torsdag 22 september 2016

Hunting for parts and helping each other.

One of the major challanges in restoring any vintage bike is getting new parts and getting correct work done on rare parts that are present. Restoring an old race bike like this, is even harder when it comes to sourcing parts, considering only a very limitited number of bikes were produced at all and that they were driven hard and raced more or less to the bitter end. When you read about the races and the work these drivers and their mechanics did on the tracks during the seventies you become impressed and stand in awe of what they actually achieved.

As soon as I bought the H1R I started looking for parts. I knew I had to get hold of a whole lot of spare stuff like gaskets, oil seals etc and things that you use every time you do work on the bike. I also knew I had to try and find some more "hard-to-get parts" like the battery box, rubber straps for the oil tank, clutch fibres and steel plates etc, etc. I was very lucky the engine seemed OK on the inside. Just a lot of work needed on axles and gears that had been sitting exposed to the elements. That is all in the hands of Ebbe in Malmoe and today he wrote to tell me he´s starting out with the internals and sending the cases off to be mediablasted and steel ball polished at Proswede in Hoerby...

Yes, I ended up going that route... At least with the engine. It had been sitting too exposed for too long time in that barn to be saved concerning surface treatment. I know, I may regret it, but when I saw it on the bench there at Ebbe´s, I had to reconsider. It  will be a jewel. I´ll try to keep my hands off the chassis, though. Just clean it up and refresh what has to be refreshed. We´ll see how that goes...

Ok, back to parts. Ebay is a good source when you´re restoring older bikes, we all know that! But getting stuff for H1R:s is not that easy. Some wear parts are available and I bought some of it. Cylinder base gaskets, small end bearings and carb covers were found in the US and the special, circular copper head gaskets, in France. I made a long list of parts needed and sent that to some of my contacts around the world and believe it or not! A few parts were found that way.

A couple of weeks ago Janne Waernstrom, the guy restoring the other H1R sold in 1970 by Floeter, came over to compare our fairings and have a look at my belly pan etc. He brought his freshly painted tank...

You can see there is a difference in colour between the two... I´m going to keep that paint on my tank and try to match that colour on the other parts I´ll have to repaint. You can also see the difference in appearance of the stripes and white fields on the tanks... It isn´t easy to tell which one is correct. The paint shifted in quality and appearance quite dramatically during the seventies. That´s a constant topic of argumentation among restorers of street bikes! Luckily we´re two individuals that carry no grudge! "Live and let live", "To each his own" etc, etc.  You can do what you want with your own bike!

Janne needed to borrow my belly pan for copying. His bike lacked that part when he bought it. Luckily it was there in the barn with mine. We needed to check it was the correct one and that it would also fit his fairing. Easily done!

We mounted the belly pan to his fairing and it fit perfectly. All the holes aligned exactly! We just need to get a few new Dzus fasteners here and there and the belly pan needs some smaller repairs done. You can also see that Janne´s fairing is butchered a bit around the feet and on top, close to the wind screen. We took measurements on mine and he could take it to a guy good at repairing plastics. We decided to make a couple of copies of my seat as well. The after market seat Janne had bought needed a bit too much work. My seat will also be repaired in the process. Help and be helped!

When we had the fairings laying there side by side, Janne noticed something I hadn´t seen.... "Esso" had moved the oil tank from behind the seat, inside the plastic fairing at the rear to the inside of the fairing up front! I was a bit worried the bracket for the oil tank had gone missing. I know now, that is a very hard to find part.... But lo and behold! There it was!

On the right inside of the fairing.... Close to the oil pump, just above the engine. Actually quite a smart move, if you ask me! I think I´ll just keep it there. Since "Esso" did it and I´m striving for a look of the bike corresponding to the look it had when it was returned to Floeter in the winter 1971-72.

Other parts Janne needed were the foot peg rubbers. Mine were intact on both sides. We removed one of mine and he took it with him to make copies. There are businesses here in Sweden that can make rubber parts from an original. It´s expensive, but it CAN be done!

Here´s what they look like. Used on no other bikes (that we know of...) they are extremely rare items. Bare in mind, only a hundred or so of there racers were produced so spare parts are difficult!

As I mentioned earlier, the hunt for parts IS on. This week has been very good in that respect. An old friend and reliable contact for Kawasaki parts in Switzerland came through big time and sold me all his H1R parts in one lot! I asked him for a nice tachometer for my H2-72. He had one, restored and perfect! Of course I had to ask if he had any parts for my H1R restoration.... Oh,He did!

- "Give me a good offer and you can take all of it" he said.... Wow, You can´t pass on an opportunity like that. Ok, I made him an offer I thought was reasonable and he accepted! Not exactly cheap, but what the heck! Stuff you can´t find... Get it while you can!

Here´s the treasure... 3 STD H1R pistons, 6 1mm OD pistons, 6 or 7 cylinder base gaskets, 2 head gaskets, 3 exhaust fibre gaskets AND 4 NOS foot peg rubbers. That sevad us a bundle of cash. Note also the restored H2-72 tacho. Top quality restoration!

I also found (thank´s Stefan for the tip...) a cool Bell Kawasaki helmet on eBay a while ago. I got it for 100 bucks and just love it!

It looks as battered-up as the bike. I have no idea what american racer used number 75, but he raced on a Kawasaki, that´s for sure! This helmet will be a nice compliment to the bike when going on shows and exhibitions etc.

I´m going to end this post with another picture of the helmet. Now it sits on the tank of the bike. I´m soon going to have to clean it. soon.....

Oh, I just forgot.... The fourth H1R sold in Sweden has been found! Janne remembered talking to a guy on a motorcycle exhibition many, many years ago. He somehow found a connection and researched his contacts and archives and finally found him! It is the bike "Esso" bought in 1972 when he had returned the one I´m restoring. This one is not complete, though. I will tell that story later when I have more to tell... For now it feels extremely cool to know (we have confirmed the frame number via the records from Kawasaki I have) that all 4 H1R:s sold here in Sweden are actually still here! The last one is owned by a guy in a small town outside Lidköping in the southern part of Sweden. He´s a bit shy and doesn´t want me to mention his whereabouts or more than his first name, Jan. We´ll try to gather more information about the history of that bike as well and as we find it, I´ll tell you!

Again, thanks for reading! It is a true pleasure writing about these cool bikes.....

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