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Sanctuary RCM-276 DAEG: Why Go Halfway When You Build Your Ultimate UJM?


We have written about Japan’s AC Sanctuary before. For several years now, it has created some of the most beautiful, highly modified Japanese standards (principally, Kawasakis). It now has a following that reaches through Europe and offers a line of “RCM” models, standing for Real Complete Machine, which are similar to production models.

Pictured here is a highly modified Japan-market Kawasaki ZRX1200 DAEG, which starts life as a very competent machine, but reaches an entirely new level after Sanctuary’s mods.


Among other changes, Sanctuary adds a gorgeous titanium exhaust that is custom fabricated for the DAEG by Nitro Racing. An Ohlins FG42 fork graces the front end, with individual Ohlins shocks out back.

The wheels are OZ forged units suitable for high level roadracing, and extremely light. You can see the beautiful Brembo brakes and the extremely stout custom swingarm in the photos below.


Apparently these bikes sell quite well to discriminating (and wealthy) customers, both inside and outside Japan. We would like to ride one! This is one example of an RCM by Sanctuary, so visit their web site if you would like to see more.



  1. ducrider says:

    All that beauty, but no turbo…..what a waste!

  2. JBoz says:

    I will be buried with my ’99 ZRX1100. And, if possible, a ZRX1400. 🙂


  3. Norm G. says:

    just realised, this black/gold with the red touches gives it a whole “john player special” vibe. another subtlety surely flying over the heads of the “younglings”. hell, it was flying over mine.

    • Gutterslob says:

      I was thinking along similar lines. Ironically, despite JPS sponsoring Norton for a short time (can’t remember when, early 70’s, I think), I mostly associate the JPS brand with Lotus F1 cars (the real Colin Chapman Lotus, that is). This could well be a Lotus bike. Hell, it looks way better than the new Lotus bike concept by that fake Lotus brand.

    • Dave S says:

      Heh, i was thinking more along the lines of a Kawasaki Spectre!

  4. mickey says:

    I’m the right age..looks awesome to me. Maybe a little too high tech for my tastes, but very very nice.

  5. Wayne Dafter says:

    As the famous Dirty Harry used to say “A Man’s Got To Know His Limitations”.
    Well I believe I know mine. I carry this philosophy through to the vehicles I use. Combining an understanding of the two gives me the knowledge to know where the combined limits are at any given moment, ‘almost’ guaranteeing (hopefully) I never exceed mine or those of the particular bike I’m on at the time.
    Knowing how and what makes the machine work makes the riding experience that much more enjoyable I think.

  6. Gary says:

    Just did a quick CraigsList search for ZRexes in my area. Not much out there. And the price seems to be creeping upward with dwindling supply. You used to be able to pick up one with 12k miles or less for about $3.5k. … now they all have 30k miles and cost $5k and up.

    BTW … it looks to me like the motor on the above is injected. Is that part of the kit, or did they shoehorn a Ninja motor in there?

    I have often thought there may be a market for fuel injection kits that convert carbureted bikes.

  7. Ricardo says:

    Awesome every day bike!!

  8. Tommy See says:

    Major wetness happening ! What a beauty.

  9. zrx4me says:

    bring back the ZRX Kawasaki!

  10. Norm G. says:

    I was going to say, before this thread is finished, look for a few comments from gen-Y/Z calling this “dated”. and not that it isn’t…? but as nice as this is (to my eyes) I recognize it takes a certain level of knowledge and attention to detail to appreciate it. ADD/ADHD types need not apply. no slate, but if you’ve never been anywhere…? never done anything…? never experienced anything…? one’s “MOTO-IQ” simply isn’t going to be developed enough to see this for what it is. what do I mean by that…?

    what I mean is I met a kid riding his new Yamaha R1 a few years ago. naturally, struck up a conversation asking him how does he like the bike…? thinking he was a “believer”, I complimented him on his choice of engine.

    turns out, kid knew FUKKALL about the engine…? motivated by “cosmetics” (ie. Max Factor, like a chick), he’d bought it ’cause it was the cool “all black” or “raven edition” or whatever it was. he knew squat about the word “Crossplane”. a word that was only written on the SIDE of the very bike he was riding…!?!?

    not saying one needs to possess a Furusawa grade knowledge of the kit, but good grief he wasn’t even remotely curious…??? not even curious in this digital age where an overview of practically ANYTHING is but a google search away. aren’t the kids plugged in…? it’s not like it’s an everyday word, so you’d think interest would’ve piqued…? yeah, no.

    and as much as it pains me, I encounter this level of ignorance quite frequently. frequently enough to extrapolate it across the states and suggest that it’s prolly RAMPANT. despite appearances (and resources) there in fact exists a DEARTH of MOTO-IQ, not the other way ’round.

    here’s a one stop gallery of some neo retro kit…

    can’t even remember where I got them from, somebody’s picasa stream I think…? but it looks like there’s an associated site kinda like EXIF. though I never went to this site, looks like a lot of stuff from ACS and perhaps others…

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      As a Gen-X’er, I would say the design is definitely dated. It doesn’t have that timeless quality about it that makes the design appealing like an old CB750 or Brit bike to my eye. Like most things from the ’80s, the styling is forgettable.

      That said, the ZRX is a fantastic bike and a classic in its own rite regardless of its “retro” styling. And as far as this build goes, I have to say that exhaust is just a magnificent work of art. Wow.

      As far as moto-IQs go, I see plenty of it in the Boomers too. It isn’t just the younger guys that have little appreciation for the engineering behind the machine. And honestly it was the look and thrill of motorcycles that first got me interested, not the brilliance behind them. Curiosity, passion about bikes and a garage full of tools fueled the rest of my drive to improve my IQ.

      I have a friend that call tell you more than you ever wanted to know about shoes. I don’t care, but I still own and wear shoes. She has no clue about the principles that make her Bonneville go. She just knows she loves how it feels to ride it. I won’t judge.

      • Bob says:

        I agree with the both of you.

        As an engineer, machinist, welder and enthusiast I can appreciate everything that went into this bike. That’s what makes it beautiful.

        OTOH, I also believe that you don’t need to know squat about something to really enjoy it. How many people love 5 star food but can’t cook more than a burger? (me) How many people love music but can’t play an instrument or sing? (That would also actually be the members of most gen Y and Z bands!)

        • Gary says:

          The difference, of course, is that you will never have to repair your steak tar tar on the side of the road. In the dark. While it’s raining.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            You don’t HAVE to repair a motorcycle either. Road-side assistance anyone?

          • Crim says:

            Just like with cars…. Fuel injection and solid state electronics mean you are rarely stranded by the side of the road. Being mechanically inclined isn’t so much a necessity anymore. In the big scheme, that’s a good thing. It does take something away from the sport though.

    • Gary says:

      There is some truth to what you say, but you are overstating a bit. Young people of every generation tend to overlook engineering and mechanical nuance. People who stay in the sport longer, into middle age and beyond, begin to appreciate the nuts and bolts more.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “you are overstating a bit”

        therein lies the problem, i only WISH I were overstating. that’d be nice actually. unfortunately, a factual account (again, one of many) belies the option of overstating, understating, middle-stating, etc.

        “I don’t have some way to put it, that’s the way it is.” (Anton Chigurh voice)

    • Sean says:

      It’s funny because all the older guys drool over the retro bikes because to them they are “cool” not because they have the best performance, comfort, or components they are actually more often inferior in these respects, but the demand is there only because it reminds them of when they remember what “cool” was. So these older guys are buying based on looks alone as well. By the way most younger gen may lack experience but they don’t lack information the internet is at their fingertips. Also the kid with the Raven R-1 has one of the highest performing in the world, let’s him run ahead of lambos and ferraris, gets respect from the guys and impresses the women he’s doing just fine I guess if he were smarter or had more experience he would pay the same money or more for a retro 30hp Pile, a scooter, or an adventure bike if only he were smarter.

  11. Gary says:

    NOW we’re talkin. You can keep all those crappy looking naked bikes. Gi’me a cafe racer con brio, puuu-lease.

  12. Agent55 says:

    Hey MotorcycleDaily, are you guys aware of the US outfit SBK Factory? They built a few race-ready ZRX’s to race Pikes Peak last year and took 3rd overall with Jack Holden onboard. I was so inspired that built a ZRX1200 using their own parts and chassis development (which they sell!). Best track bike I’ve ever owned or ridden, and I’ve owned and raced quite a few. I even wrote a detailed testimony on their website, incredible machines, especially considering they’re based on ZRX’s!

  13. Auphliam says:

    See, now that’s a nice motorcycle. No beak, no funky body work, no electrolux exhaust, no ‘Ridley Scott’ derived headlight contraption…just a cool ass bike.

    • ROXX says:


    • MG3 says:

      Amen to that! That is a MOTORCYCLE, with all it’s muscular complexity right out there for you to admire and appreciate. So take that bike, wrap a couple of thousand dollars worth of swoopy plastic panels around it, then hang a stupid looking exhaust can off the back and you have a Ninja 1000, or whatever Kawasaki calls it these days. Japanese manufacturers – you must DEVOLVE ! Get back to your moto-roots. At least the cosmetics anyway. Thank you.

  14. Crim says:

    WTF? It’s not GREEN!!!

    • Blackcayman says:

      the Modern Kawi Green is too much for this concept… They would’ve had to use a classic green from the 70’s

      I like this Black version though.

      I think the bike is Brilliant! I can see it im my Dream Garage in a 20+ bike collection

  15. Jorge says:

    A little before my time but I love it. I want one!

  16. RD350 says:

    This is the cream of Japanese custom houses and their bikes are all very special. They all just look right!

    I would love to see them turn their attention to something beside inline fours. An XS650 perhaps or an SR500/SRX600.

  17. Starmag says:

    The most urgent need on a ZRX isn’t brakes and suspension, it’s the clunky shifting. I wonder if Kawasaki has fixed it since my 2004 model was made.

    • Brian says:

      I’ve never had shifting issues w/ my 2000 ZRX (it shifts a lot smoother if you pre-load the lever a bit, but I think that’s true of every bike). Of all the bikes I’ve ridden, I’d say it’s above average in that area. Maybe it’s an issue with your particular bike?

      • Starmag says:

        Well, that’s what I thought but some reviews referred to it and I’ve asked a few friends who’ve owned one and they confirmed a similar experience. I’m thinking you may have an exceptional one or are more tolerant than I. I’ve had excellent shifters (1974 850 Commando) and awful (2003 VTX1300, whose explosions from the transmission when shifting into second at higher RPMs would literally cause startled, annoyed and frightened expressions from people on the sidewalk, no kidding.) Do all high torque bikes have loud transmissions? I’ve ridden my buddies’ 2012 Norge and 2003 Street triple and both are only marginally better. I have a 17,000 mi. 82 CB900F that shifts like butter in comparison, but that has way less torque. My ZRX Shifting action is O.K. and it’s positive, but it’s loud/clunky going into 1st and 2nd. Even with this issue, it’s in the top 3 of the 30 bikes I’ve owned.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          This is based on the DAEG, which has a different, six-speed tranny.

        • Brian says:

          Not sure. Mine’s never been loud going from 1st to 2nd. It sometimes makes a pretty good clunk going into first from neutral, I’ll give you that, but that’s never bothered me in terms of actual shifting on the go.

          Maybe I have one of the better ones. They say running synthetic oil makes a difference in shift quality, but I didn’t notice anything when I switched.

  18. Sean says:

    This boxy look is so dated. Never understood why they brought it back.

    • tuskerdu says:

      retro man.

    • Tim says:

      To each his own. I’ve always thought the standard green metallic version of this bike was one of the better looking naked bikes ever made. I’m not crazy about the color/ paint on this one, but I do like the lines. Admittedly, I’m a little prejudiced, as I had a first year GPZ 550 back in the early 80’s, and this model has a similar look to that.

      • zuki says:

        1981 GPz550 was a looker! Wish I still had mine that I bought from my brother. I was born in ’78 but I love Japanese motorcycle styling of the ’70s and ’80s. Another brother of mine still has his ’03 ZRX1200R and the GPz550 was the influence.

        One that’s been on my wishlist forever is the 1983 Suzuki GS1100ES… It’s beautiful to my eyes.

    • Blackcayman says:

      you are too young, Grasshopper

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Never cared for the square headlight myself. It is retro in the same way tight-rolled jeans and parachute pants are retro. Some things are just supposed to stay in the past.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “This boxy look is so dated. Never understood why they brought it back.”

      profitability never goes out of style.

    • Brian says:

      I prefer the original ZRX fairing: it didn’t have the pointy bits at the bottom. And I’m not a fan of the new side covers (over the throttle bodies). Otherwise I’ve always really liked the styling, and still do.

  19. Ken in Oz says:

    Looks like some drab commuter that has been tarted up with some random, high dollar, brand-name components.
    For terminal nostalgia sufferers only.

  20. motowarrior says:

    I’d love to see some American custom bike builders take an interest in classic Japanese bikes. The examples on the website show just how amazing they can be. Vintage Japanese bikes are plentiful here, and making gorgeous customs out of a few of them each year would be a welcome addition to our motorcycle market. Plus, they would be streetable and reliable.

  21. Tonyt says:

    Best looking bike out there by far. I love it! Miss my ‘ol ZRX1200 . . . 🙁

  22. Starmag says:

    In my opinion, these guys are the best custom bike builders in the world. Their bikes are universally praised even in places like BikeEXIF, which I believe has a younger readership, thereby proving UJM styling isn’t just for old guys. The middle ground between a cruiser/Harley and a race replica.

    Make mine the red 1983 CB1100F they used to have on their site.

    Too bad I can’t afford the price of admission.

  23. Rocky V says:

    Kawasaki has the parts to offer a better bike than this–put the ZX 14 motor in it –and put on top of the line shocks / fork / brakes


  24. carl says:

    Was on the site that old kz900 looks incredible!!

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