Todd White has a love for 1940/50s bobbers with their stock frame geometry, unlike a chopper, and stripped down, minimalist approach to styling. The choice of a Kawasaki KZ440 as a donor bike therefore doesn’t seem the most obvious choice for his second project.
With the cost of acquiring a more conventionally appropriate Harley or old "Brit" as a base sky rocketing, Todd picked up his unlikely subject for $200 from a buddy who had it sitting on the side of house for over two years, taking a beating from the elements. The KZ440 was never a "looker," just a steady all-rounder at best. So Todd set himself a hard task to transform this ugly duckling into a beauty and meet his classical standards.
Working full time for K&N Filters, and literally building the bike during his lunch breaks at work (a year and a half of skipped lunches) it quickly took on the moniker “Lunch Box Special.”
Todd completely rebuilt the engine, and with some careful porting, made some marked performance improvements. The most troublesome aspect of the build was rebuilding the carbs, which took months of trial and error. Working at K&N has its perks so to give the bike the superior airflow and superior performance it deserved, Todd built a one-off carbon fibre topped dual flange K&N air filter of his own design to tie the twin carbs together. The motor is also equipped with a high-flow K&N Powersports oil filter.
The engine is blacked out with high-temperature paint, accenting the side and valve covers in a root beer powder coat.
Much of what stands out on Todd’s build are the pieces that he fabricated himself. He hard tailed the stock frame, welding a plate behind the engine to support the altered geometry and replicated the oil tanks of dry sump old "Brits" and American Iron with a faux oil tank where he housed the electronics. The custom seat pan, wrapped in a bold gripper seat cover from Enjoy Manufacturing, rests on urethane bumpers and flips up to reveal a hidden tool compartment.
Todd couldn’t find a springer front end that fit the KZ’s neck, so he built his own from scratch, a serious engineering feat inself. He kept the stock gas tank, which was sectioned and stretched an additional three inches.
A Russ Wernimont Designs rear fender hugs the nostalgic looking Duro Tires. Todd loved the look of the Ballistic Performance Components Lithium battery so he left it in plain sight, machining a custom mount to keep it in place.
As far as he was concerned, the only color this bike could be was Kawasaki Flo Green with the iconic block Kawasaki logo, which he complimented using a subtle pin stripe. The number 2 is an homage to four-time Supercross/ three-time Motocross factory Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto.
What’s all the more remarkable about Todd’s build, is that he managed to complete the bike on a budget of $4750 all in.
Todd’s hard work was paid off when he received the Editors Choice Award at the IMS Biker Build Off in Long Beach, California.
We're huge fans of Todd's build and look forward to what he's got up his sleeve next time!