Solo Una Luna HL Speedy 500
By James McCombe - 12 Jan 15
Though we're not there yet, might there will be a time where the world has one universal currency? Skipping over Bitcoin, which is a struggle for those without electricity, never mind a computer, there's still one ubiquitous leveler which speaks to many as legal tender. Good old moonshine, distilled by the light of our friendly celestial orb. Be it deep in the woods of North Carolina or out in the Mongolian Steppe, if you want to strike a deal, your best bet is to crack open the good stuff. The local brew in Hungary is catchily called Házipálinka and some claim it's about the best you'll find. Feel free to argue that one out amongst yourselves... For Zoltán Szabó though, the moon has a different connotation. Sola Una Luna; One Moon. It's the mantra, the inspiration and the name of his company. Based out of Csongrád in the south east of Hungary, perhaps a swig or two of Házipálinka helped in the building of his latest, the HL Speedy 500. As with all his builds Zoltán ensures the bike has a duplicity, a blending of the new and the old. And for this Kawasaki the idea was to create something that would prowl the city streets, "a real night stalker, with many unique parts". Rolling right out of 1980, the Kawasaki Z500 donor is as UJM as it gets, the perfect base to inject a little character into. Broken down into piles of keep, chuck and refurb, the latter pile was rapidly growing. Imperfections were to be maintained in choice parts, but mechanically the fully rebuilt machine is tickety-boo. It's worth noting that all the custom parts were made in an entirely analogue way. No CNC here, just Zoltán and some hand tools, the great finish speaks to the hours of fettling that have gone into the bike. The frame was cut about as little as possible, just small adjustments to the rear end to maintain flow 'tween tank and tail. An adopted Suzuki GS550 tank is now in place of the original Kawasaki item, which was a little too far gone to recover. Stripped and buffed back, it was left with flaws and faults to be seen under the glass-deep layer of lacquer. Zoltán hand crafted the tail piece, beautifully judged, the lines rising to draw that imaginary line through the seat, then up and over the tank. Bridged by the hand sewn seat, leather appropriated from an aged chair, the natural wear and tear compliments those marks in the metal. It's always nice to see the rear triangle be put to use with a bit of creative flair. While the open look can reduce the visual weight of a bike, it is a bit of a blank canvas in terms of artistic opportunity. For the Speedy, the Oriental origins have been captured in a subtle rising sun motif behind which the bulk of the electrics now lie. There's a curvature to the aluminium side covers enhancing the lean look of the bike. The front mudguard is home grown; a well used piece from a classic Danuvia, cut down to hug the front 7-spoke, keeping crud off the satin headers. Mechanically the triple discs, reliable DOHC 4-cylinder powerplant and Featherbed style frame work in harmony as Kawasaki intended. Stripped, serviced and shining from a thorough clean and polish, they now have the gleam to match the go. Sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, the sticky rubber, and freshly serviced chassis parts likely offering a far better riding experience than a mismatched collection of tired Ebay finds. The 4 into 1 system coupled to a shorty megaphone lets the Z500 sing to 9000rpm; that ought to shake a few alarms at night. After final assembly, fuel tap turned, ignition flicked on, she fired right up. The fresh tyres found grip on the blacktop right away and fuel was eagerly guzzled. Prowling the streets of Csongrád under the moonlight, I'll raise a glass to that. There are plenty more in depth build photos on Zoltán's site; check it out.