Sunday, 24 April 2011


Blood, Sweat, and Emery Cloth.
The Z250 hasn't made a lot of progress, but that's not to say I haven't done a lot of work on it. I'm not sure if I elucidated on the reasoning behind brush painting the frame? Buying the machinery enamel, a litre of red oxide primer, two brushes, and a litre of white spirit cost something on the order of twenty of our good English Pounds, a little under if I recall correctly. At this point I could have got the frame blasted and started painting it, but I chose to strip the frame by hand to keep expenditure down.

Bottoms up! Literally.
While it certainly did that, it also took up a lot of time, probably three days on the frame alone, and most of another day on the swinging arm and assorted brackets. If your personal situation leaves you with more free time than free money, it's an option worth considering, but it requires a degree of patience as well. Going over the entire frame and making sure that all the grease, oil, rust, and old paint are removed is incredibly tedious, but perfectly doable. And then there's the swinging arm, engine mounting brackets, and rear brake torque arm to do as well.

On the flip side...
Avoiding the temptation to get the brush in your hand and start splashing paint around until the preparation is complete is probably as important as having the patience, or at least being sufficiently obsessive, to remove all the old crud from the frame. When I eventually do start painting the frame, I usually flip it upside down for the first coat of primer. I've found that when you apply paint to frame with a brush, there's a tendency for the bottom of horizontal frame members to either remain unpainted, or play host to large and unsightly runs in the paint. By applying the first coat with the frame upside down I can get a good coat of primer on the parts that are going to be difficult to see with the frame the right way up.  With the frame flipped over and lightly scuffed off for the second coat, it's easy to see where there wasn't a lot of coverage.

I think it's had three coats of primer now, and unless I rub through it in a lot of places when I wet flat it, that ought to do, so with a little luck it ought to be in colour by the end of next week...

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Not entirely unlike a café racer
Well the CBX is gone, and the the Z250 has progressed a little more. I'm quite pleased with the way it looks, so I've gratuitously added yet another picture of it prior to dismantling it in order to finish off trimming the old brackets which we didn't want from the frame and welding the new ones that we did want to the frame. I seem to recall shoving the thing outside and taking some pictures of it on the side stand, but I don't seem to be able to find them, possibly because I imagined the entire episode.

Johnny making it look pretty.
In between rushing around and panicking about all the usual things that I have, or more accurately, choose, to rush around and panic about after the first picture was taken Johnny and I jointly and severally managed to get all the outstanding random bits done and start taking the thing to pieces. Johnny got on with finessing the shape of the body work to ready it for a coat of primer, and I took things off until it reached the stage where the engine needed removing.

"I'm just having a lie down..."

 As is occasionally the case, this proved to be a little less than entirely straight forward, with the two rear engine mounting studs seized into their rubber bushings. Quite why Kawasaki felt the need to rubber mount the bloody thing in the first place is a bit of a mystery, and it's entirely possible that when it's all re-assembled, the engine will be solidly mounted. In order to remove the rear lower engine mounting stud, we laid the motorcycle on its side to facilitate accessing the stud in question with the air hacksaw. An air hacksaw, is a hacksaw powered by compressed air, and not in any way similar to an air guitar just in case you were wondering...

There are easier ways.
With the mounts sawn through and the engine removed from the frame, a few minutes twirling of spanners had the wheels and forks removed too, and shortly afterwards the swinging arm had parted company with the frame too. As I'd decided to brush paint the frame on the Z250, I elected to prepare it by hand rather than having it blasted. While this is a fairly low cost option, it's tedious and time consuming, and has little to recommend it. Possibly the only major benefit over blasting is that as long as you're brush painting the frame, you can't remove paint from any areas that you can't reach to repaint. My point is that hand preparing and brush painting a frame is a possibility, and in fact used to be standard practice, and if you're strapped for cash, may prove to be a viable option. The paint we've got for the frame is a "machinery enamel" which is basically commercially available paint that's suitable for brushing as well as spraying, but can be mixed to match a wide range of colours. What that means is that we could order one type of paint for brush painting the frame, and a second type for painting the bodywork, but have both types of paint supplied in the same colour.

I'm hoping to get the first coat of primer on the frame in the next day or so, and I'll let you know how it goes. 

Sunday, 3 April 2011


I've mentioned that stuff that I want to do, and stuff that I have to do before, but this CBX diversion is another category, that of stuff that I really ought to do even though I don't want, or have, to do it. In this case, I really ought to do it because I really could do with having the space back. Irritatingly, it's still not quite finished. I say irritatingly, because I am absolutely certain that if one more person tell me that it's taking longer than I thought it would (though "wanted it to" is probably more accurate) because "we all slow down as we get older" I am going to tear their abdomen open with my bare hands and strangle them with their own colon. I'd suspect that my inability to perform at the level I used to is more to do with the new improved leg and it's modified neurology, than it has to do with the passing of years, which I find incredibly frustrating.
Anyway, enough about me. I made the exhaust down pipes in pairs, starting with numbers 2 and 5. That miight seem a bit odd, but with the layout I used, 2 and 5 run behind 3 and 4, with the latter pair meeting underneath the former, much like a conventional 4 into 1 system. The remaining two pipes (1 and 6) I routed to run halfway between the levels of the other four pipes. Then I cut half a dozen two and half inch lengths of inch and five eighths tube to start making the collector. To seal the diamond shaped central hole, I used a 20mm long piece of 20mm wide 3mm steel strap, and the triangular holes were filled with weld.

Once the front of the collector was made, it was a fairly simple matter of making a card template for the rest of the collector body, welding that together, and cutting the downpipes to the same length. I got as far as bending up a tail pipe for the systyem and tacking it in place before deciding that I was too tired to start making the exhaust can, and going home. In an ideal world I'll finish that on Tuesday and with a modicum of luck, it'll be gone by the end of the week leaving me with a little more space to work in.

The idea then is to work on the Z250 in that space, and once that's done it can be sold to fund the purchase of the parts for the R65 engine. There are times when it feels like there's more juggling going on in that workshop than there is in the average three ring circus....