torsdag 19 oktober 2017

Wheel cleaning and buying another racer!

Time flies when you´re in the airline business... So sorry for not posting here for more than a month. That is a bit too long between the articles but on the other hand if nothing is being done on the bike, there´s nothing to write about.

The strange thing is that I feel I work on it most every day. This project is on my mind daily in some way or other. If I´m not thinking about how to proceed with the restoration technically, I´m at the computer looking for parts or searching for more information about the bike, "Esso", the races or the era, as such, in time. The seventies was an exciting time in many aspects! I´m also scanning a lot of background material and photos that I will publish as soon as I get enough material for each race the bike was in during the 4 years it was used.

Restoration wise I´m tooling along with the wheels. It would have been much easier and faster to just dismantle them and have them refurbished completely with rezinked spokes, media blasted and painted hubs and polished rims. Well, I didn´t choose that route, did I? No, I had to make it hard on myself. Degreasing them a couple of times, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning and finally polishing by hand and also by using machines where I could, on these small surfaces.

I started out with my pneumatic grinder, fitted with a fine "grinding brush", 80 grit if I remember correctly, to clean up the brake surface on the inside of the brake drum. Rather pleasant work. Easy to reach and the brush is very effective on the surface rust on the drum. Fixed in under 30 minutes. Nice!
Here you can also see that the inside of the hub is dirty and full of soot and burned material sticking real hard to the surface. Not that the inside is that important, but I want it to look good during assembly. More about that later

Next up is the rim. Time to change to a buffing wheel with polishing paste driven by either the pneumatic grinder or the handheld battery drill. Dirty and tedious work. But rewarding since aluminium polishes quite easily and becomes very shiny. I use the machines as much as possible but realize that a lot more time will have to be spent polishing by hand.

The edges on the Borrani rims are coming along nicely. Here I also try to clean up the paint on the hub by various methods. My beloved "POL" polishing cream works OK, but doesn´t remove all the dirt and grease from the paint. I try White spirit and Thinner also. Works better but actually removes some of the paint as well... I´ll have to adress that later.

To finish off the rim polishing I need to get in between the spokes and clean up the surface. I find the fingers are my best polishing tools. This is NOT recommended if you have sensitive skin ( I do....). The fingers get very dirty and the products I´m using or not "finger friendly" But it gets the job done!

OK, rim more or less done. Time to start polishing spokes. 40 of them. At least two sides per spoke to polish and 2-3 positions to pull back and forth on the rag to get to every nook and cranny on the spokes. I spent at least 2 hours on one of the sides of the rear wheel polishing the 40 spokes from that side. Phui!!

Here´s the result of the first day of polishing the rear wheel. Rim almost done, hub cleaned and touched up with aluminium rim spray paint applied by brush in an artistic way! 20 years ago I actually did quite a few oil paintings and have lots of stuff left. The technique to apply spary color with a brush and make it look vintage and a bit used is something I have done before. So far so good! Time to go off to work for a few days.

Time flies... As I said before, things happen on a daily basis on the project. I buy parts, find out more about the history, I take stuff here and there to get fixed or made. During this time I also started out with the exhaust system. I´ll save that work for later and describe it as it gets more interesting.
Anyway, today i planned to remove the rear wheel bearings and change them. They seem to be OK, but I can not trust bearings that have been sitting in a barn for 40 years on this racer, No way. The tool I´m using here was a gift from my dear friend Stickan (the guy with the car repair shop across the street). He closed shop earlier this summer and he knew I just loved this old Volvo special tool set.

Nothing fancy at all. A set of hardened rings that you mount on a driving shaft (big or small) and use to drive out bearings. Works like a charm! I don´t know how I would cope without these... I have ruined my fair share of screw drivers trying to do this. Doesn´t work! They give in and are ruined. I´m sure there are better, more modern tools available out there, but I just love these! And they make me think of Stickan. Such a generous person and a great friend.

Stickan was actually 80 years old here when he finally emptied his workshop and closed up. One of the last genuine places in my neighborhood. Believe it or not, he started his business in the very same location 1961! 56 years hard at work repairing cars in the same basement. And still with a wonderful sense of humor and lots of laughter. This calendar girl was among the last things to go... I talked to him earlier today and he has actually bought himself a new bike! A sportster. How about that?! I can only wish to be that fit and happy at 80. Sorry for this parenthesis, but he is greatly missed! The garage is now being restored and will serve as parking space only for the owners of the condominiums in the house.... Too bad. OK, back to the wheel!

By slowly tapping my way around the bearing it is driven out from the hub. Here it is halfway. There is a tube inside the hub that makes it difficult to reach the bearing with any tool. That is why this set of rings and shafts is so superb. They slide inside and get a real good grip on the edge of the bearing even though the pipe is there and makes it difficult.

Here they are! 6303A bearings and the steel tube that fits between the bearings on the inside of the hub. The tube is there to make the bearings, the spacers on the outside of the brake panel and the front fork legs in to one unit that you can tighten the axle on to. These bearings have been changed at some point. Stock bearings are 6303Z. The difference between the Z and the A is that the "A" bearings have two steel covers on the sides of the bearing and  "Z" only have one. Wheel bearings are typically "Z" with only one side covered. There is no need to cover up the balls on the inside of the hub. I have 6303SNE bearings in my stock and I will use them. The only difference here is that the cover on my new bearings will be nylon instead of steel. Doesn´t matter at all.

I will reinstall my new bearings when I´m done cleaning up the wheel. Back to polishing! The other side of all the spokes and some final  polishing of the rim. I found it a lot easier when I mounted the wheel on my vice. Spent another couple of hours in this part of the garage. As always... Good music on the radion makes tedious work a lot easier.

The rear wheel has seen a lot of chain oil and grease and was quite dirty with dried and, sort of, burned goo most everywhere. Thinner, or another strong solvent, will remove it. Here I´m using one of my paint brushes to clean up the inside of the hub. If you look closely you can see the brush strokes on the hub next to the spoke. That layer of paint was later "vintaged" by applying a small amount of thinner and brushing part of it off. Same technique was used on the inside of the drum and also on the hub between the spokes to get the shine back on the "cooling fins".

OK, here it is! Finished. I think I´m very pleased with the result. The final judgement if my work is good enough will be made when it all comes together on the bike with the brake plate, tire, sprocket and chain etc. So far it looks fine to me! I know, from experience, that it will look even better when the other parts are mounted to it.

And here is the other side. You can see I´ve painted the inside and treated the rim to look almost new. I believe It´ll be OK considering I´m replicating a racer that has been used for a couple of races during 1970.

Here´s a close-up of the inside. The brake surface has been cleaned and looks great. The inside of the hub might actually be a tad too bright, but it´ll do. You can also see one of the wheel bearing´s location. These wheels differ from the street ones in an interesting way. There´s no rubber damping cushions and no sprocket carrier on the racers. The chain drives the rear wheel directly without any damping what so ever. And on top of that, only two wheel bearings! On the street bikes there are three bearings on a rear wheel. two in the actual wheel and one in the sprocket carrier. For sure a lot heavier but also a lot more comfortable!

One last picture of the rear wheel clean-up. I think I´ve reached an OK "30cm-level" on this wheel restoration. This picture is from 10cm and here you can see some flaws in my brushing. Move away to 30cm, imagine the tire, sprocket and brake plate on and it is within limits!
One done! One to go....

Now over to something completely different... Well, maybe not THAT different. I have been aware of another Kawasaki racer here in Stockholm for the last 15 years and now I decided to try and acquire it.

The last time it was sold was 2001 or 2002 and I saw the ad back then in a magazine. During that time I had a couple of other projects (street bikes) and didn´t have any real interest in racers. So I let it go. I was pleased to see it end up here in town at a motorcycle parts dealer. One of the owners bought it. I´ve seen it in their shop now and then over the years but as they moved their business it disappeared and I haven´t seen it for a while.

When I started restoring the H1R this bike came back to memory and I asked if he still had it. He had and he was willing to sell it! A fair bit of negotiations back and forth and finally we agreed on a price and I bought it. It has been sitting for at least 15 years so it will need some TLC, for sure. My plan was to take it to EBOS/Eptune and have Ebbe look at it and start it up for me. He is busy, though, so we´ll see if I can keep my fingers off it. For now I´ve been looking at it closer to find out more about it.  The previous owner has some information about it somewhere...

Until he finds it, I´m searching myself all over the internet and via contacts and friends. So far not much has surfaced. I can see it is a fairly serious build someone did when they did it. Fiberglass body, tank and fairing with a Dunstall look to it. Two stroke oil tank behind the seat just like the real racers. It isn´t something someone built in their own garage from scratch, that´s for sure. The builder must have bought some kind of "kit" and modified an H1 1969 frame. The rear wheel is the original as is part of the frame. As you can understand I´m desperately looking for information about this bike. Please let me know if you recognize it or know something about it! Here are some clues:

RPM indicator from "SMITH"... Does that imply it was built in England? By who? Look also at the top of the front fork legs. What make is that? Ceriani? Marzocchi? The levers are Magura, commonly used all over Europe in the sventies.
I like the Tacho. 10000RPM:s straight up! Seems someone knew the approximate limit of the H1 engine´s capability.

The front drum brake. What make is this? It has 4LS technology and is super efficient. Open drum for ventilation and the front fork plus brake seems to be a nice unit. Did it all come with the "kit"? Tires are AVON road runners. Also commonly used.

The engine seems ported and has spacer plates below the cylinders. A common technique earlier to improve port timing and power. Big BING carbs with screened velocity stacks. Stock CDI ignition system with the smaller battery type from the H2:s. I connected power to it and the system seems OK. The characteristic "beeeep" from the early H1 CDI was there!

And here´s one of the problems... No kicker! The kicker shaft has been removed and the hole plugged. Was this plug a part of the "kit" as well? Or did someone make it? This makes it a bit harder for me to test starting the bike. I currently don´t own a roller starter... I´m looking for one! I really don´t fancy the idea of trying to start the bike downhill here at home and not having it start. Loong way uphill back home! Another interesting thing is that the gear box is dry. No oil.... Tells me there´s a problem with a leak somewhere.

Carbs seems to be OK, the float housings are easily removed by the spring and not too much goo in there. A light clean-up will be enough! I believe BING is a strange choice, though. A lot of other things on the bike point towards Britain, but these are BMW carbs or, at least, German. Why those?

I am very interested in the time frame here. When was it built? The VIN number is hard to read because of paint. I sanded the surface a bit to make it easier. I´m confident the VIN is below #1000. KAF-00X44. KAF is H1 and that low VIN is 1969, for sure. Does it say 00044? 00644 or 00944? Hard to tell!

OK, so the frame is 1969. What about the engine? KAE14369 is a 1970 H1 engine number. This tells me the bike was built at the earliest 1970. Possibly later, of course.

Here´s a picture of the tank, removed from the bike. What is it? Dunstall? The gas cap looks like it. It is in nice condition and seems to hold fuel. The fastener in front of the gas cap is for securing the tank to the frame in front. At the back there´s a bracket for a rubber band or similar to fasten the rear part. I guess it´ll take 12-14 liters of fuel.

Here´s another nice part. There are two fuel taps, one on each side of the tank, and the lines are joined here by this copper split. Soldered piece to split the two lines into three, one per carb. Nicely done! Also part of the "kit" or homemade?

The frame is heavily modified. It has been cut and a new rear part has been made to fit the seat slightly below the tank. In my opinion it doesn´t look that rigid and stable at all... If this engine makes 70-80 HP this is a scary ride!

Well, this is where I´m at right now... Thinking about two projects all of a sudden... I´m on Stand by duty at work for a few days so maybe I´ll find the time to try and start the second racer. If I get called out on duty I´ll have lots of things to think about, That´s for sure!

Thanks you guys for reading and if anyone of you knows anything about my second racer, please let me know! I can be reached at my e-mail: or on my cell +46-70-5709240 Please don´t hesitate to contact me for any reason. I am, as you might understand, seriously interested in these racers! I´m also very keen on finding new street bike projects. So, if you have any Kawasaki triple you´re going to sell, let me know! I can buy it, help you sell it or even help you restore it. I do have a bit of knowledge and also some good contacts all over the world to source parts and restoration tips from. You are more than welcome! The coffee pot is always on here at the house.....

4 kommentarer:

  1. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

  2. Lot's of exciting and interesting reading in these last post, Wheels, seat recovering and the new family racer. Keep it up, and thanks for sharing...;)

  3. I can't wait to read each of your posts Per. Well done; and together we look forward to seeing the tyres on those rims. you have the old tyres restored yes ?. Kind Regards Paul

  4. Thanks for your kind words, guys! Paul, Yes, I´ve got my tires restored in France by Mr Jean-Francois Baldé. He also sold me a set of brand new tires. I´m going to put the brand new ones on for the test drive and my restored for display later on. /Per