Sunday, 13 February 2011

Going Slightly Green - KDX 175

I only managed two days of having a sane shed after the Fantic went,then the fever bit and I bought this. I've been after an early KDX  for a while but they aren't often seen; and then I walked into Newark that fateful Sunday last. There it was in the distance, even with race shirts hanging off it like some insane clothes-horse, I could tell what it was, and I knew I would own it. Despite my best efforts in haggling and walking away,my blood was up, and I went back and paid the two ton. Made in Kawasaki's first year of making a pukka enduro bike (175 class) it's a 1980 KDX 175 A1. It had been reduced to  tragic field bike status, wrong tank held on with wire,two exhausts welded together, gate bolts,two screws bent double to hold brake cable on, you get the picture. I brought it home with the back door of my van open (these things are loooong!), and set to it. It had a spark and even 'popped' a few times but after cleaning the carb and no joy, I got some pliers to take the pipe off and looked up the port. Oh dear. The piston was toast, with the bore scratched as a result.
Like modern two strokes these have a Nikasil bore -which has to be expensively replated and returned to a STD bore & piston. Except mine has had a sleeve put in and it's 1mm over. Reline or rebore? Decisions, decisions and none of them cheap 'n' easy . I briefly put this up for sale, just after it caught fire, (oh yes) I get moody about things like that. Then I thought, you know , everything else I've got to restore will be to sell and this is gonna be to have fun on,to race. It's fairly low,(major selling point to short fellas!) they were supposed to be one heck of a bike, quick but tractable,stable handling and bullet proof when looked after.
I'm determined this Green Light bike is gonna be for go and not the seven year Fantic wait at red. I'll keep you posted. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Red Shed Redemption

Just sold this Fantic 200 ,definitely Italian in character -pretty but damn temperamental. I'd had it 7 years and I reckon I must have ran over a mirror when I got it. I first set eyes on it lying capsized on it's side,like something stricken, at Newark autojumble. In some bizarre art experiment kids had painted it purple & silver all over, it had a moped back wheel,a bent swingarm and no seat. Approaching it at the end -the guy picks it up and STARTS it. I am impressed such an afflicted machine is capable of actually running,and buy it:  £140.
After a complete stripdown it was obvious the big-end was going and the paintwork needed more than a touch-up. The plastics got the usual hours of scraping and the frame goes to my mate Mark's workplace,a fire extinguisher factory. These are powder-coated. RED. Just like a Fantic 200 and my frame secretly slips through on the production line.
Over the years I did the rings and put a new engine in,did the fork  seals,brakes,wheels,exhaust,silencer,seat rear shocks,new sprockets,made the very rare sidepanels (IKEA chopping boards!),swingarm (twice),carburettor (twice),and endless tank battles to fight the leaks.It has drained money from my pocket,taken weeks out of my life and I've ridden it just once,a brief spin up the street two years ago.I pulled it out the shed and it had now decided it was only gonna run on full choke,so it was obviously taking in too much air. I guess I knew it all along, this bike really does suck!