself a aim of constructing a drag bike for this 12 months’s Glemseck 101 utilizing solely recycled elements from his private stash, turning to exterior sources solely when needed. (It’s not the primary time he’s used this method.)

One of many elements that Ralf already had available was the triple-cylinder two-stroke engine from a Kawasaki H1 Mach III; the unique ‘Widowmaker.’ But it surely was removed from inventory. It had beforehand been rebuilt by the Kawasaki specialist Ralf Gille, with a number of upgrades that included in depth head work, a brand new crankshaft, and a set of Mikuni carbs.

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
All Ralf wanted now was a body to stay it into. One of many Glemseck 101’s flagship races is the StarrWars dash, which is proscribed to rigid-framed bikes solely. Rolf had lengthy needed to construct a Kawasaki triple to tackle StarrWars, and this was the right alternative.

And not using a appropriate body in inventory, Rolf took to the web. He quickly discovered a inflexible body constructed for a Yamaha XS650 engine, and priced low-cost as a result of, as he says, “the steering head pointed in a distinct course than the remainder of the body.”

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
A buddy with a body jig helped Rolf therapeutic massage the chassis right into a usable kind. Subsequent, Rolf welded within the engine mounts from a bent Kawasaki H1 body, then turned new bearing cups in order that he may set up a set of Kawasaki KH500 forks that he had mendacity round. The 19” entrance and 16” rear wheels additionally got here from Rolf’s inventory, however the latter wanted a brand new axle and spacers to suit the body.

The bodywork is a cocktail of things from numerous sources. The tiny gas tank is a classic Victoria half, whereas the rear cowl is one thing {that a} elements supplier put aside for Rolf again within the 90s, figuring out that it could enchantment to his style. The fairing was pieced collectively from a Monza-style higher part and the decrease half of a Habermann fairing.

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
Rolf stored rummaging by containers, producing the bike’s foot pegs, paddock stand spindles, and nearly each different half wanted to finish the construct. The ‘clip-ons’ use a set of hacked-up handlebars on recycled clip-on mounts, and the exhaust is an outdated Denco system. The one new elements on this construct are the battery and chain.

With some deft wiring work, Rolf’s Kawasaki H1 sprinter was nearly able to race. All he wanted was an acceptable livery—the one factor you possibly can’t skimp on should you’re planning to show heads at Glemseck.

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
“My first large bike was pink,” Rolf tells us. “At 18, my favourite shade was pink. At the moment my bass guitar was pink, my girlfriend knitted me pink issues, and I even had a pink helmet with hair right down to my belt. Truck drivers whistled at me, and the police have been too embarrassed to cope with me.”

“Then got here black bikes for some time—one in ‘pleasant black,’ one other in ‘youthful black,’ and one more in ‘life-affirming black.’ However in some unspecified time in the future, I needed a pink bike once more, and this was precisely the precise time. The design is predicated on the racing Kawasakis of the 70s, simply with pink as an alternative of inexperienced.”

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
The saying goes that should you’re going to indicate up at a race in pink, you’d higher be quick. However sadly, Rolf’s Kawasaki H1 by no means made it to Glemseck.

“It was not completed in time,” he confesses. “I screwed round till the evening earlier than the race, but it surely wouldn’t work, so I took my rigid-framed BMW as an alternative. It was painful to not end in time—it’s the primary time it’s occurred to me.”

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors
“Anyway, life goes on,” he provides. “Now I’ve one other 12 months to optimize it.”

Krautmotors | Fb | Instagram | Photos by, and with particular because of, Marc Holstein

Kawasaki H1 drag bike by Krautmotors