Friday, May 17, 2013

A fool and his money....


I received an email from a friend the other day, a friend to whom I had sold my '76 KZ900LTD.


I have a history with this bike. When we moved from Canada, found work, settled in and getting established my new boss sold me a KZ900LTD he had just bought from a mechanic. He is a big fan of KZ900s with several in his shop including one he bought new and was quite knowledgeable with these bikes. I learned quite a bit too. We would take off after work and ride our bikes to the coast, we would go for chowder rides on the weekends and I commuted daily on it. I loved that bike and can't remember how many miles I logged on it, I repainted it (somewhat poorly) and even taught Trobairitz how to ride on it.

Several years ago, the old KZ started making ticking noises, the starter wouldn't engage and I much preferred the more reliable Triumph Sprint ST I had recently purchased, so I had parked the bike in the backyard and covered it. I had full intentions of restoring it but eventually admitted that I would never get around to it and at a weak moment let it go to a friend who was willing to get it running and ride it. Well, he did get the motor out and apart, replacing the valves and valve spring retainers but then life got in the way. He graduated college, went in search of work, got married, moved and just didn't have the time, money or resources to finish it. So he asked if I wanted to buy it back.

Needless to say, weak moment number two... I now have a project bike.



Some of it is in my single garage and space is tight, the rolling frame is again in the backyard under cover.  I still don't have the time and just enough knowledge to mess it up, but my intention is to sand down the tank, sidecovers and tail piece then try my hand again at painting. I'll mount some new tires, bleed the brakes, polish the bits of chrome and spot paint the frame. I need to get in touch with another friend who is a detailer to fine tune and shine up the engine.

I know she'll never be a show bike, but I certainly hope at the very least I won't have to part her out on flea bay. Maybe, just maybe, eventually we can make appearances at bike nights and coffee.


My old father used to have a saying:  If you make a bad bargain, hug it all the tighter.  ~Abraham Lincoln







22 comments:

  1. That would be so nice to be able to take apart a bike and put it back together again and have it run! Looks like rewarding fun.

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    1. Well, I'm afraid I'm over my head when it comes to the engine so I'll have a friend tear into it. I'll work on the rest of it myself if and when I have time.

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  2. Everyone needs a project bike. I have sold the last 2 I had and am now starting to look for something to keep me occupied over the next winter. Now if it was a Z-1 and not a KZ I might be making an offer. :)

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    1. The problem I have with winter projects is my garage isn't heated so I'm reluctant to spent anytime out there. Maybe I should insulate it this summer then I could work out there in the winter. Wait, I have flooring in the house to finish first.

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  3. Cool! My hubby is regretting selling Lucy, it would have been a perfect starter bike for our kiddo. Can hardly wait to see your baby when your done.

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    1. Didn't we warn you not to sell Lucy? I don't know yet whether I am lucky to have the KZ back or not, time will tell.

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  4. Troubadour:

    I like the idea of a project bike, especially one that you had owned before. You were so lucky to be able to get it back. You need one of those temporary parking structures you know, with the poles and fabric to at least keep the weather away and put it on the left side of your lot

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. Lucky? Maybe. It crossed my mind to put up a structure but it might be better to build a garden shed to get the lawnmower and garden tools out of the garage.

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  5. Very cool to get your old bike back - I miss a lot of my old bikes and would love to be able to have a shed full of 'em. A project would be cool too although I just don't have enough mechanical skills to pull it off properly. I have to make do with basic farkling on my two babies...

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    1. I don't have the mechanical skills either, I may have bought a project on emotion.

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  6. I wish I could get some of my bikes back... especially my Honda XBR500, alas its whereabouts are unknown.

    I envision a lovely cafe racer, and look forward to your updates.

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    1. Thanks Sonja, don't hold your breath as it may be several years before I complete it.

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  7. I agree with Sonja, a cafe racer would be great! Isn't it amazing how quickly bikes multiple? 4 in the stable now for you two. :) hehe

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    1. Yes, well.... they out number the car 4:1. I plan to do keep it somewhat stock with a couple of mods making it my own.

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  8. How long you reckon it is going to take?

    I am betting 3 - 5 years...hehehehhe

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    1. You are probably right on that one.

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  9. All projects are based on emotion...that's what makes us take them on. This one sounds like a little bit of a way to relive the past, what fun. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

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    1. Too much emotion and I'd be better off reliving the past on a running bike. Oh well, we'll see where this takes me.

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  10. I think that my bike is an ongoing project. There always seems to be something to do or look into.

    Nice to have history as part of your project. So is this one going in the living room?

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    1. Nope, this one will not see the livingroom as it leaks oil and is in several pieces. In fact, the rolling frame is outside under a bike cover as there wasn't any room in the garage. I don't know where to find room to restore it.

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  11. Love the Lincoln quote.

    Good luck. I've never had a project bike and can't say I've an urge, although the thought of a Ural comes up from time to time which seems to be a little like buying a project bike.

    I just how you can keep it fun. I suspect if it somehow becomes a have to or a nag it will never get even close to done.
    ~k

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    1. I'm afraid it's going to be a "one of these days" project or "when I get around to it, but I do love the bike. If I can find someone to tear into the motor and get it running I'll have a lot more motivation to work on the rest of the bike.

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