Old 02-06-2016   #841
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Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
John,
I've been wondering how you've been getting on after those inevitable little teething problems one needs to fettle when re-awakening a long dormant classic. It is looking very, very sweet indeed. In an era when the Japanese industry were making some of the strongest motors ever, but seemed to sometimes put them into machines that might have been designed by a committee, the 900 still stands out as one of the prettiest, and most cohesively styled, models ever to emerge from Japan. As worthy as the Honda Four unquestionably was, the 900 demolished it, on the street, on the racetrack and, (in my view), aesthetically. Nothing could touch the big Z, when it was released—except, perhaps, its stablemate the Mach IV, if it was ridden by a brave or foolish pilot—and as an owner of both of the big Kawasakis, I can attest to this from personal experience.

The Rickman conversion is that rare example of a modification to a standard motorcycle that actually improves on the appearance of the original design exercise—I would award extra points, if stock four into four system was retained—but it's still gorgeous. Great shots, John.
Cheers,
Brett
Hi Brett,

Just about over all the teething problems. Put in a new starter relay after having issues there (thank god for the kick start). After starting fine (once) it stopped starting! Found that a bunch of connectors near the blinker relay were loose. I think I will slowly go over all the electrical contacts and clean them. 40 years of road grime and dust even on this clean example. It does however need a tune. I think it's knocking under load. Having a ride next week with the local vintage club, so I'll see what they think. Time to look at the timing. Any suggestions for a good timing light brand that I can look for on ebay?

Don't worry the 4 into 4 pipes will happen as I noticed some surface rust already pitting the single exhaust. What better excuse?
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Old 02-06-2016   #842
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I respectfully disagree. I don't think the one of Rollei Free flat out on his Black Lightning has ever been bettered.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rollie_Free,_record_run.jpg
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Old 02-06-2016   #843
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Hi Brett,

Just about over all the teething problems. Put in a new starter relay after having issues there (thank god for the kick start). After starting fine (once) it stopped starting! Found that a bunch of connectors near the blinker relay were loose. I think I will slowly go over all the electrical contacts and clean them. 40 years of road grime and dust even on this clean example. It does however need a tune. I think it's knocking under load. Having a ride next week with the local vintage club, so I'll see what they think. Time to look at the timing. Any suggestions for a good timing light brand that I can look for on ebay?

Don't worry the 4 into 4 pipes will happen as I noticed some surface rust already pitting the single exhaust. What better excuse?
Hi John,
You have actually reminded me that as well as ensuring the points are good, it is a really worthwhile move, when you put a new set into a Z decades after they were made, to also take the mechanical advance unit out and inspect and clean it. Even when the bikes were only ten or fifteen years old, I can recall needing to strip them down, clean them, regrease with fresh grease and re-assemble. They are pretty reliable units, however being on the side of the engine they eventually dry out the original grease and they can actually seize up, or, at least, stick a bit. This can make your ignition curve a bit random and, if they seize towards the advance end of the scale, the engine may run reasonable well at medium to higher rpm, but, of course, it will be over advanced at lower rpm. This can manifest itself as grumpy starting (popping, backfiring, reluctance to go first time). It can also lead to coughing and hesitation, stumbling as you feed throttle on at low rpm because it will be getting too much advance at that part of the rev range.

I can recall having to do similar maintenance on other Kawasakis of the same era such as some of the triples that used points (some models were CDI). After stripping, cleaning and lubing (maybe gently removing any visible signs of corrosion on the shaft if needed) the bike would run happily for a long time. The point to beware of (and it's been decades since I last did this so I'm relying on distant memories that may not be spot on) is that although taking the weights and springs part of the advance off the centre shaft is straightforward enough, I do believe it is possible to put it back on in two different positions 180 degrees apart. The catch, is that only one of them will make the bike run happily! Reckon I worked that out the hard way, decades ago. But when replacing points on a new to you bike, doing an advance strip and clean is a good idea, the first time, and every few years thereafter, because you can get the points gapped or dwelled perfectly and Eg the full advance timing spot on, (which is essential, of course). But in severe cases the advance parts can seize completely = no effective advance, fixed ignition timing! And even if it's just sticking, your timing at lower rpms will be at best, unpredictable, because it may get to full advance but not as progressively as it should and when it should.

Here's a shot of the advance unit I quickly googled. It's really just a spring loaded centrifugal system with two weighted arms set to offset the spring tension at certain rpms. As the weights extend, the outer shaft keyed to the inner one rotates relative to the inner one. Of course, the points cam is at the end of the outer shaft, so, as the rotation occurs, the point at which the points [edit: points, not cams] separate will be advanced.


There's a groove machined into the inner shaft as I recall. It's purpose is as a small well into which a small quantity of grease may be added during disassembly, after cleaning, so as to ensure smooth actuation.

Off the top of my head I can't point you towards a decent timing light as I've had mine for a good couple of decades, John. I'd be guided by specification as much as price, I'd expect there to be a gulf between best really affordable unit and best at all costs. I fully endorse using a timing light to adjust the timing, you can check it at various points of the curve and ensure all I have mentioned above functions correctly. It's the easiest and most accurate way to go. Having said all of that, if you are patient and fussy enough, and have verified that the advance is within spec, you can get quite decent results by setting the point opening up with the static timing marks at the correct gap. There was a time I used to do this before buying a strobe light, and although the strobe light made the task easier and quicker, I can't actually say my bikes really ran any better because I was pernickety about my adjustments. Some of the smaller triples like the S1 (the 250cc triple) and S2 (the 350cc) used to run three sets of points—each of which had to be spot on, for the bike to run well at full noise—and I used to set them up by the static marks and get them running perfectly. So yes, by all means get a light—but you can get the bike sorted pretty decently in the meantime simply with a 12 volt light and a set of feeler gauges if needs must.
Cheers
Brett

Last edited by Sarcophilus Harrisii : 02-06-2016 at 03:36. Reason: Correction
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Old 02-06-2016   #844
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Old 02-06-2016   #845
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Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Hi John,
You have actually reminded me that as well as ensuring the points are good, it is a really worthwhile move, when you put a new set into a Z decades after they were made, to also take the mechanical advance unit out and inspect and clean it. Even when the bikes were only ten or fifteen years old, I can recall needing to strip them down, clean them, regrease with fresh grease and re-assemble. They are pretty reliable units, however being on the side of the engine they eventually dry out the original grease and they can actually seize up, or, at least, stick a bit. This can make your ignition curve a bit random and, if they seize towards the advance end of the scale, the engine may run reasonable well at medium to higher rpm, but, of course, it will be over advanced at lower rpm. This can manifest itself as grumpy starting (popping, backfiring, reluctance to go first time). It can also lead to coughing and hesitation, stumbling as you feed throttle on at low rpm because it will be getting too much advance at that part of the rev range.

I can recall having to do similar maintenance on other Kawasakis of the same era such as some of the triples that used points (some models were CDI). After stripping, cleaning and lubing (maybe gently removing any visible signs of corrosion on the shaft if needed) the bike would run happily for a long time. The point to beware of (and it's been decades since I last did this so I'm relying on distant memories that may not be spot on) is that although taking the weights and springs part of the advance off the centre shaft is straightforward enough, I do believe it is possible to put it back on in two different positions 180 degrees apart. The catch, is that only one of them will make the bike run happily! Reckon I worked that out the hard way, decades ago. But when replacing points on a new to you bike, doing an advance strip and clean is a good idea, the first time, and every few years thereafter, because you can get the points gapped or dwelled perfectly and Eg the full advance timing spot on, (which is essential, of course). But in severe cases the advance parts can seize completely = no effective advance, fixed ignition timing! And even if it's just sticking, your timing at lower rpms will be at best, unpredictable, because it may get to full advance but not as progressively as it should and when it should.

Here's a shot of the advance unit I quickly googled. It's really just a spring loaded centrifugal system with two weighted arms set to offset the spring tension at certain rpms. As the weights extend, the outer shaft keyed to the inner one rotates relative to the inner one. Of course, the points cam is at the end of the outer shaft, so, as the rotation occurs, the point at which the cams separate will be advanced.


There's a groove machined into the inner shaft as I recall. It's purpose is as a small well into which a small quantity of grease may be added during disassembly, after cleaning, so as to ensure smooth actuation.

Off the top of my head I can't point you towards a decent timing light as I've had mine for a good couple of decades, John. I'd be guided by specification as much as price, I'd expect there to be a gulf between best really affordable unit and best at all costs. I fully endorse using a timing light to adjust the timing, you can check it at various points of the curve and ensure all I have mentioned above functions correctly. It's the easiest and most accurate way to go. Having said all of that, if you are patient and fussy enough, and have verified that the advance is within spec, you can get quite decent results by setting the point opening up with the static timing marks at the correct gap. There was a time I used to do this before buying a strobe light, and although the strobe light made the task easier and quicker, I can't actually say my bikes really ran any better because I was pernickety about my adjustments. Some of the smaller triples like the S1 (the 250cc triple) and S2 (the 350cc) used to run three sets of points—each of which had to be spot on, for the bike to run well at full noise—and I used to set them up by the static marks and get them running perfectly. So yes, by all means get a light—but you can get the bike sorted pretty decently in the meantime simply with a 12 volt light and a set of feeler gauges if needs must.
Cheers
Brett
Brett, can't say how much I enjoy reading your replies and your wealth of knowledge which will help me immensely as I get to know this bike. I am cutting and pasting it all into a document to digest later

We must catch up if you ever are in Sydney (or Central Coast) I owe you a meal and beer or three.

BTW, great shots.

Cheers - John
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Old 02-06-2016   #846
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Any time, John, I am surprising myself by what I can remember all these years later, actually.
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Old 02-06-2016   #847
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Awesome bike.
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Old 02-06-2016   #848
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Awesome bike.
It's been a long time since I lived and breathed Ducati lore, but it does remind me a bit of Tony Rutter's Formula Two championship winning Verlicchi-framed racer from the early '80s. There used to be a few replicas getting around the tracks of Oz a while ago (and, I'm stretching the memory banks, here, but I think there were even one or two genuine F2s imported too). I have no idea which this one is, but the discreet Sports Motorcycles sticker is a nice touch (they have strong historic connections to the marque, and one of its greatest moments, of course).
Cheers
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Old 02-15-2016   #849
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Old 02-15-2016   #850
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It's been a long time since I lived and breathed Ducati lore, but it does remind me a bit of Tony Rutter's Formula Two championship winning Verlicchi-framed racer from the early '80s. There used to be a few replicas getting around the tracks of Oz a while ago (and, I'm stretching the memory banks, here, but I think there were even one or two genuine F2s imported too). I have no idea which this one is, but the discreet Sports Motorcycles sticker is a nice touch (they have strong historic connections to the marque, and one of its greatest moments, of course).
Cheers
Brett
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Old 02-15-2016   #851
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I have an interesting mod on my older bike: it's a hybrid ignition system that uses electronics to deliver the power to the spark plug, but retains the original points to act as trigger relays. The power to the plugs do not have to pass through the points, only a very low triggering current. Google: "Hondaman electronic ignition"
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Old 02-15-2016   #852
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My wife's 1975 Toyota used the same kind of setup. It had two sets of points IIRC to allow it to change the timing depending on driving conditions.
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Old 02-19-2016   #853
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One of my favorite highway segments in the neighborhood (25 MB goPro movie - use your speakers, too, please ):

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Old 02-19-2016   #854
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The R100 is with me since 1987; the R850 and R1200 were my last two bikes
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Old 03-25-2016   #855
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Old 04-19-2016   #856
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Old 04-24-2016   #857
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Old 04-26-2016   #858
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Old 04-26-2016   #859
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Old 05-07-2016   #860
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4 months, 4k miles, time for the first new tire.



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Old 05-07-2016   #861
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Old 05-07-2016   #862
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Roland--what bike is that? Also--what caused that wear pattern? Looks a little odd--
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Old 05-08-2016   #863
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Roland--what bike is that? Also--what caused that wear pattern? Looks a little odd--
Paul
Hi Paul,

this is my K1600GT from post #890. Nothing pathological with the tire. Just the soft stock tire (a Metzler) used for commute, so it wears more in the middle than at the edges. And I noticed the wear a little late, only check once a week or so. The replacement that I picked will be harder and hopefully give more mileage.

Roland.
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Old 05-08-2016   #864
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Just a year ago I had 3 motorcycles but I'm down to one now, a 1981 R100 Basic.

My BMW R90/6 was sold to pay for my moto trip and the Honda CB750 is going back to my brother-in-law.

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Old 05-08-2016   #865
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Old 05-08-2016   #866
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Roland--thanks for the info. Thought the wear pattern may have indicated a few trips to the drag strip! :-) Went back and looked at the bike--a beauty! Any negatives? They are supposed to be a super touring bike.
Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2016   #867
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Old 05-08-2016   #868
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Old 05-08-2016   #869
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Old 05-20-2016   #870
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Old 05-20-2016   #871
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Moto Guzzi (thanks Paul!) on Ektar in my neighborhood, Hasselblad 500cm, Ektar


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Old 05-20-2016   #872
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Denis--that Ducati looks like a Moto Guzzi to my untrained eye!
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Old 05-20-2016   #873
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Denis--that Ducati looks like a Moto Guzzi to my untrained eye!
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Paul - you are likely right. I plead ignorance. I know cameras, not bikes, hahaha!

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Last edited by Wupjak : 05-20-2016 at 12:32. Reason: I don't know motorcycles - I just photograph them. :)
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Old 05-27-2016   #874
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Old 05-30-2016   #875
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Motorcycle "Ride for Dad"
Old 06-04-2016   #876
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Motorcycle "Ride for Dad"

Each year, thousands of motorcyclists participate in the "Ride for Dad" to raise funds for research into Prostate cancer. Here, a few of the pics captured on my trusty Z (Pentax!)









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Old 06-13-2016   #877
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Old 06-13-2016   #878
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Old 06-16-2016   #879
bobby_novatron
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Location: the Great White North (Canada)
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Kiev 88, Kaleinar 150mm F2, Ilford Pan F+. Developed in Kodak HC-110.

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Old 06-16-2016   #880
KarmaToBurn
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Nikon F2 with Nikkor 200mm f4 Q

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