Friday, February 22, 2013

Cold Or Not, I'm Building A Motorcycle

Photo From Here

Now that's Italian - Guzzi in front of the Coliseum. 

Not Italian, but this is what's been paying the bills. This is one of the hydraulics trainers in the lab where I'm working now. All of the items you see pictured are fastened to a metal peg board by the new and improved system of pegs, replacing the old plunger and grommet system. Your's truly has been swapping them out. Each item requires the removal of four plunger/grommets and the installation of three fixed pegs (black) and one locking peg (yellow). Not a hard job by any means. Just a whole bunch of parts that are a little bit oily. There are four of these boards plus some additional stuff. I've about got the job wrapped up - been an interesting diversion from my normal routine of broom pushing. We moved a large model of a power plant in a couple of weeks ago. I'm awaiting word on what my responsibilities will be on that one. Lots of dusting for one thing and then some repair work, I would assume. 

Regardless of what the weather brings this weekend, I'm getting out in the shop and doing something. I'll never get that 900 done by sitting in the house all the time. When I built my roadracer for Daytona, I spent lots of time in the shop during the winter. Of course, I had a better heater in my old shop, but I lit the bike off for the first time by pushing it down the snowy alley when it was about 18 degrees. Loaded it up a couple of days later and Surly and I headed south, first to Talledega and then Daytona. My plan for this weekend was to get the rear wheel and the swingarm pulled off  so I can bridge the arm and see what it'll take to widen the wheel. However, I ran across this:

I've been looking for this magazine or at least the article about the Superbike for a few years now. I subscribed to Cycle magazine for years. Probably would still be if they hadn't  folded up. I had this issue in a cardboard box with a bunch of other back issues I had saved. Unfortunately for me, I had the box at school and I think some kid lost it or took it home with him, whatever. Of all of the old magazines, however, this is the one that I would have kept no matter what. It's got a really great write up on the Vetter Superbike in it. Highly unusual to see an in-depth article describing all the modifications on a current race machine, then or now. Anyway, I found a place that had a copy and it's ordered. Wasn't really cheap, but I think now that I have a blueprint, I might just turn my 900 into a 1978 Kawasaki Superbike. Probably have a little trouble running a number plate over the headlight on a street bike but other than that, shouldn't be too tough. Not so sure about the total loss ignition system. You can see the sidecover in the photo above that replaces the stock alternator cover. I made and sold a few of those back then, so I made myself one and kept it. I've already bought the second disc for the front brakes. I think the Superbike used Lockheed calipers instead of the stock ones. My bike has a Suzuki fiberglass fender on the front. Don't know about finding a good stock metal fender but a fiberglass one would be easy to come by. I've got a steering dampener like the one in the photo. I had it on my frame when I had the sidecar attached to it.  So it looks like I've got most of the parts and some of the frame mods are already done. I can't remember what they did to strengthen the swingarm. I don't think they used  rectangular tubing like mine is, but rather, I think they opened up the tubes and welded in a piece of flat bar, as odd as that sounds. I'll find out when the magazine gets here.

I'm excited now. Cold or not, time to start working on that old dog. 


Rich Dailey said...

I saw that magazine cover, and it immediately took me back to study hall in high school. Gaaad those KZ 4-bangers were sexy back then. At least until they went all square headlight and such around what, '81-82?
Cycle magazine covers in the mid to late seventies was all anyone ever saw of my face back then.
Great memories... Rich

Shop Teacher Bob said...

I started reading Cycle when it was still owned by Floyd Clymer back in the mid-sixties, subscribed maybe a few years after and kept with it until it was gone. It was great when both Kevin Cameron and Ed Hertfelder (The Duct Tapes) were in an issue.

Kaw started making the bikes more "geometric" with the Z1-R and then added the rectangular headlight after that. Your probably right, about '81-'82. "J" model maybe? If it's going to be sexy, definitely has to have curves.