RealClassic.co.uk Home

Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links

more bike profiles...

Bike Tale - Posted 25th May 2015
Home -> Bikes -> Road Tests and Profiles ->

Kawasaki Z650 - Part 2

Darren Carter didn't expect to spend 15 years on the transformation of his Z650. But that's just what happens when you start out with no particular plan. This time: sorting the front end...

Sorting out the back end of the bike wasn’t too tricky but the front was a different story. I could have made adapters for the Suzuki spindle to fit the Z650 forks, but the disc offset and rim width were always going to be more trouble than I could modify out. Hmmm. It became apparent that a revised outlook was on the cards, which meant that new yokes were required.

Kawasaki Z650

As I was on a budget of ‘as close to nil as I could manage’, the yokes were made from solid 20mm steel which was scavenged from the scrap bin of the big engineering firm next door. The top yoke was bent and shaped to match the height offset and the looks of the original, the bottom one kept to a simple slab design. I then machined pockets underneath to reduce some weight where possible, and made and welded on the risers. At this point I found a set of Suzuki forks in a breakers to make the spindle situation a little easier. These turned out to be from an RG500 and had anti-dive. A nice period bonus! However, they were a little bent… and needed top caps... and springs… more work to do.

I straightened the fork legs perfectly using a small fly press and blocks of wood. The top screw caps were made by a mate, as screw cutting is a little beyond my machining ability. I stumbled on unwanted fork springs for an FZ600 by cross referencing part numbers in an old M&P catalogue. Happy days!

Kawasaki Z650

In my local breakers I found some old Suzuki GSX1100EFE front calipers in need of refurb, and a steel front mudguard in a skip and then managed to do a deal on some wavey stealth discs. These were only new parts used in the project. Stainless adapter plates were made to mount the calipers to suit the forks and the larger diameter discs. A one-off billet aluminium fork brace was made to mount into a new pocket, cut and welded into the mudguard, with hidden fixings. This was then all fitted into the new wider yokes – and I was away! Well, I had a rolling bike again.

Kawasaki Z650
650cc Kawasakis on Now...

I found a rear underslung GSX-R caliper in the free ads to complete the wheel set, and so just had to make the stainless hanger / bracket / wheel spacer to mount it on. I was starting to like the look of the Zed. I know a monoshock and three-spokes is a well-trodden path for older bikes but it just works, doesn’t it?

Kawasaki Z650

This is when the old, black chrome Harris four-into-one started to look a bit understated. At the time Ducati were messing about with underseat exhausts. I had tried before with modding old pipes for under-seat stuff but this time I decided I was ready to go from scratch, in stainless of course. A few measurements and angles were made, a jig built and four matching manifolds were produced and polished. ‘That went well,’ I thought, and so it continued.

Kawasaki Z650

I made the two end-can silencers with internal reflector plates and tubes to baffle the exhaust note. These were positioned by chopping the rear of the seat frame about a bit, and mounting the famous Kawasaki ducktail straight onto the underside of the seat to allow max clearance. Then it was just a case of joining the manifolds to the cans as nicely as possible. I did this using the time-consuming cut-and-shut ‘lobster back’ method of tube forming, but it meant I could change direction and angle by tiny increments to get the lines as good as I could. The welding took ages and the polishing even longer, but I am quite pleased with the end result. The exhaust note that comes out is just right…

Kawasaki Z650

The rearset foot rests and controls are all stainless with bronze oil-lite bushes and are fitted just behind the swinging arm pivot. The kickstart had to be removed so I use a higher capacity battery, just in case. Some people may feel the footrests are a bit high, but after five minutes riding they feel just right. However, as old age advances, their position may change.

Kawasaki Z650

The front lights were a bit of a dilemma. They had to be twin headlights because that was rare at the time. They needed to be not too big and preferably cheap (or free as normal). One day I passed a skip (you see the pattern emerging here?) and had a look in, as you do. There they were. Two spotlights from an industrial power cut back-up lighting pack, four-inch, and working. What a result! These were painted to match the main bodywork and mounted on custom-made teardrop-style alloy billet mounts with hidden fixings and hidden security bolts for the lights.

NEXT TIME: paint, powdercoat, wiring and final fettling


Like this page? Share it with these buttons:

Home


More Kawasakis on Right Now...

Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links

More Bike Profiles...


RedLeg Interactive Media

© 2002 The Cosmic Motorcycle Co. Ltd / Redleg Interactive Media

You may download pages from this site for your private use. No other reproduction, re-publication, re-transmission or other re-distribution of any part of this site in any medium is permitted except with the written consent of the copyright owner or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.