Wednesday, April 15, 2009

KZ 650 re-style

Well, the bike that was finished became unfinished because I'm a nut case and changed everything. It all started because the back fender came loose and rubbed through ruining the paint job. I wasn't going to try to match the paint, and the fuel tank was perfectly good, so I got another tank. The tank came from EBay and is made of Nylon. I got it cheap apparently because people are afraid of nylon. It's a bad ass tank with aviation style filler and billet petcock hookup and crossovers.
When it arrived I couldn't wait to put it on and see what it looked like....
Of course, it didn't fit. Where the bottom rails came up and met beneath the top tube, it was to wide for the tank to slide down where it belonged. The options were get another tank, try to squeeze the bottom rails in (tried that, didn't work out), or reconfigure the front of the frame.
Guess you can tell what I did! I decided to turn it into a single down tube. So I thought about it for a day and got up the next day before I could change my mind and got the Sawsall after it. Then after sitting and looking at it for a few days I decided to get radical and bring the top tube down over the motor as far as I could go and still get the top end of the motor apart. SO I got the come along out and yanked that tube waaaay down, about 6 inches! I saw that it was good....
Next put the front end back on, figured I would have to shorten it some of course, well.....It was way too short. Bottomed out with the tubes slid all the way up in the trees, the sliders were against the bottom triple tree. HMMMMMMM, what a predicament. I thought about cutting down the sliders a few inches and that could have been done but it would be a huge pain in the ass. I had a set of girder legs hanging on the wall that I got for 40 bucks at the Long Beach Swap, I also had a set of girder trees that I picked up in Pomona for 15 bucks. Sent those pieces home with Slim at and he made me some spacers and shafts and bushings to match the pieces together.
Slim brought the pieces back to my shop and we set about figuring out how to mount it. Here's an interesting little tid bit, Sportster bearings will fit damn near perfectly in Kawasaki races. It was a cinch, Slim had to take the trees back to his shop because the top nut we had didn't fit the stem and that was it, it was on there. we then set about shortening the front end a whopping 19"!!! Just long enough for the wheel to still fit in the legs. We then had to figure out a spring. I reached up on the shelf and had a Air bag from a truck seat and stuck it in there. It was like it was made for it, so we fabbed up some mounts and installed it.
Then Slim helped me make some handle bars using my new tubing roller I got from HF. We tried to roll em out to match the curve of the tank, I think they turned out bitchen. Then I had to reconfigure my front brake actuator, front caliper mount, headlight, then lots of gussets in the frame under the tank. It looks like the bike has no down tube. It has one, it's about 2" tall under the tank and gusseted to hell with 1/4" plate. It's very strong but looks kind of scary, that's how we likes it!
I changed the headlight to the tail light, made a new fender from the stock KZ front fender, new sissy bar, plate mount, seat pivot on skateboard wheel bearings to suspend the Slim made seat pan, a cover under the seat from stainless, moved the kickstand (it rubbed on the initial ride around the block)and some other stuff I'm sure I'm forgetting.
The bottom line? This is the third time I've re-made this bike and this will definitely be the last, I wish I hadn't put all this work into a KZ 650, a 1000 would be better but I'm finally happy with this stupid thing. It's a little weird to ride at slow speeds and it actually turned a little better when it was longer I think, hard to tell from a trip around the block. The front airbag seems to work great and I don't think I'm going to need a damper.
The plan was to have the bike ready for the Hippykiller Hoedown and the Bash and today is the day before that event. It won't be painted but it will ride and that's good enough for now. Today I have to bleed the front brake, do some more clan up grinding, and touch up some motro paint and stuff. The event is over 100 miles away so we'll be towing it out there to Slims place and riding to the evnt from there.
I've posted a little slide show that shows quite a bit of the work, there will be more pics to come. Click on the slide show and it will take you to my photobucket where you can study all the pics if you wish.

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