GT-Moto's Kawasaki KZ440

Sometimes it’s just that one little detail that makes you fall for a certain car or motorbike. Take the Volkswagen Beetle for an example; a car many people from around the world love for its unique design. But in my case it was a little detail that made me fall for it as an eight year old, the same detail I always stare at more than thirty years later if I happen to see one.

Back in the days I passed by a pre-67 Beetle (the one with the reclining headlights) every day after school. Although it was always parked beside a Porsche my little button eyes could only stare at that worn out Beetle. But it wasn’t the car as a whole I was marveling at; no it was that little bump over the headlights that got all my attention. This little bulge, probably only there to simplify production processes, still works as a magnet to my eyes today.


Picture by Brandon Lajoie

Eventually the owner of that Beetle took some cash in his hands and treated his car to a new paint job. Few weeks later it came back in Candy Yellow, very hip in the early eighties. Now this made the little bulge over the headlights look like a soft piece of sponge cake to the eight-year old. From that day on he wasn’t staring anymore, no, he was literally drooling every day after school. He would have loved to dig his teeth into that luscious yellow…okay, let’s drop the whole thing. By now you probably think I’m psychologically disturbed anyway.

But now take a look at the rear section of that frame in the picture below, that curve starting behind the engine and going all the way up to the end of the tail….tasty, huh? Oh come on, admit it!


Picture by Brandon Lajoie

Some of you probably know Sofi Tsingos and GT-Moto from Texas. That young lady builds, together with her Dad George, exceptional motorcycles for some time now (take a look at her extraterrestrial Honda CB’s HERE). But when she met Loryn and her KZ she only felt pity for that bike and its poor owner. The Kawa was a heap of junk and Loryn didn’t seem to be aware how risky riding this thing really was.

So Loryn understood that something had to be done and Sofi promised she would make a really nice bike out of the KZ, something that looks as good as it rides. They both agreed with a color scheme, the starting point Sofi needed to build up ideas in her head.


Picture by Brandon Lajoie

Back in the workshop Sofi learned why there are so few builds based on Kawasakis. Getting parts was a real issue and threatened to raise the bill of the bike rapidly. Kawasaki stopped selling parts for the KZ five years after production ceased so the best way was to restore as many as possible of the original parts. This was the case for the engine, the brakes, the wheels, the front end and some more.


Picture by Brandon Lajoie

The engine was rebuilt to original specs and painted with high heat gloss black while its side covers were polished. Carbs and forks were restored too while the wheels and spokes were powder coated in black. Both the front and the back drum brakes were polished and fully rebuilt. A vintage Harley-Davidson headlight was equipped with a flared headlight ring from a vintage Ducati.


Picture by Brandon Lajoie

For the frame, Sofi had to roll out the heavy artillery. The previous owner had massacred it beyond restoration so it was completely chopped of and rebuild as a mono shock rear suspension instead of the classic double shock setup. The tail section and the seat were hand shaped to match the flow of the original tank.


Last but not least the frame was powder coated in cream-white (looks edible, doesn’t it? ) and the front fender, the tank and the seat were painted olive gray with the same cream-white stripe down the center.

Loryn’s only demand was to put the name she gave her bike in it somehow so Tanner Leaser put The Little Rat with calm hands and expensive brushes on top of the tank.

As you can see in the images, Sofi Tsingos is a very gifted bike builder. Her creations make a noise in the custom motorcycle world for some time now. The quality and the details of every build are mind-blowing. But even more mind-blowing is the fact that Sofi and her Dad build a raffle bike every year that is auctioned off to support cancer research and help cancer patients with their bills.


Picture by Brandon Lajoie

Many of us have come into contact with this disease, may it be in a closer or a wider circle of family and friends so I invite you to pay a visit to GT-Moto’s Website and online shop because they even donate parts of their revenue to the cause. You can buy apparel and motorcycle parts there and do something good at the same time.

Not only does Sofi Tsingos from GT-Moto build fine motorcycles, she seems to be a pretty fine person that puts focus on the important things in life too. For many of us, motorcycles play an important part in our lives, so what could be better than motorcycles with such a background?


Picture by Brandon Lajoie


Picture by Brandon Lajoie