It is becoming more popular for investors to purchase a vintage metric motorcycle for repair or restoration due to the steady rise in the value or classic Japanese motorcycles.
The old classics, such as Z1 900 Kawasaki’s, CB750 four Honda’s and the Kawasaki 2 stroke triples are becoming harder to find at a reasonable price but they are still out there. Craig’s List used to be a great source for the classic bike hunter but the prices have gotten kinda crazy in the last couple of years and it is very difficult to find them on Ebay unless you are prepared to travel or ship after bidding on a motorcycle you have not actually seen in person. Remember a picture can tell a thousand lies!
If it is out of state the risk can be minimized by having it professionally inspected, usually at a reasonable cost which can save you a lot of time and expense.
A customer recently had this 1976 KZ900 shipped to our shop with a view to restoration.
Apart from the obvious cosmetic issues the KZ was complete down to the owners handbook and tool kit, the motor can be the biggest single expense and I usually start with trying to get it running. This classic Kawasaki has only 5500 miles and had been stored for quite a few years so the first check is for compression.
This can be done using the kick starter or in this case the electric start which proved to be working, as did almost all of the original electrics after inspecting the wiring for any obvious damage and installing a fully charged battery although we first had to remove the remains of a squirrel’s nest including nuts and restroom.
The compression proved to be low with 3 cylinders at around 60 psi and the 4th not much better at 100. Hoping this was a result of stuck rings caused by the storage period, each cylinder was treated with releasing oil and left to soak overnight.
The next day when tested again it had risen to over 120lbs on all cylinders, good enough for it to run. I do have to emphasize that the motor should be turned over gently by hand at first to ensure it has not seized or that none of the valves are stuck and only when the presence of oil has been verified.
Ok, we are good to proceed and the next item on the list is to clean the carburetors.
Atlanta Motorcycle Works
615 Mauldin Drive
Woodstock, Ga 30188