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1974 Kawasaki H1 land speeder

This Kawasaki land speeder may look crazy, but there's an even crazier story behind it. Steve "Brewdude" Garn let us know the details at Fuel Cleveland this year, and you won't want to miss it!

Steve Garn might be one of the most interesting people we met at Fuel Cleveland this year, although if you’re part of the motorcycling community, you probably know him as “Brewdude” or just “Brew.” He’s the owner of BREW Bikes LLC, a machine and fabrication shop located in northwest North Carolina.

The name BREW is the acronym for Blue Ridge Electric & Welding. Steve Garn started Blue Ridge Electric & Welding in 1983, and the first frame with the BREW name was built in 1987. Since then, he’s made a name for himself in the industry and was even crowned Easyriders’ Old School Builder of the Year in 2008.

We met him at the show alongside a unique looking 1974 Kawasaki H1 named the “Purple People Eater.” Before we even got to specifications of the bike itself, we were met with a remarkable story from Brew.

“After completing the bike, we headed out to Bonneville and we were having all kinds of problems with it,” he said. “I had a premonition there that I was going to die at Bonneville. I did one pass, and the engine was way too rich, and it only hit 80 mph.”

“We were hoping to hit 150 mph, so we went back to the pits and rejetted the bike for another pass. I remember sitting down and having a self-pity party, and something in me told me I shouldn’t go out again. It was 104 degrees and I’m in black leather. Well, I went out and I was kicking and kicking and finally I told the guy, ‘I feel faint.’”

Brew fell over and went into cardiac arrest before making another pass. For around three minutes, he was on the salt without a heartbeat before being given CPR by paramedics. Eventually, they heard a slight pulse and air lifted him to Salt Lake City Hospital for bypass surgery.

“It was blessing after blessing that made me get through that and recover. But I tell people this is the bike that tried to kill me.”

That’s one of the crazier stories we’ve heard in regard to a custom-built motorcycle, and in good fashion, the Kawasaki is likewise just as crazy.

Brew built the frame in-house completely out of 4130 Promoly steel tubing from Charlotte’s Stock Car Steel & Aluminum surrounding the powerful H1 engine. Kawasaki revealed the H1 Mach III in 1968 — the 500cc two-stroke triple was known more colloquially as the “Widowmaker,” which inspired Brew’s new name for his creation. The engine made around 60-hp back then, and Brew added several upgrades to improve performance even further.

The 515cc unit boasts Worldwide bearings, Wiseco pistons, Lectron carbs, and BREW boring, balancing, and portwork. Outside of the custom framework, the forks come from a Yamaha RD350 and the wheels from a RZ350. Overall, it weighs 278 pounds.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected].

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