Here we go again…

After letting the KZ sort of occupy the corner of the shop for the last week and a half, we finally decided to dive into it.  We’d been threatening to install the Prince-styled gargantuan front fairing on the old girl and do some touring.  But the mood finally struck us to just roll up the sleeves and dig in.  We hadn’t really settled on a build direction for this bike, but we know the first steps involve lots of disassembling, so we figured we’d begin that process and let the bike ‘reveal’ itself to us as we worked.  I’ve read that Michelangelo claimed his sculptures were always inside of the stone already, he was just releasing them.  It’s a whole lot like that in our case too.  Yep, very comparable.

Here’s the unloved KZ before we started the stripping:

The bike had actually been rather well taken care of; it was clean, had very little rust or patina, and was thus, a bit of a pleasure to work on, unlike some of our prior projects…

Just getting started, I think it was 7:30 pm, after we’d ridden the Yamahas downtown for some mexican food.  The neighbors peeked their heads in, and I’m sure dreaded the thought of us starting another project.  Sorry!

By ten p.m. we had ours to this  point.  We sat back and finally spent some real time pondering the build direction.  The front wheel has a very classic dirt-tracker feel to it.  That got the conversation started: could we find another similar looking 19″ rear wheel that we could make work?  We came to a few conclusions; we have options, but they depend of the availability and fitment of a rear wheel.  We may go spoked with larger diameter rims, or we may try to go with 17″ sport bike wheels front & rear.  We’ll start researching some specific ideas tomorrow.   The bike already has a pretty good stance, and the tank has a nice, clean line to it.  We know we want to upgrade the brakes substantially, so that will factor into the decision as well.

Similar question on the front end; do we want to keep the stock fork or upgrade? Flat bars or clip-ons?  We’re pretty sure we want to build this one to a higher level of performance that some of our recent projects, but hub availability will really be the deciding factor. Finances are a factor too, we are trying to maintain some reasonable business sense on this one.  This bike is being built with the sole purpose of being sold to one lucky rider.  So, each decision is being weighed in terms of cost vs. value.  Or, what we think others will perceive as value.  That’ always a tough one to gauge.

I dont remember whose blog we found this on, maybe Garage Project, or ???  Anyways, this is a mildly and tastefully stripped KZ, the exact same model as ours.  This shows us what we could do with relatively little effort.  We’re pretty sure we’ll go beyond this one. But this is a nice point of reference for us.




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