Monday, June 29, 2009

1977 Kawasake KE100

This bike is from the KE100's second year of production- the KE100 continued in production through 2001, which makes it one of very few motorcycles in continuous production for a quarter century without much change It's a peppy little bike, with a rotary-valve 2 stroke engine that produces a claimed 11HP at 7,500 RPM- not bad for 100cc. With the 5-speed transmission this bike has no trouble getting up to speed quickly. It would be a great first off-road bike for a lighter rider. And did I mention it's really pretty?

This particular bike has only 1700 miles on it. The first owner flipped it, and that scared him off off-road riding, so it's been sitting idle for a while. Barry bought it to fix up and sell, but he's been growing rather attached to it... so it just might stay a while longer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1970 Yamaha R5 350cc

The R5 was a piston-ported, 350cc bike that was the predecessor to the RD350. Even without the RD-series seven port, reed valve engine, the R5 was a fast bike that blew away a lot of surprised riders on bigger bikes. In fact, the R5 engines were so good that Don Vesco used two of them to build a Bonneville streamliner that went over 251mph in 1970. If you're interested in R5s, there's a good site devoted to them here.

This particular bike came in pretty much as you see it- a collection of parts waiting to be assembled. We'll visit it again once it's running.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GT250 Update (2)

The engine is back together, turning easily, and running... on one cylinder. Looks like an ignition problem that should be easy to fix. And doesn't it look great?


Not all bikes are worth restoration. Some, like the Kawasaki 350 triple that this engine came from, end up getting disassembled to provide a supply of parts for more deserving bikes.

Once the heads and pistons are off comes the business of splitting the case. A large number of nuts are removed with the help of an impact wrench, and then comes the delicate business of whomping at the case with a soft hammer until...

The internals of the transmission are revealed. Even though the bike was pretty beat up the transmission showed almost no wear at all. The gears look like new, and the dogs that allow one gear to engage another have perfect square edges. Now, back to the business of repair and restoration...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

GT250 Update

As you can see, work has begun on the GT250 seen here last week. The first order of business was to get the motor turning again, and that's why the cylinder is not in its usual position. Barry says usually these can be freed up with a little penetrating oil and the application of leverage ot the crankshaft, but this one took a little more persuading.

Seen above are the tools used when for delicately moving seized pistons- a can of PB penetrating oil and what's known in the trade as a BFH, or a large hammer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Schwinn Whizzer

It's a reproduction, not an original, and was just passing through on its way up North. A few of us gathered to check out some of the curious features of this bike, like the odd 123cc four-stroke engine:

To start the bike, you turn on the gas, pull in the clutch lever with your left hand, and start pedaling. Once you're moving, you engage the decompression lever with your left thumb, and then release the clutch lever to engage the belt drive. If everything works right, the engine should fire and you can release the decompression lever. At that point you're driving a one-speed motorcycle with all the sophistication of a 1912 model, except you don't need to work a manual oiling pump to keep the engine from seizing up.

With its 123cc engine, the Whizzer would be classified as a motorcycle, not a moped, although I suspect very few of these are tooling around with cycle plates on them. I think most aren't sold to ride, but as pure collectibles, perhaps fired up a few times a year for a quick clandestine ride around the neighborhood, and then carefully cleaned and returned to the garage or basement.

1972 Kawasaki 350 S2

Kawasaki came out with their first 2-stroke triple- the 500cc H1- in 1969. The H1 had acceleration described by at least one writer as "truly terrifying" and helped differentiate Kawasaki from other Japanese road bikes of the era. The 350cc S2 was introduced in 1972, and was an immediate hit. With 44HP available at 8,000RPM, Kawasaki advertised a top speed of 112MPH. Not too shabby.

This particular S2 has a few problems- the ignition switch is missing, as are some of the controls and the chain. The original air box has been replaced with three filters of the K&N type, maybe to replace a missing air box, maybe to give it that racer look:

And the shift lever definitely has a non-standard look:

But bigger challenges have passed through Barry's garage. Watch this space.

Ready Reference Manual

This is why Barry seldom has to check the reference manual when working on Honda 4-stroke singles. All he needs is a mirror.

1975 Suzuki GT250

Here's a Suzuki GT250 in a gorgeous magenta color that you don't see very often. These are fast bikes, producing 31 HP at 7,000RPM- enough, according to Suzuki, to propel this bike to 93MPH in stock form. And check out the ram air cooling, seen on GTs from 1972 up until part way through the 1975 model year. I imagine Suzuki finally decided it wasn't really necessary- but it did look cool, and helped make the Suzuki engines look very different from other 2-strokes of the era.

This one came in with some cosmetic issues, and an engine that's locked up solid. It should be running again very soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

1972 TS250 Update

You may recall the last time we saw this bike it looked very different. Here's a reminder:

As you can see in the first photo, it's being stripped down to the frame, which will be receive a fresh coat of paint. The next time you see it here, it should look like it just rolled off the showroom floor.