My first visit to Jakarta in 2014 was arranged for the sole purpose of visiting custom motorcycle workshops. We’d been told the scene there was well worth a look, so, with no real idea of what to expect, I jumped on a plane to Indonesia’s capital. That trip changed my entire perception of Indonesia and its custom automotive scene. During our short visit, we visited multiple workshops every day. Some were well-established businesses with droves of staff beating metal and welding tube steel. Others were tiny 1 or 2 man enterprises trying to make a name for themselves in the cities thriving aftermarket scene.
One builder who fell into the latter category was Andi Akbar who ran the workshop Katros Garage. After seeing his custom 225cc Yamaha Scorpio at the Kustomfest show in Jogjakarta I contacted him to arrange a photo shoot. His humble response was “Please don’t expect Katros to be a large, nice looking garage. We started as a hobby not a big business and we work to realise our ideas in a small space.” Since then a lot has changed.
Katros Garage now employs a team of staff, has a large workshop facility and has a long client list that includes one of Indonesia’s presidents. These days Andy is also working on much larger capacity motorcycles, which are generally limited to the cities wealthier citizens. One such build is this custom Kawasaki Z900RS put together for Indonesian automotive Youtuber, MotoMobi.
“It’s 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS,” says Andy. “It took about 3 months, including the design process to complete. The owner wanted a mild customization to give the bike a different look.”
Purchased new the Z900RS had hardly been broken in before receiving its Katros makeover. The MotoMobi knew he wanted something unique, what exactly that would look like was left entirely up to Andy and his team. What he did specify though made their task a tad harder to execute.
“There weren’t many things that we could chop,” Andy recalls. “We worked as best we could to give it a different look without modifying the base design permanently. So if the owner wants to get it back to the standard look, it is possible.”
Andy kicked things off by swapping out several of body panels with original Katros alternatives. At the pointy end of the Z900RS, you’ll spy the original LED headlamp which is one of the bikes stand out features. Surrounding it however is a one-off cowl that has the look of a cape rippling back over the instrument cluster. Moving rearward there are custom vented side covers designed to channel air into the bike’s airbox.
One of Andy’s main goals was to further enhance the bike’s retro racer vibe. He has done this by bulking up the Z900RS inline four. Surrounding the radiator are one off side covers that merge the water cooler into the engine rather than leaving it protruding out of the front. Then, finished in the same gloss black and angular style is a wide belly pan with geometry matched to the cylinder width. This beefs up the lower half of the bike giving it a much more muscular stance.
Finally, at the rear end, Andy tweaked the tail by stripping away the plastic factory fender, bulky indicators and tail lamp. The tail is now devoid of clutter and the factory lights have been replaced by LED units that fit snugly into the space beneath the cowl. A flatter, wider tuck and roll seat adds another custom touch as well as reducing the seat height for its rider.
When Kawasaki unveiled the Z900RS there were a few design elements that lovers of the legendary Z1 frowned upon. These included the girth of the fuel tank, the 4-into-1 muffler configuration and the cast wheels. Due to the limitations imposed on the build, the fuel tank couldn’t be messed with, but Katros have dealt with the other issues appropriately. For the wheels, they’ve swapped the cast units for classic spoked rims and laced them to aftermarket hubs. As for the exhaust, this Z900RS is now running the 4-into-4 system everyone had been hoping for.
To complete the bike’s transformation Katros cast a set of Moto Mobi badges from aluminium. These now adorn the fuel tank, front cowl and mufflers. As for the paint, the Z900RS required a suitably eye-catching colour scheme that suited its outlandish owner. What better way to stand out than with a comprehensive coat of metallic gold paint?
Since the release of the Kawasaki Z900RS we haven’t seen many workshops customising them. Hopefully with bikes like this being revealed all that will soon change.