Cliff Randall customized this Kawasaki Ninja 650 for his wife Marti. Cliff Randall customized this Kawasaki Ninja 650 for his wife Marti. Photo by Terry Collier

"Sport Bike for the Girls" custom Kawasaki Ninja 650 project Featured

Written by  on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 10:40

My wife Marti has been watching all the bike and sled projects being built around here for the past 25 years. She actually learned to ride on one of my old race bikes back in the 80s, in a shopping mall parking lot on a Sunday. For the past 15 yrs Marti’s been riding around on a tricked out ’99 Fatboy, last of the EVOs, that I leaned on for her.

One day this past August, Marti turned to me and said, “I want a pink sportbike, with a matching pink outfit.” 

“I can make that happen,” I said, and called Kawasaki, The Edge Performance, DynoJet, AAA Trim, Two Bros, Dunlop, Vortex, Tricked Toys, Arai, Pro6 Cycle, R&G Racing, A Vicious Cycle, Sidi, Stomp Grip, etc, etc. “Cliff, did you say a sportbike for girls? Where do we send the product?” I’ve never had so much interest in a project bike, ever.

lowering kitThe design/build process was different – pragmatic, organized, authorized and tested every step of the way by our female rider, whose primary concerns were safety, comfort, look and performance – in that order. Diametrically opposed to all the other stuff I’ve built. Mars vs. Venus I guess?

Bottom line she loves it, and to a far greater degree than her Harley. Here was how the process went using Marti’s feedback onthe stock Kawasaki Ninja 650:

-           “Mirrors are bad, can’t see anything but my jacket sleeves.” Napoleon bar ends mirrors were fitted, stock mirrors were machined off to leave factory block off plates.

-           “Gearing is too short, it’s jerky.”  42-tooth rear sprocket was changed to a 38 Vortex aluminum version, with new chain. “Much better,” with very little change to the true GPS speed.

-           “I never know what gear I’m in.” Added an LED gear indicator box up front. “Great, much better.”

-           “I can’t hear the motor, it’s hard to know at times when to shift – feels weird.” Installed the fabulous Two Bros black pipe along with a DynoJet PC5 and Auto Tune (dynamic wideband mapped to 13:1) with low rpm ‘fixed mapping mods’ by me to smooth it out and eradicate all deceleration backfiring. “Love it, the sound is wild.”

powder coat

-           “Bike is too tall.” Lowering kit installed on rear shock, forks slid up 1” at trees. Seat was cut down by AAA Trim. 1” total process netted out a 2” drop for our 5’8” rider. “Much better.”

-           “Sometimes it feels like the bike wants to fall in.” Installed the best street tires made, Dunlop Q3s. “Turns much better and stops quicker too.”

-           “Rear fender is too long.” Installed R&G Racing’s eliminator kit from A Vicious Cycle – top drawer product – along with Kawasaki’s fabulous factory rear seat cover. “That’s cool.”

-           “I slide forward sometimes when braking.” Installed Stomp Grip sticky tank side panels. “Great, better when leaning into turns as well.”

Rear pegs were in the way  – cut ‘em off and refinished the brackets.

Abbreviated the air box – poor bastard couldn’t breathe.

Lots of stuff on the motor and bike blacked out.

Ninja tank badge and pink on bike (pink is powerful – too much and you kill the project) was cut from vinyl by Sundance Signs.

Tricked Toys sourced, prepped and powder-coated the rims and main spring to perfection, matching Marti’s pink S&S coat.

My buddy said it best: “Nothing is sexier than a hot chick on a sportbike!” My sponsors tell me it’s an exponentially growing market for them.

-         Cliff Randall

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Last modified on Thursday, 27 November 2014 10:00

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