H2 for sale H1 for sale S3 For Sale S2 for sale S1 for sale 1969 H1 for sale KH250 For Sale KH400 For Sale H2 for sale H1 for sale S3 For Sale S2 for sale S1 for sale 1969 H1 for sale KH250 For Sale KH400 For Sale
H2 for sale H1 for sale S3 For Sale S2 for sale S1 for sale 1969 H1 for sale KH250 For Sale KH400 For Sale H2 for sale H1 for sale S3 For Sale S2 for sale S1 for sale 1969 H1 for sale KH250 For Sale KH400 For Sale
Drop of hat 2002 - the sequel . . March 2002
I have to say from the outset that if I thought the last trip was ill planned then this one has all the thought of a blind man on a tightrope! The tale starts just a week after I had returned from the Dallas trip, I was totally snowed under with mails, work, renewals and with a newsletter to write and print I was avoiding answering the phone. The phone went yet again, the caller I.D. displayed "International" and I answered it to hear a chap telling me how he had read an article about my "collection" in a magazine . . and would I be interested in buying a new Z1a? Yes, A NEW Z1A! Unridden with just the test 1 mile on it! As I have been lured to the U.S. on futile paper chases before I asked a few more questions, the bike was apparently One of a pair bought by the guys father and never ridden. One bike was sold to someone in the U.K. a few years back.
The bike sounded genuine and more importantly sounded like it had been well cared for apparently it had stood in the fathers hallway for some 20 years, when his father died, the house was cleared and the Z1 was taken to the garage a couple of years back but soaked in WD40 and had oil put down the bores – things are looking good eh ? Coupled with the fact that the bike was just 375 miles from my old pal Harry and Jenny in Michigan I started to search the Internet for a flight, the basic plans came together, fly to Detroit, drive to Toronto, see the bike, make a decision, sort out the new fly in the ointment which is a KV75 that I happened to buy off EBAY some 9 hours ago (as I type this account) and I think Is not a million miles away from the Z1, from there try to re trace my route of Two years ago and try to complete a deal for the huge inventory of N.O.S. in Michigan and also maybe take a mere 60 mile detour to buy some of the stock from Canada that I also saw on the same trip – sounds like a plan? Sounds more like flying by the seat of your pants, but what the hell!
So once again I find myself in Newark airport and it is a healthy 65 degrees and Sunny. Some 5 hours later and I am landing in the minus 2 degrees and sleet in Detroit! I pick my new "zero mileage" Pontiac Firefly up and check on the rental rates, I sign up for $220 (£140) and think it is a little cheap for ten days hire, I question the insurance and it appears that I just have 3rd party F&T for that price - I am responsible for all non recoverable losses – So, the gamble – I have driven well over a Million accident free miles in the U.K. and I have driven some 24,000 accident free miles in the U.S. (is that you choking Mr Aylor?) Fully comp insurance works out at an extra $280! (200 quid) – with the unknown equation of the weather common sense prevails and I see little choice but to request the fully comp and sulk to myself that Ten days insurance is what it would cost me for a whole year in the U.K. (that poor little Pontiac is going to have to give me 200 pounds worth of fun though!) As it is still light I decide to head for Canada (40 mins away) and get a motel over there. I clear the tunnel to Canada and queue at the customs post, my video camera (like last trip) is set to record the process, the interview at the booth was not easy, the customs guy (like last time) could not understand why anyone would fly from England to look at an old Kawasaki motorcycle, things start to drag on until he sees the camera – He is not a happy bunny and sternly orders that it be turned off immediately and the film re-wound and taped over – from there I am sent with my tail between my legs to the "immigration" point where I am thoroughly searched (no rubber gloves though!) I leave the terminal and start to look for a motel, in the sleet I manage to miss a sign and start to turn the wrong way down a One way street . . . only to face a cop car coming the other way! Luckily I realise my mistake before any harm is done. So next stop is the wine shop . . (Got my priorities right this time!) The motel I found was old but clean and VERY reasonably priced at £26 a night! And quite surprisingly I managed to get some kip this time . . . or was it the wine?
So, up to a cold and sleeting morning, scrape the ice off the car and I head off towards Toronto, I arrive at the Z1’s home some 3 hours later and the bike was as described – it had been in the owners hallway for 25 years and had several generations of his families dust and skin particles on it – the last 3 years it had lived outside but had been well protected with duck oil the only real flaw was that the tank had badly "Orange peeled" for some reason – but I reckon it could be salvaged with some T cut and at worst a re- lacquer. I struck a deal with the owner and whilst the wheels were put in motion to pay him I headed off on the 250 mile drive to Michigan. I took a slight 80 mile detour to meet up with a guy off the message board, unfortunately it didn’t work out but quite fortunately I got to see the biggest truck that I had ever seen close up in my life! The truck has around 40 axles and consists of a central platform supported either end by two steered bogie assemblies, this in turn is hauled by a single unit - and maybe pushed by another?. I think the truck is around 130 feet long (THREE times the length of a normal U.K. road truck) it’s major use is to carry the huge presses that form the body panels of GM cars.
So, as I am still a day ahead of schedule with time on my hands I check thru my notes I find a reference to a 1964 SG1 250cc single cylinder Kawasaki that I was told about a couple of years back up in "Iron Mountain" in Michigan on the Wisconsin border), I call the guy and he still has it (is he shocked to hear my voice or what?) The owner informs me that he has been told there were just 12 of these bikes imported into the U.S – I have seen Two on EBAY (going reasonably cheap) in the last 3 years so I will reserve judgement on his statement. But, I decide to take another detour to see this bike (whats a thousand miles at a quid a gallon anyway?) – the weather turns rough some 200 miles into the journey and I am bemused to see so many snowmobiles riding through the woods alongside the roads. Every café and bar (there are not that many) has rows of snowmobiles parked up outside. So, some 450 miles later this day I am in the sleet and snow of Americas highest ski resort - Iron Mountain. A call to "Jim" with the SG reveals that he is deep in the woods surrounding the resort. The next morning Jim calls to collect me and we head off back through the snowy roads into the woods and after as few miles arrive at Jims house. The bike is in remarkable condition for it’s age, there is some light rusting but it appears to be totally original. This model has the "Meguru" badge (with the early Kawasaki logo) on the petrol tank and Kawasaki is cast into the engine casings. Jim bought the bike in 1967 as a non runner, he tells me that he traced the fault down to the piston that had a flaw in it’s casting and was actually fractured right the way through and would not allow enough compression to fire the motor.
One thing that I did notice was that bolted to the head was what I can only presume to be an electric valve decompressor ? - No doubt Kawasaki will re-invent this idea in another ten years. Jim is in no rush to sell the bike (at $3,000 he may struggle anyway!) but I am given first refusal if I can find a way of shipping it back to the U.K. - Watch this space.
I head back south past the "World famous" mystery spot that is open "rain or shine" (so why is it closed ?L ) Then over the Macanaw bridge (identical to the Humber bridge) and try to get as far as possible in the severe weather, my goal for the night is the Tourist resort on the shores of lake Michigan – Traverse City. This place is awash with empty hotels and I find a really plush place for just $50.00 (apparently in high season it is $200 a night!). The lake looks pretty as the snow falls and the "slush" laps up on shore – Lake Michigan Is freshwater so it freezes over quite easily. My Jet lag has finally gone and I wander down to a local bar for a couple of pints.
So, the next stage of the journey is a 350 mile trip down to Manistee to see my old friends "Harry and Jenny", those of you that have been in the club a while will remember the story of how H&J had a couple of Kawasaki dealerships in the mid sixties and early 70’s they then closed the shops in 1976 and took all the bikes and stock to their home in Manistee in the North of Michigan. Two years ago when I visited, the bikes had suffered badly and were not in good condition. What a difference the Two years has made! The bikes are all now back in almost showroom condition! The bikes consisted of: A NEW H2b still in the crate, A NEW H2b assembled, Two NEW Z400’s, a NEW KD125, 4 NEW KS125’s A low mileage H2b, A low mileage H2a a 650W1TT, and a 650 W1SS – I was totally stunned at the condition. Over the next day I checked over the stock and with the advent of EBAY I have decided to do my best to try and purchase it. Due to the huge amount of New Old Stock this may well involve my going and staying in the U.S. for a month or so to fill the container . . . watch this space (and don’t be puzzled if no one answers the phone at the office in a couple of months time!)
So, with a severe weather warning given out I head back down to Canada to wrap the Z1 up and get it to the shippers. The 350 mile trip is interesting to say the least, the traction control on my Pontiac Sunfire appears to work well . . . but it is more fun to turn it off and get the car sideways! A cheap motel in Port Huron (£28.00) turns out to be the best value of the trip so far – clean large room, telly, microwave, fridge nice furniture and a bar next door! Still no Internet access though and I know the mails are piling up! Next day it is a 150 mile drive to London Ontario (in the snow) I collect the bike and take it to the freight forwarders (after taking dozens of photos of it for a picture CD) The bike is well wrapped for it’s journey.
Later that afternoon I venture East toward Toronto to meet up with Greg Peters who has a trio of H2’s. Greg’s H2 recently won a best in show award at a Toronto show. The award was deservedly won, a lot of the parts on the bike were N.O.S. but Greg has the distinct disadvantage that H2’s are few and far between in his locality and original bikes for reference are non existent (maybe you ought to buy a Picture reference CD from RB’s Greg?) Greg is fortunate (?) enough not to be married so his H2 has pride of place in the front room! So, a night with beer and Pizza made a great change from my own company and hotel rooms. Next morning I had time to wander round the local market and see at first hand the handicrafts of the local Amish community.
So, on his return I had just a few hours to go over his stock until I had to head for Detroit for my flight to Florida. In the barns were some interesting 1970’s items – how about a BRAND NEW Z900 tank at the bargain price of $60.00cdn (£28.00!) Boxes of grey cables, new brake levers, headlamps, baffles etc etc . . Unfortunately Jack was reluctant to rush into any sort of a deal and told me that he was selling no more of the old stock until he had completed the restoration of the triples that he has started. and will just have to wait to hear from him in due course. So, it’s another drive through the sleet and snow to Detroit airport as luckily all this has coincided with bike week at Daytona and John Aylor and Dave Crussell will be racing - John Aylor takes up the story . .
My First Daytona! (Florida, USA) By JA (John Aylor)
First, I would like to thank all the guys that helped me out. Florida Dave for the help loading my stuff (and disappeared before we were done… ;-), Rick Brett for coming over and helping with some testing, taking photos and videos, buying dinner and drinks, and generally being a cheerleader/wise cracker when Dave Crussell and I were down a bit on luck. And to Dave Crussell and his Lorraine for sharing his pit area and the Moral support as with Super Dave, Zooke, Krash and the other triple guys that stopped by.
I’ll start with Dave's story, from my perspective. It started with a ignition trigger going bad in Deland (a pre race held at an airport built in WWII). But he still got a 3rd after he fixed it. The fix bit him at Daytona when a solder joint broke in the first race. IT was a bummer because he was FAST in the first practice! Passed me like I was sitting still on the banking. (which I was, being one of the first laps I ever did at Daytona) After Dave lost power in the first race, we thought he might have had a light seizure. But after pulling the heads we found no seizure marks. So out came the Ohmmeter and start checking the electrical system. Batteries and Nevell Lush’s (Australian racer/motor builder) ignition box looked good as well as resistant levels of the triggers. After trading around wires, we found there was trouble in the center cylinders electric's. There was interesting "incident" due to the fact that we put the bike on the rollers (starting system that uses a cars tire to start the bikes) to turn the motor over. Dave's lovely wife was used to starting motors with heads on and compression. Needless to say when she ran up the car engine, there was no resistance and the motor was revving giving all of us around the bike a nice shower of premix. As Rick had just gone through a bike fire from the same thing, we elected to have a "fire extinguisher volunteer". Thinking the trigger was bad we started the task of borrowing a soldering gun (Harley guys had one.... ;-) All this was as 2nd call came for Dave’s second race. Dave was ready to call it quits, but Rick started in cheerleading and we got to it. After cutting one side of the trigger wire loose, RB went to cut the other side and the wire just pulled loose. AH HA! found the problem! So to the last minute "thrash". (quite literally!) Dave was putting sealer on the heads and I was bolting them up. Rick was finishing the ignition stuff and Miss’s Dave was putting on the fairing. FL Dave (short for Florida Dave) was putting in the plugs while I was torquing down the heads. 10 hands working just like a real pit crew! Dave dressing out, and FL Dave gassing the bike up, and off Dave went just in time.
Super Dave Rosno (triples board computer friend) on a CR 750 took the lead and basically obliterated everyone. Dave C’s H1r was down on power now since the cylinders lifted when we had it on the rollers and weren't sealing well (no gaskets, just sealer). What really stuffed Dave C was that the race was red flagged due to a crash, and so every one had to regrid and wait for the restart. He had just put in enough gas for the race , and he ran out before the end of the race. Scott McCain’s first 500 triple effort at Daytona was having teething problems (new bike) and he limped home in the formula 500 race. (Jetting and plug wire coming off) And he decided to drop out of the formula vintage race.
Only one triple of the 4 there made both races. The only thing is that he only rides 2 races a year and basically runs around the track so he can say he raced Daytona. I was hoping to see Zooke (500 Suki) race also, but the bike was a wiggle monster, and he didn't want to risk another get off. So It was Zooke and me standing there by the fence listening to our names and numbers being called out, was a bit of a bummer.
As far as MY Daytona, It was a success. There were 4 thing I wanted to do: get to Daytona, ride the track, race and not fall down. 3 out of 4 isn't bad for my first outing. After smoking a center rod main bearing in practice here in New Mexico, (the day the bike was supposed to leave for Daytona) I was left flipping a coin whether or not to go ahead and send the bike and rebuild it there. I finally decided if things fell into place, I would go for it. I got my spare crank ready to send out to Damon Kirkland (this was a Saturday), and Damon had a one-day turn around. I called him the following Wednesday from Daytona to see how things were going, and he said it should be there today, and it was! I had a couple of days to do the work and so I took my time.
When I got the cases apart not only was the centre rod welded up, but there was a LOT of copper in the case of the left cylinder. 2 cans of carb cleaner and a lot of Q-tips and paper towels, I got both case halves spic and span. It was a pain taking apart the oil valves in the bottom of the cases and cleaning them and the passageways out. Got the crank dropped in and new piston in (the rod main bearing had gotten so hot it had caused detonation in the cylinder, pitting the piston). I also upped the pilot, needle and mains for sea level (I live at 5000 ft), and the motor popped right off. It was lucky it was bike week (500,000 bikers show up for bike week!!!) with all the Harleys running around with open pipes. The neighbourhood didn't seem to mind me running around in circles to break in the crank some. After a few heat cycles I load up the bike for a test run where I could do some jetting runs. The weather had been very cold and some showers. As usual when I found a spot to unload the bike, Mr. rain showed up. I said screw it and made a few runs getting soaking wet and very cold. Motor was running rich but was close. Then the first Daytona (curse) "boom". My cousin’s trailer is the tilt type, and I was parked on an incline. I got the bike in and one tie-down on. I was stepping over the bike, and the trailer tilted down, down goes the bike on top of me, in the rain no less. (I bet that was a sight for the people driving by) I picked the bike up but couldn't move it off of me with the one tie-down hooked up, so I had to put it back down, undo the tie down and reload the bike. The brand new 90.00 bubble was busted up pretty bad, fairing top mount bent, shifter bent, footpeg broken off and instrument panel broken. Nothing like adding insult to injury. A big crescent got the shifter straightened out, easyout and new bolt got the peg on, safety wire got the instrument panel usable and as my cousin said some cowboy chrome (duck tape) got the bubble and fairing mount fixed.
Off to tech the next day. I was worried about a few things on the bike (the EX calipers the most). Breezed through that, lot off my mind then. I hooked up with Zooke and Krash for the riders meeting and I was ready to race. Met another really nice guy and talked triples for about 2 hours, when a van came sliding up with a real ugly guy driving. It was Scott McCain. I think I will call him Mr.Hyper from now on, very animated. We all looked at bikes, and then it was off to wait for Rick to show up. We went to eat at a really good Japanese buffet and talked triples, ate too much and he drank wine. The next day we went to find another more secluded road to test on. Ended up in Deland on a nice little 1/4-mile side road. Had I bit of a miss on the Right cylinder at low rpm’s but ran good up top. I have to tell you, There is a BIG difference between sea level and 5000 ft power wise (22% in fact) I was practicing my starts and leaving nice darkies. (thick air is cool!) We took some pics and Rick took the bike out for a run or two. Changed a plug but still had the miss. Then some video and off the main street to see the bikes. What a ZOO! Lots and lot of very expensive bikes ridden by lots of very ugly people. ;-) We caught a sign for 2 dollar bloody marys and decided to eat first then have a couple of drinks. After some cold sausages (just off the grill, still haven’t figured that one out) we headed out for bloody marys and some great live music. It was cold but the drinks hit the spot (of course Rick made me drink two). We then decided to try and find the Iron Horse saloon to see the "sea" of bikes, but got lost instead, and Rick was still looking for the cabbage-wrestling pit. (no joke, gals wrestling in cabbage) Finally stopped for oil and a look around the Kaw shop there, then home to meet Dave Crussell and the miss's for dinner. More Japanese buffet and good conversation (more wine of course, and some talk about body piercing…. ;-).
Race day is here; we are up early and get in the wrong line (of course) to get in the track. Finally get in and look for Dave and his wife, they are not there yet, but we did find the bike. Rick and I argued a bit about Dave's bike, he said it wasn't his and I said it was, The gas cap threw Rick off. Dave showed up and his miss's (sorry I am terrible with names) went back into town and got us coffee (great lady!) We got unloaded and I went off to talk to some of my friends. When I got back Dave was suiting up, and it was then I realized, It was almost time for the first practice! On go the leathers, and some butterflies in the stomach. We had rollers available, so starting the bike was a snap. Off to go practice. WHAT A RUSH!!!!!!! Oh, did I mention, WHAT A RUSH!!!!!! I was a wobble monkey trying to figure out the lines. Hit the banking for the first time, like climbing up a mountain. Gas it hard through the gears motor just keeps pulling. (I’ll say it again, I love thick air.... ;-) Scare myself a bit and back off the throttle for the chicane. Bike is feeling really good, Hit the brakes……….. And reaccelerate back to the chicane, (brakes are just amazing!) Through the chicane and back up the mountain of banking through the gears. I stay in the middle of the banking with guys literally flying by and over me next to the retaining wall, which is actually hanging OVER you. Down the front straight, and no idea where to brake, again brake too soon and back through turn one. I almost clip the Armco with my shoulder trying to use the full course. Feeling better, the flag comes out and the session is over. I get to the pits, and notice that I cannot feel my fingers from the cold. After warming up a bit Rick and I pull the plugs and filters to check the sync. Plugs were very dark and I had another 100 degrees to go on the EGT. I decided not to push it and leave the jetting, the motor was running well on top, even thought it had the sputters on the right cylinder still at low rpm. Soon it's time for the second practice. Start up the bike and head out to the grid. I look down and one of the filters had popped off, so in the leathers it goes. I get in the track feeling better and gas it up for turn one, hit the white stripe and smoke the rear tire (did I say I like thick air? ;-) Things are falling into place and I am feeling a lot more comfortable. About 3 or 4 laps in I am coming out of the international horseshoe, gas it up and BBBBBBBRRRRRRR..... grab the clutch and up goes my free hand. I thought S#it, running too lean without the filter. Push to the pits and pull the plugs. Left one looked good without the filter, but turning the rear wheel it is feeling notch. Off comes that head, the cylinder looks fine...HHHHMMMMMMM off come the other 2 heads, those cylinders look fine too.....HHHMMMMM turns to RUT RO (A phrase I use instead of UT OH. Comes from the cartoon "the Jetson’s") Off comes the stator, turn the crank and crunchy feeling, not good. Rick wants to pull the clutch basket to make sure it's not in the tranny, off it comes and still crunchy. My day is done (found out later that somehow metal "swarf" had got into 2 main bearings). RB wants to go ahead and tear it all down, but I knew there was nothing to do, so I buttoned it up and became a spectator.
Had some good talks with some of the triples guys (sorry again about the names, but my mind was all over the place). Got to watch some good races and see old friends and meet some new ones. All in all a great time! Now how do I get there next year??????????