This bike by Tim Zeliesko was about a year in the making. He owned it for just under 36 hours and rode it only once before he decided he wanted to build his first bike with it. I think it’s an incredibly high-quality build for a first attempt and it should inspire others to set the bar high, even on a first go!
I asked Tim where he started.
“I cut it in half with a saws-all.”
Then, it was welded up and cut apart, assembled, and disassembled about three times; each time was leaving less and less of the original KZ frame intact. As it sits now, there are only about 8 inches or so left of the original KZ frame. Just enough to still utilize the front motor mount. It started as a bobber, then, after all the dust and sparks settled, it ended up an 8 foot 8-inch metric pro street radical chopper thing.
Somewhere during the middle of the build, Tim’s little suburb of Pittsburgh got flooded, and his shop was under 4 feet of water... and so was the bike! Talk about overcoming odds on a first build. At that low point, Tim was discouraged and thought it was never going to be completed. Remarkably, he only took a short 3-month break and was back at it. Not to mention that the “break” included cleaning up after the flood damage (some break)! Suddenly, I find myself thinking of all the excuses I’ve heard and made about why a build lost traction.
When Tim decided, with conviction, that he was going to bring this bike to Dayton it gave him something guys that start and finish projects know is very important; a goal and a timeline! After many endless nights that turned into 2 or 3-day benders of motorcycle madness, it was finished and ready to nab some trophies! The bike came off the lift just a few hours before being loaded in the trailer and made it to Daytona “just in the nick of time.”
I saw this bike rolling and riding in Daytona, and I was surprised it had only been finished 48 hours prior! Remarkably, almost no shakedown measures were required, and the bike’s maiden voyage was at Daytona Bike Week 2014, taking 2nd place in the Radical Metric class of the Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show.
Every part that was not painted was powder coated. Engine cases, jug, head, covers, controls, bars, wheels, trees, rotors, sprockets, calipers, etc.. There isn't a nut or bolt that was not finished in some way, and the attention detail really shows. I grew up riding Japanese motorcycles and, though I love my Harleys, I always say anything on two wheels is cool to me. The crop of Japanese bikes by young builders that are producing show-level attention to detail is amazing. Not everyone can start with a Panhead, and these alternative-powered machines have a place in the custom chopper landscape. You have got to respect “built, not bought” taken to this level, no matter what it’s based on!
Owner: Tim Zeliesko
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bike Base: 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000
Engine: KZ1000, 105 whp
Barnett Clutch upgraded with heavier springs fully rebuilt engine. Dyna S Ignition
Cylinder jug and head fins were all grenade cut, by hand, by Tim Z. All wiring and brake lines run throughout the full body worked frame
Frame: Custom made by owner
Front end: Raked is at 45 degrees with 6 inches over tubes inside Harley Fatboy fork legs.
Wheels; 21in laced front 90/90/21 Enduro style front tire
17in laced rear 180/55/17 Smoke bomb tire (red burnouts)
Gas tank is an early 80s sporty tank I welded up the filler and put the smaller retro looking filler on the corner and added the fuel sight.
Exhaust is homemade, and tig welded like everything else.
My favorite thing about the bike: Is when people ask what the hell it is… From far it looks like a radical pro Street chopper. Then people realize it's not a Harley and get very confused. At 105hp to the wheel and no rear suspension, it's a pretty exciting experience to crack the throttle and spin tire in almost any gear.
Next Mods: No future modifications in sight I'd like to say it's done... Maybe a neutral indicator light. Because it always gets me.
Special thanks to Paradise paint for the killer paint job and a very patient girlfriend who let me live.