In planning - more details to follow:
The Great DJ Memorial/50th Kiwi Vintage MX Event
26 August 2017
Parson's Property, Waitotara
Sucker for Punishment
I cant remember who asked me, but the question was, “Oh Andrew are you going to undertake another bike build this winter”. The categoric answer was no. I explained I already have enough bikes on the boil and lots to be done on them. First the XL 350 needs to have its jetting sorted – not a big job but still it takes time. Then there is the TE 185, clutch rebuild and re-bore needs to be completed, and then the poor old XL 175 needs a total frame and engine up rebuild. And then my GN Brat-o-Bobber needs a frame repaint and fresh tyres etc.
But in a moment of weakness I saw an old 1977 a KT 250 trials bike for sale. The bike was in an unusual condition, too bad to restore, too good to wreck – a real conundrum of a thing. So I thought I better save it from the scrap yard and make it a slow burner project. I had always wanted an old trials bike to complete the stable so I guess this was going to be as good as any.
So a bit of background on the KT. First they seemed to hit the scene here a bit later after the Yamaha TY, Honda TL and Suzuki RL so never really gained a foothold in competition trials. Second, while it probably had the best engine of Japanese trials bikes it was a little too heavy, under sprung and didn’t steer too well under full lock. Also the Kawasaki dealerships were a real hit and miss thing back then and my understanding the KTs were mainly distributed by Dalgetys (sort of similar to the RD 1 stores today) with most of the bikes doing duty as farm bikes. But all that said in done, for the two years that they were available, a lot of them made there way to NZ.
My particular bike was by all accounts was a one owner bike. Bought for the express duty of doing pig/deer hunting duties. When I got it, it had a huge rack attached to the back for carrying carcasses, worn flat knobby with each knob sporting a screw wound in just to provide that additional traction, the bars had been cut and re-welded to turn them into something off Easy Rider, the front brake operated with a piece of twine, the muffler was held on with fencing wire, spokes totally rusted and the bike was covered in 40 years of grunge. Oh did I say it was seized too? Yip.
There was some good features though – where to start – lemee see – it was complete and the tank was not badly rusted. Hmmmm. In hindsight that now seems like a shortish list. Oh well – I thought it will at least be an exercise to see if I can bring it back from the dead.
Assuming this project reaches some form of completion, my aim is to have a vintage trials bike ready for competitive use. As with all my builds, I don’t aim to build a show pony but something which is tidy and I wont worry about getting scratched and covered in mud etc. To help me in the restoration are a few things in my favour, Robert Cochrone runs KT spares support service and reproduces a number of the hard to get consumables, plus there is pretty lively group of KT riders around the world who are a great source of knowledge and Ebay from to time to time offers some slim pickings for spares (albeit pretty darn pricey). And ofcourse Boyle Kawasaki, Carl at CEMEC engineering and Damon at Cycleworks are always a source of expertise when the going gets tough.
So next month – the strip down. And the TE clutch and rebore.