This KZ1000 one of the bikes I brought with me when I left Ireland a good few years back now.
The list of period correct performance & custom parts on this bike reads like the who’s who of Rock ‘n Roll on Grammy night but the one downfall of this particular machine is that it still retains the original little LTD fuel tank. The range with this tank is less than 120 miles so I have designed an under seat auxiliary fuel cell which will almost double the on board fuel capacity while keeping the weight low in the chassis. The alternative of course is to just fit a larger tank from a KZ1000, however I really like the shape of the LTD tank and would like to retain it and develop the auxiliary cell before having to fit a larger tank.
With this new set up, the battery will be exchanged for a light weight lithium ion unit and be re-located to the left side of the Kosman sprocket cover. There will also be re-location of various small electrical components needed which are currently located under the seat to make way for the new fuel cell.
When completed, the whole fuel delivery system will still be operated in the conventional way with On/Off/Reserve operated by the fuel tank petcock.
This will be a considerable amount of work to complete and refine. Owing to the amount of work in front of me right now along with other people’s work and my own current projects, I can’t see this happening in the immediate future. Bummer, coz it’s such a fun and exciting bike to ride.
The engine cases are now fully glass blasted both inside & out. These cases really are immaculate! After a very thorough cleaning of all the screw treads, oil ways and internals, I hit the “REPEAT” button. Now, we’re ready for some masking before getting painted. It’s a lot of work & time to refinish engine cases but the results speak volumes. After the glass blasting & cleaning, they are de-gassed & pre-heated before initial painting, then baked, cooled and sat for 24hrs before second coating and final baking. This is a hard wearing satin finish with a slightly etched texture.
The crank that I’ve chosen for this motor is a performance upgraded crank by John Pearson. The crank has all new bearings, thrust washers with the crank pins inspected/replaced as necessary.
It has been aligned and trued then the pins TIG welded into place to ensure it all holds straight under high rpm’s.
I’ve machined the casting webs from the centre bearing cap to allow me fit a 1/4” steel plate on top of the bearing cap. This simple modification will help maintain not only crank position in the cases during heavy load but also maintain the integrity and trueness of the engine cases. The transmission has had its dogs undercut on the gears, again to ensure full engagement of the selected gears under extreme load.
The crankcase flanges have now been cleaned (again) and are coated with Three Bond gasket sealer, ready to close up and torque down all the bolts.
To finish it off nicely all the hardware was dropped off to get zinc plated, so they should really show up nicely on the black motor.
With the bottom end of the motor now fully built up to the crankcase mouth, attention now turned to concentrate on the cylinder & pistons.
The cylinder block chosen for this project is from a Z1-900, the original Z1. The 903cc block has had its OEM sleeves pressed out then replaced with L.A. Sleeve Co. sleeves which were then bored to accommodate the MTC 76mm pistons. The block has been skimmed to refinish the deck & gasket surface.
The pistons are now balanced to the exact same weight, each built assembly weighing a mere 344g. Mounted on the balanced crank assembly, this will be a very smooth motor. The pistons don’t use circlips to retain the wrist pin, instead they have Teflon wrist pin buttons which allows for rapid piston removal if and when needed. Weighing 3g each they are however, slightly heavier than circlips, but they are re-usable and negate the risk of cylinder damage should a circlip dislodge itself.
At this point, the motor assembly is on hold until the APE cylinder studs & nuts arrive next week. The most I can do is to prepare everything for immediate assembly at that time.
Today, I’d like to share a video of the auxiliary fuel cell that I’ve designed for the big Kawasaki.
This bike was originally an LTD model whose fuel tank has a capacity of 13 litres, including reserve. With a range of only 110mls, that’s not quite what I want!
The auxiliary fuel cell that I’ve designed sits discreetly under the seat, between the side panels. It will be welded from aluminium sheet, rubber mounted to the frame and has a capacity of 12.5 litres. When filling up at the fuel station, fuel flows from the OEM tank through the twin port Pingle petcock into the fuel cell until both fuel cell and tank are full. Fuel is pumped up to the carbs by a Mikuni vacuum operated pump mounted to the lower side of the front panel on the cell. The reserve feature is maintained in the OEM tank which when activated, will allow fuel to flow down into the cell to get pumped up to the carbs. The components that originally occupied the space where the cell is fitted will be mounted to a secondary plate which is bolted to standoffs welded to the sides of the fuel cell. The battery will be replaced by a miniature lithium ion unit mounted in a custom cradle fitted to the outside of the Kosman clutch lifter cover.
This added capacity will give approximately 210mls range with the new 1197cc motor.
5 DAYS LATER
The auxiliary fuel cell for the KZ is almost finished now, with the exception of the mountings for the fuel pump and final hose barb locations. When all is complete, this cell will be black anodized to obscure it from view within the frame and more importantly, to protect from the elements.
As well as the added bracing the frame needed a few small but time consuming finishing touches today to make it ready for media blasting then powder coating.
This bike uses an offset drive sprocket to allow for chain alignment on the Dymag 5-1/2” magnesium rear wheel. The saddle gusset on the LH lower cross member had to be re-located as there was a likelihood of the chain contacting the saddle in its previous location. The saddle is now welded to the forward side of the cross member where it is clear of any obstruction. Thanks Rob Meggitt for the “heads up”.
The original coil fixings were also removed as they are redundant. Definitely not the easiest position on the frame to access, took a lot more more them than I had budgeted for!
Finally, the oil cooler fixings on the headstock were replaced for a different design and I also made the bracket to attach the cooler. Other than the above, there were various cleaning of welds & general tidy up of the frame along with glass blasting the few other black parts that remain on the frame.
When it comes to building custom motorcycles and one off parts, there’s little else that fires me up with more excitement & enthusiasm. I absolutely love what I do and the creative edge in the process, a personality trait that I inherited from my dress maker/designer mother.
While speaking to one of my most admired peers recently, I was asked “how much of your KZ1000 is custom built” and then the breaker; “how much of your time have you invested in designing and making all these parts”? Hmmmm……….Next!
Well, in reflection, that’s probably a fair question. The first answer is that the OEM fuel tank is stock, other than its Pingle petcock & paint job. The seat fairing, it’s also stock and the ………….
Fast forward to the second question, thats one that I either don’t want to or rather, can’t answer with any accuracy.
To bring it into perspective, I’ve included a few photos to this posting of some of the custom, one off components, every one of them specifically for this bike: let’s take a quick look at the front brake rotors & their carriers, 340mm of cast iron, each on 12 floating buttons. T6 aluminum carriers made to fit them to the Dymag magnesium wheels. Then there’s the caliper hangers to fit the Spondon calipers to the Marzocchi M1R forks: those extended fork tubes were custom made for this actual bike in Italy. The titanium front axle & it’s flange nut, also custom. And then there’s the fork yokes, steering stem, handlebar fixings & handlebar ends.
The rear axle carries its own wheel spacers, sprocket carrier, flanged axle nuts & rotor carrier. The rear caliper hanger, it’s torque arm and fixings were all one offs too. Rear Ohlins piston rod / swing arm mountings & bushings along with their upper frame fixings. Then there’s the chain guard and all the engine mounting plates & spacers. With the exception of the Bimota foot levers, all the footrest components were made specially for this bike.
On the engine, there’s custom made exhaust collars, aluminum cam end caps that allow fixing of the oil cooler hose clamps and then there’s the smog blanking plates on the cam cover.
Last but not least, I’m very proud of the auxiliary under seat fuel cell. That concept came to me about five years ago and is now a reality! The cell holds 12.5 litres of fuel, stored low down in the middle of the chassis. The location alone prompts thought. The location promotes a low centre of gravity and dare I say, mass centralization! Full of fuel, the complete cell weighs almost 14.5kg, so a little thought on CoG & mass centralization, please!
Most of the above parts are made from aluminum which has been anodized.
In closing, the next time someone asks about your custom build, be prepared to:
a. Avoid the question
b. Shock yourself at the amount of cash & time invested in your endeavour!
Here’s a few photos of the KZ1000 build and a video for you to take a look at the big Kawasaki as it starts to come together. Having got my black parts returned from anodizing, the fuel cell is now in place in the chassis. Hardly noticeable once in, the give away is the position of the fuel pump & it’s plumbing.
The big Kawasaki motor is now ready to be fitted into the frame. The smaller idler sprocket arrived yesterday and is now fitted to the idler assembly between the two cams on top of the cam chain tunnel. This smaller sprocket provides range for the cam chain tension adjuster at the back of the cylinder block. The cams are now degrees in to perfection, exactly 108 Deg lobe centres on each cam.
As COVID19 is a reality when doing this build, I didn’t have any help to lift the big motor from the workbench then into the chassis so, with only the minimum of parts fitted to the motor, I will attempt to lift and fit on my own. So at 5:30 the next morning, I lifted the motor from the work bench into the chassis in one well planned maneuver. In advance, I had the frame tubes of the engine bay wrapped in Armaco foam tubing to protect the newly finished powder coating. Not an easy manoeuvre single handed, but luckily the movement went by without any issue whatsoever!
At the end of play today, the motor is all buttoned up in the chassis with most of the ancillary components in place.
Next, I have to finish off the cam cover fitment then make new fixings to mount the oil cooler hoses as they pass by the side of the cylinder head.
Then it’s make & fit a battery cradle on the left side of the Kosman clutch lifter plate and finish off the wiring harness to suit.
There’s still a lot of work to do to complete this machine and the bodywork is still at the paint shop for touch up. The side panels need to be refinished around the cutouts to clear the new frame bracing tubes and the OEM fuel tank has a small dent that needs to be repaired.
This past week has been a difficult one, having to deal with COVID19 and one or two other issues outside the shop, but the Big Kawasaki has had some significant progress.
The standoffs that I made at the start of the week are now welded on the RHS of the cam cover to allow fitment of the oil cooler hose clamps. Now that this is complete, I will be media blasting the cover before sending it out to get powder coated wrinkle finish black.
The fuel pump had to be relocated to a lower point on the front of the fuel cell to enable fitting of the new K&N air filters. I made and fitted a drop down plate to reposition the pump.
Along with the fuel pump, there are two fuel supply hoses, the vacuum hose, two fuel feed hoses and the engine breather hose & filter occupying the rear of the engine bay. There’s not enough room for a cat to fart in there now!
Finally, with all the space under the seat now taken up by the auxiliary fuel cell, the original BIG Yuasa 14ah battery has been replace by a miniature Shorai Lithium Ion cell of equal cranking amps.
Yesterday, I made the parts to have a new battery cradle welded up for the Shorai cell. The cradle is nicely welded onto three standoffs which are located by three of the screws that retain the Kosman clutch lifter plate. The battery is a neat fit inside the cradle, retained by a rubber strap. It’s a neat solution to the problem of battery location! The cradle will be finished in black anodizing along with the fuel pump bracket.
All that’s left to complete this build is to get the new blade fuse box delivered this week the wire it up. There may also be a few other small details to attend to.
Hoping to have the bodywork returned from the paint shop this coming week too, so fingers crossed that all goes according to plan.
The carbs that I’ve chosen for the KZ are Keihin CRS carbs that I’ve have had for quite some years now. These carbs are in mint condition but needed to be cleaned up and basic jetting installed to suit the big KZ motor. The tinware is out getting replated so in the meantime, I’ve cleaned up and checked over the instruments before building them with new stainless fasteners & K&N oval filters.
Tending to a few small details on the big KZ this morning as the bodywork is promised ready for pick up at the paint shop today.
The motor is completed and filled with Break In oil, carbs are bench balanced and ignition statically set. All the chassis is completed, fasteners torqued, ergonomics set up, so before firing up the new motor, all that’s needed to do is fit the bodywork.
As per usual for me at this time of a rebuild, I got an early start due to excitement and lust for life!
This project has been a long time on my wish list.. What I have here in front of me is the KZ1000 build that I foresaw about 6-7yrs ago but has taken until early this year to bring to fruition.
After what I expect for today, there’s little or nothing more to change on this bike except higher numbers on the odometer!
Kawasaki: Let the good time roll!
The KZ1000 is the 1st METICULOUS MOTO RESTORATION (MMR) job to be completed and will be the flagship bike for the near future.
After a pretty serious restomod on the KZ, yesterday I got to add the finishing touches to the bike. The spec on this bike is huge, here’s just some of the details:
- Fully braced frame, Superbike style
- Bimota Marzocchi M1R forks, fully kitted out with Race Tech internals
- Custom made billet fork yokes
- K&J underbraced swing arm
- Ohlins suspension units
- Dymag magnesium wheels, 18 x 2-1/2” Fr, 18 x 5-1/2” Rr
- Avon AM22 & AM23+tyres
- Custom made 340mm fully floating cast iron brake rotors
- Custom made brake rotor carriers
- Spondon Classis 2-piston brake callipers
- Custom CNC’d calliper hangers
- Lockheed adjustable ratio front master cylinder
- Goodridge stainless steel braided hoses
- Polished stainless steel Goodridge brake banjos & bolts
- Yoshimura style 1/4 turn throttle assembly
- Fully floating rear brake rotor on custom made carrier
- Brembo rear calliper & master cylinder
- Custom CNC’d rear calliper hanger
- Custom made rear torque arm assembly
- Custom made footrest hangers
- Bimota foot levers
- Earls 13 row oil cooler
- Custom made oil cooler fixings
- Custom made engine mounting plates
- 12.5 litre under seat auxiliary fuel cell
- Mikuni fuel pump
- Pingle twin port petcock
- 1200cc monster motor
- Keihin CR33 Special carbs
- K&N oval air filters
- Vance & Hines up swept ceramic coated exhaust system
- Custom CNC’s T6 aluminum exhaust flanges
One last thing, the seat cowling is completely original! This bike is a dream build for me as the KZ1000 is such an icon in the world of classic motorcycles.