Its fast approaching and a great turn out of riders is promised for this PRE 86 event including at least three riders making the trip from OZ. The evnt deserves your full support and will be a great warm up to the NZ VMX series. I have set a webpage on this site covering the details – check it out for the relevant details and the recent update as of 20 August for the race schedule!
Well the KT is pretty much finished.
Main effort over the last month has been pretty much buttoning down the final detail of the build. I spent a bit of time on the tank and pondered if I could come up with a paint job that was a bit different to the norm. Given it has been so cold and wet down here in Welly painting anything has been a fraught exercise but I pretty much stayed with the Kawasaki green and white livery but adopted a KX stripe for a bit of a difference. It came up ok but I would like to have another crack it sometime in the future and run the stripe on a wider angle along the tank given that it is a pretty long unit.
Moving on to the side panels, the originals were stuffed so I opted for a set fibreglass reproductions from Rob Cochrane KT spares in Wanganui. These are excellent items and come with some real nice alloy mounting pegs that bolt into the panel and lock into place where the original units went. The only thing that you need to do is paint the units – I simply carried on with the green and white theme and placed a couple of KT 250 stickers along the top edge to complete the look.
The seat base took a bit of work to tidy up with a bit of heavy rust in places that had broken through. However there was enough structural integrity remaining on which to place a layer of fibreglass mesh to strengthen and protect the seat base. If this is not an option Robert Cochrane also has reproduction fibreglass seat bases available as well. The original seat foam was still in reasonable condition, the only thing I did here was to place a thin layer of foam just to smooth everything down and then finished the unit with a seat cover – also from Rob Cochrane.
At the front end I opted for a set of high rise CR alloy bars with new levers and brackets. The cables were finished with Yamaha rubber cable covers which for some reason I have a bit of a stock of. I’m not sure if the bar will be high enough yet but a bit of testing should reveal if bar risers are needed or not. The mudguards are original units. They were pretty heavily stained but were in otherwise good condition. So I set aside an afternoon of lightly sanding them down and then polishing them up again - Im pleased with the way they came up. An addition to the front guard were some fresh stays (again from Rob Cochrane) to replace the rusted and cracked original units.
Two more problems areas needed sorting out before the bike could be started. First the original muffler had a broken mount so a quick trip to Cycleworks got Damon Gruenwald onto the job. Building a stronger bracket was all that was required and while the bike was there, Damon also refurbished the original muffler to an as new state. While we toyed with building an alloy unit, the original is real pretty and was still in good shape so sticking with it was a no brainer.
The next thing to address was the carby. It was totally gunked up with old fuel and oil and required lots of carb cleaner to get the unit clean and the jets flowing freely again. The float valve and float were totally knackered but again Rob Cochrane came to rescue for the valve as he has these available as a kit. The float was a bit more of a mission as it is made of brass and one side had been crushed and was leaking. These items are rare as chicken lips however the Kawasaki dealer network can still hunt one down for you but the quoted price of $126 a unit this was little too steep for me. However the ever helpful John Boyle at Boyle Kawasaki had a rummage around at the back of the shop and found an alternative plastic unit that would fit. So that was good! As an alternative to this I also managed to find reproduction brass units via eBay out of Japan as US $20 a unit.
With everything pretty much locked down, it was a case of fuelling the bike and kicking it into life. The bike fired into life after about the fifth kick and sounded as tight as the day it came off the production line. I was stoked. However there were two immediate problems. The clutch was totally stuck (probably hadn’t been touched for a good 10 years) and the kick starter failed to return to place – a sign of a weakened or broken return spring.
A search through google revealed the best way to unstick a clutch is to shift the bike into about third gear, pull in the clutch and stamp on the rear brake. Sure enough, after doing this three times the clutch plates broke free and operated smoothly. The fix on the kick starter spring was just as easy. After pulling off the clutch cover, I found that the spring had been dislodged from its holder so it really a very simple job of relocating it correctly and then putting the clutch cover back on. So job done!
First impression of the bikes is one of really excellent power – very very torquey. And yes its true KT’s don’t turn that well which is really quite an odd thing for a trials bike! But I like it and am looking forward to getting out there and having a go with the feet up brigade.
Not long after the announcement of the 50th Kiwi Vintage D.J Memorial event to be held on 26th of August, NZ VMX Inc and Vinduro NZ announced their dates. Another 8 round series with the top 6 rounds counting for NZ VMX – the first four of which are locked down. And for Vinduro NZ a promise of a six round series! And of course there is also classic trials. Holy schmolly, I don’t know how we are going to fit all this in! Carefully I suppose, is the answer.
Being a committee member of NZ VMX, I know that setting the dates and locations was a bit perplexing as we had to look for an alternative locations to start the series as frankly the weather has played havoc with our normal venues. So for the start we are hitting the coast at Waitarere for the first round where the sandier country is better draining. Organisation is being led by the ever popular Horowhenua team – yes the same crowd who seem to collect most of the regional and series trophies based on the results of last year! So we expect good things!
As for the last four rounds, these are only tentative at this stage and we still have to factor in if the Naki will be able to host an event. So a bit sorting to be done yet.
Speaking of Vinduro, after a miserable vinduro season for me last year and the realisation that the XL 175 needed a total rebuild, I have started the teardown. A look in the engine indicates a rebore and a valve grind is required, some helicoils are required in the head, the stator needs rewinding, cam chain needs replacement, and the cam and rocker arms need to be refaced. On the latter, after being burnt in the past on cam and rocker arm re-facing, there is only one person and company I will trust for this work – that is Brendan Locke from CSL Race Engines in Palmerston North. Brendan (#11) is a VMXer through and through and is keen to do the re-facing work. The frame and running gear aint too bad but I will go for a repaint, a new tank, new side panels and straightening the forks (yes I seemed to have got a bit of bend on after 4 years of racing) plus a fresh set of fork seals. I will keep you up to speed on the rebuild as it progresses.
See you all at the 50th Kiwi Vintage and D.J Memorial Event