Z900 – Episode 2: The Engine

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Continued from: Part 1: The Find

Once I had the bike in the garage I started it a few times, just to make sure she ran. No particular reason, considering the full restoration she is about to undergo, just to comfort me I guess that I bough a bike that kind of works…

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Once I swapped out the cactus battery and put in fresh fuel and checked the oil level; she eventually started…or more like huffin’ and puffin’ for the first time in a long time. She was a sorry sight but not unexpected; slated for a rebuild over ten years ago, she has not been touched since.

I didn’t let her suffer much longer, once she cooled down, my good mate Daniel and I took the motor out. Black paint and the side covers present are not standard for this era, so before any rebuild to occur, she had to be hydro blasted back to bare metal.

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We took the motor to bits and off she went to Woody’s Hydroblast in one of the southern suburbs of Melbourne.20150131_084847 20150131_084936 20150131_084950  20150131_085004

Once the hydro blasting done…

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Pristine job by Woody’s back to bare metal hydro blasting…

Next stop was to Scotty’s to have the motor fully rebuilt. The cams, polished, valves re-cut and seated, new pistons (0.5mm oversize) and bearings. The final job on the motor looked like:

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And what about those non-std covers? Luckily Z1 Parts.net came to the rescue with these perfect examples:

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Looks like a piece of jewelry. Thanks Z1 Parts.net for the final touches.

The next step was to start focusing on the frame. Have to make sure she is straight before she is painted so before anything, the motor had to be installed ready for the jig.

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And when the going gets tough…you need a hammer!20150723_140312

Ready for the rolling frame assembly for the straightening jig.20150723_140142

All smiles now…few minutes earlier lots of crying / swearing. Thanks Daniel!20150723_140314

In Part 3 we’ll focus on the frame…cannot wait to find the time!

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Z900 – Episode 1: The find

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I love working on bikes. Unless you are stuck doing it on the side of the road, I find it actually therapeutic; you get to switch off from day-to-day issues and (ideally) you see your work turning something broken or neglected into something better.

The pinnacle of working on bikes would have to be customising (whether for race or show) and restoration. I considered a custom build which would have its own challenges. Considering that nowadays customisation is about bolting go fast bits on, it had little appeal. I have done that to my race bikes, so I was looking for something different.

Like a classic motorbike restoration. It even sounds sexy. And that would have to be most motorcycle lovers’ dream hobby.

As I started to look for bikes I came across this:

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A 1976 Kawasaki Z900. Tough to pass up an opportunity like this. She was a beauty, well, it her days, but today her birthday suit somewhat wrinkled…

She belonged to a mate of mine Rod Sharp, with whom I had many happy rides, mostly off road. Sadly Rod has passed away and this bike was left in his garage for quite sometime.

The bike was complete, with mostly std parts but hasn’t run for at least 10 years. As I started to look at it closely, it was obvious there were some parts (exhaust, the (lack of) air box and some other bits) were not genuine. Neither was the paint job. The whole bike had a respray by the guy who owned it before Rod. Judging by the quality of the work, possibly whilst assembled…

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20141004_091136The battery, as expected, was cactus and its acid was spilled. I hooked up a new battery and got her going. Much to my surprise she started which was somewhat confidence inspiring. A Little…

This would have to be a back to bare metal full restoration. I have done similar work on my K5 Gixer, so hopefully I can give it justice. To look the way she deserves to I am going to need help…wish me luck.