The Kawasaki Vaquero served as the introduction of baggers to a whole new market of riders who had previously never given them a second glance. One such rider was Kane “Insane” Friesen, a factory stunt rider for Kawasaki, who spends the majority of his time on one wheel rather than two. Check out kaneone.com to get an idea what this man can do on a motorcycle. When deciding which bikes he wanted to ride for the 2011 season, along with the usual sport and dirt bikes used during his shows, he chose the Vaquero to see if he would love it, hate it, or park it to collect dust. “As I am quickly approaching 30, the idea of owning a more comfortable cruiser has been creeping into my brain. This year when Kawasaki announced the new Vaquero I instantly fell in love. It’s the perfect bike to be able to go on those long rides that I have always wanted to do,” explained Friesen.
Never being able to leave his bikes stock, immediately after filling the tank with its first splash of gas, Kane turned to custom bike builders Buddha Concept Designs to make his bike stand out as much as his riding. “I have always been attracted to a more raw, old-school rat rod image, stemming back some 10-plus years to my days working as a professional body piercer in Las Vegas. More than just Rat-Rod/Rockabilly, the design of the Vaquero is meant to fit more the Goth image. By that I mean dyeing everything black and keeping it mean. The name of my Vaquero is “Type O” in reference to my favorite band, which coincidently is also known for their dark matte image, contrasted by bright neon green,” explained Kane.
Buddha Concept Designs is responsible for giving Kane some of his wildest paintjobs— mostly in pink and helping portray his signature punk rock look on his motorcycles. But rather than copying a page from the book of loud, they started a new chapter with the Vaquero. Long Le of Buddha Concept Designs summed it up like this, “We wanted to go opposite of what we usually do for Kane. It was challenging because the Vaquero is a new model and no one makes parts for the bikes yet. Typically, we try and paint Kane’s bikes so they scream “look at me.” With this bike, we wanted you to ask the question, “Is it custom or is it stock?” For example we custom molded 2009 ZX-6R turn signals into the side mid fairings and made them look factory. We also relocated the stock tail lamp towards the bottom of the rear fender for a cleaner more aftermarket look,” explained Long. “The stock front hoop was thrown in the garbage and replaced with a 23-inch Ride Wright big spoke wheel. A custom front fender was fabricated to cover the much larger wheel. No good bagger is complete without tunes and my brother Jim molded custom speakers in both saddlebags complete with a hidden amplifier. Even the inside of the bags were finished in an old school interior look. To cap it all off we had Tom McWeeney of Kustom Inc. lay down some lime green and white pinstriping for that final touch.”
Kane being a factory stunt rider, the Buddhas knew the Vaquero was going to be ridden and ridden hard. And that’s exactly what happened only moments after completion. Living up to his Insane moniker, Kane described his first day with the new bagger, “Literally six hours after the customization was finished, me and several other Kawasaki employees embarked on a 4,300-mile cross-country trip starting at KMC headquarters in Irvine, California. Knowing that there was going to be no time for testing and tuning, function and comfort were in no way going to be able to be sacrificed. The bike actually rode and felt as spectacular as it looked. It is a true rubbernecking sofa on wheels!” B