The guys at Krakenhead Customs work on their projects in spare time and although it's just a hobby, for now, it seems like they treat it pretty damn serious. Their main areas of expertise are different but the guys share one thing - their obsession with the custom motorcycles. This Slovenian team of enthusiastic bike builders do what they love and enjoy it very much.
I reached the guys from the KC workshop after I saw one of their bikes online and they kindly agreed to answer some questions. Read the interview below.
Please, tell a little about yourselves. What do you do and where do you live?
We are a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts bored with stock motorcycles from the production line. We come from different aspects: IT, HR, car business and mechanical engineering. All based in Ljubljana - the capital of Slovenia.
You will probably find us in a garage (or behind the computer 3D modelling our custom parts), always customising, improving and repairing stuff, striving for a perfect old school bike! We are kind of a "lunatics" and "outsiders" out here 😉 , a regular motorcyclist around here doesn't understand what is wrong with Yamaha FZ6 :-).
What is the Krakenhead Customs project? Why have you started it?
People were starting noticing our bikes. We decided to publish our bikes and our friends' bikes we worked on so the other enthusiasts could see what we can do in our small country of Slovenia. It`s all
about having a good time and creating something new. The bikes have to be unique, well made and still rideable.
What custom styles/brands do you prefer to work on?
Well, hard to say...it all depends on the model and what we can get around here. Kawasakis are legendary and really kind of a "bad boy's bike", while we also like Triumphs, Ducatis, Hondas...well, even Harleys! I am sure that a good builder can turn any bike into a stunner. It all depends on the time&money you are willing to invest. We mainly work on vintage bikes but in the future, we will also turn a modern bike into our style of Cafe. That sounds like a plan for our next project.
Do you have plans to turn KC into a business someday?
Maybe...you never know. But if we do, we'll do it the proper way! That means, building a bike that would be street legal, TUV approved, reliable, fully rebuilt and still looking custom. That takes lots of time and custom approved parts, that someone has to pay for. When people will realise that building a proper cafe racer takes its budget, then Krakenhead will turn from an enthusiast group to a real business.
Chopping fenders, cutting subframe, wrapping pipes, and rattle can painting an assembled, leaking, blown engine is not our kind of vision. That's an easy way into custom bikes building - but wrong. Who wants to ride a dangerous, illegal "lemon"?
Your 1981 Kawasaki KZ1000J build is outstanding. Please, tell a little bit about this bike
It all started with an old non-running shed found KZ. The plan was, to clean it up a bit and create a budget cafe racer within a timespan of a few weeks...you know, chop the subframe, put up a bunch of cheap Chinese parts from eBay...it all ended up with custom in-house designed CNC parts, crazy modifications that no one wants to do, and our stupid ideas of an oversize Ural headlight bucket that no one likes 🙂 Budget went from a few hundred €, to a 5 digit number... We literally changed every part on the bike, except the frame, which is (of course) also a bit modified. When you see this bike, you know it`s a Kraken!
Where do you take your inspiration from?
Our inspiration builds up on the meetings in our garage. We talk about how the bike should look like, draw a sketch, and build it. We surely get some inspiration from the great builders that publish their bikes on custom bike blogs. Our biggest respect goes to Max Hazan and Shinya Kimura. These guys are a true inspiration for us. Not exactly our style, but their ideas are outstanding.
What kinds of bikes do you own (if you do)?
Is there a place/places in your country you would recommend to visit on a bike?
There's lots of places here, that we could recommend visiting on a bike. Vršič mountain pass (from Bovec), highest Slovenian mountain road to Mangart, and many more.
And the last one. What are your plans for the near future?
Planning some great builds with unusual donor bikes & releasing the Krakens from the leash!