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Unleashing the Beast: Krossover Customs’ Kawasaki KX500 Race Bike
BY Justin Reyes //
April 15, 2024
@_inmygarage_
Photography: Mike Maravilla
@openinanewtab
Additional Photography: Brandon Cody
@bcody_formative
  • Krossover Customs, founded by Kacey Elkins, is a paint and fabrication shop specializing in intricate designs and mind-blowing builds.
  • Growing up around his father’s body shop and riding dirt bikes, Kacey Elkins developed his skills and limitless imagination with hands-on experience, which eventually led to him starting Krossover Customs.
  • Trading a paint job for a KX500 motor was the impetus for this Krossover Customs build, prompting Elkins and his team to throw convention aside to create a fully custom carbon fiber body and chassis.
  • Displaying the custom Kawasaki KX500—which includes a DEI gold heat shield and an FMF fatty exhaust—at shows throughout the United States has given Krossover Customs the nationwide respect it deserves.

In the world of Powersports, there are machines, and then there are legends. Among the latter stands the Kawasaki KX500, a powerhouse of a bike revered by riders and enthusiasts alike. Riders like Danny Hamel, an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, became synonymous with the KX500, as it was perfectly suited for Hamel and the desert. But what happens when you take a dirt/sand legend and re-envision it to become something different?

THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND

Like many, Kacey Elkins’ interest in bikes started at an early age. Growing up around an array of tools scattered around his father’s body shop and riding local dirt tracks, Elkins spent his time holding a paint gun and sketching ideas of future builds gradually honing his skills to become the visionary he is today. At Krossover Customs, painting and fabricating is its bread and butter because of Elkins’ childhood practices. He admits that as Krossover Customs’ owner, it’s more than just another job—it’s an opportunity to explore his creativity and craft something that stands out amongst the rest. Every great design begins with a vision for Elkins and for this custom build, that vision was clear: to transform an already formidable machine that has conquered dirt/sand and elevate it to new heights of performance and style inspired by the street.

THE PROCESS

This build started off as a trade: a custom paint job for a KX500 motor. Rather than simply find a KX500 factory body to shove this motor into, Elkins sought to create a fully custom frame from scratch. For most, this would be a daunting task, but Krossover Customs saw this as an opportunity to flex its capabilities. After three years of chipping away at this in between working on other projects, Elkins’ wild idea became a reality.

Everything on the bike had to be fabricated, from the custom frame to the forged carbon fiber bodywork. Taking inspiration from the older two-stroke GP bikes and even the newer Kawasaki H2R, Elkins’ imagination took charge and led him to create something that we all can truly appreciate. With the help from Smart Carb to get her running smoothly, Retro Wench for the rebuilt motor, DEI to get the wires and heat shield right and that one buddy you can always rely on who just so happens to powder coat like nobody’s business, the build was complete.

A WILD RIDE

Instant power out of the KX500’s two-stroke single-cylinder engine mixed with the frame’s short wheelbase made for a wild ride. Mirroring the geometry from the newer Kawasaki Ninja (even fabricating the swing arm to fit his specifications), Elkins’ dialed in this custom machine to fit his vision. This isn’t a bike you go on a leisurely cruise with, it’s the type to get your blood pumping as you rip down the road and let the RPMs sing as you switch through the gears. With the help of the FMF Gold Series Fatty exhaust, this little rocket puts a smile on anyone’s face. This KX500 not only has the looks but has the chops to back it up having shown at shows like Motoblot and AIMExpo.

ONTO THE NEXT

Krossover Custom’s KX500 turns heads, and of course, has received rightful recognition. As for what’s next, Elkins is on the fence about either storing the KX500 or selling it. Custom builds, like this example, highlight the need for individuality. Daring to defy the industry standard is a key component in Powersports history, people like Kacey Elkins hold true to this legacy.

Tackling builds like this isn’t an easy feat, fabricating an entire bike around an engine takes years of experience, Elkins’ knowledge and artistry led him to success and continue to propel him forward. For the younger generation who are interested in building their own rides, Kacey Elkins has a few words: “I say go for it, start working on it, and don’t get lost in the weeds of opinion. Do what you like and make something you would be proud of.”


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