December 2007 7
1985 Yamaha YZ125
A bit of a beater that I bought on a whim. But generally a good vintage ride. Does a bike have to be 20 or 25 years old to qualify for vintage AMA racing?
1973 Honda CB350F
Check out this baby. Wow. Just an incredibly crazy vintage ride. This is the most unoriginal CB350 four I’ve ever seen in my life. Normally such small bikes aren’t decked out in full touring garb, but this one has had at least one interesting owner in the past.
This baby has a king and queen seat, vetter fairing, hard saddle bags, luggage rack, sissy bar with back pad, engine gaurds, highway pegs, saddlebag gaurds, 4 into 2 exhaust, cruise control, and probably a couple other odds and ends.
The more amazing thing is that the bike only has 5,000 miles on it! It hasn’t been run much in the past years (obviously) but fires right up and runs well. I took it out the other day in between snow storms and it zipped right along pretty well. It was famed as being a very smooth motor, and this is certainly true. With the 4 into 2 exhaust it has a great exhaust note too.
The CB350 four cylinder motor on paper has the slight edge on peak horsepower compared to the famed CB350 two cylinder model. However, the 2 cylinder makes substantially more torque at lower RPMs so I believe it is actually the faster bike. Both are great steads.
I would take a 2 cylinder bike over a 4 cylinder any day of the week because they are easier to maintain. But these 350f’s are real cool and have a lot of great history and engineering in them. I can never resist an interesting bike.
BMW R80 Stuck Piston
The motor on the Beemer didn’t turn and I quickly found out why. When I pulled the spark plug from the left cylinder it had mold on it. When I pulled the head I found a real nasty cylinder. It must have somehow got some water trapped in there because mold and rust were set in everywhere.
The other cylinder was in perfect condtion, but both were removed. The cylinders were sent to a machinist in New Hampshire for a fresh bore. The heads were also sent to be cleaned up and have new guides, seals, and valves put in. The valve covers were sent to an anodizing shop to be bead blasted and black coated.
The big change however is coming in the form of displacement! The pistons in this R80 are being replaced with R90 pistons bringing the displacement up to 900cc’s and the compression up to 10.5:1.
This bike will be a screamer (relatively speaking) once it is put back together.
1978 BMW R80 Airhead
I couldn’t believe the deal I found on this BMW. It had been sitting in a basement for several years. Motor was stuck and it was missing the ignition (and a few other odds and ends). I couldn’t resist towing it home.
The bike is more or less in great condition. The chrome is good, the paint is reasonable. It even has Boranni wheels and Koni shocks. These old airheads are very desireable today, mostly by people who want to ride them. The BMW /2 and /5 bikes tend to frequently end up in 10 point restoration museums or private collections. These R80’s are generally still purchased for nice reliable transportation.
After the Motor Rebuild – KZ440
After I got the motor rebuilt with the used parts (about 6 hours total work time) I put in some fresh gas and BAM, fired right up, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t run great. I checked the compression and each cylinder was now 140+!! It was amazing. I went from a completely toasted motorm to a good running motor with great compression and I didn’t spend a single penny. Just goes to show what you can do with a little crazy in you.
The next day I loaded the bike with a couple bags and drove it straight down the highway 430 miles to Rochester, NY. It ran incredibly well the whole time. I had it on the highway, in the freezing cold, wide open throttle, for about 8 hours solid. I rode it on and off for several days in NY then drove right back home. Over 1,000 miles in a few days in the cold (26 degrees) on a bike I just bought the day before and rebuilt the motor.
And for those who are curious, no, I didn’t spring any leaks through the old gaskets. Once I got home, I listed the bike for sale real cheap and had it sold the next day.
1982 Kawasaki KZ440 Motor Rebuild
I picked up a Kawasaki KZ 440 that needed some work, though I didn’t know what kind. The bike came with a parts motor, and chances are, if a bike comes with a parts motor, something is wrong with the motor in the bike. When I got home I checked the compression and bingo, 90+- psi on each cylinder. Terrible. I got lucky though that this is the only problem I found with the motor.
Over the next 6 hours or so I completely tore down the top end of both KZ440 motors I had. I visually inspected each part and chose the best pieces I had. I didn’t measure ANYTHING. I even pulled off all the rings, mixed them up, then visually inspected the wear and varnish on each to select the best ones to use. Both motors were used a fair bit but not awful. The motor in the bike had 25,000 miles on the clock, the other I’m not sure.
So I rebuilt the motor in the bike using all the mix-matched parts. I didn’t buy a single new part. I even reused the gaskets. The gaskets got ripped to hell when I was pulling the heads and cylinders, but as long as you clean them carefully and apply generous amounts of gasket sealant on both sides, they can (can, not should) be reused. Doing what I did isn’t generally considered good practice, but for an old bike that isn’t worth much, there’s no point in dumping money into it.
1998 Yamaha YZ125
I picked up this 1998 Yamaha YZ 125 for a little fall fun. It started getting cold really fast though, so I didn’t get too much use out of it. I enjoy the small weight of these bikes and the ability to really manhandle them, though for my type of riding they aren’t ideal. I do a lot of slow nasty trails and 125’s just don’t have the power where I want it. My KTM 300exc was perfect for my riding tastes, too bad I had to sell that a couple years back.