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January 2007

OK, I admit it.  I neglected the KR last year.  I only rode it once and that was just for a few yards.  I got a bit distracted with the TZR and then the whole  Diff'rent Strokers  thing.  I finally began the KR special but I didn't make as much progress with it as I planned.  But I promise to put all that right this year...

...starting with the puddle of fuel that appeared underneath the bike yesterday.  Or is it oil ?  2T or gearbox ?  Or maybe it's coolant ?  Or battery acid ?  Hmm.  Well, it's got to come apart anyway.  I never got to the bottom of the warm-starting problem but I've been assured by a reliable source (cheers Tono) that it's all down to correct adjustment of the primary gears.  See the  Servicing Page  for more details.  Also, the pipes need to come off to fit new exhaust gaskets, and the fuel tank needs sealing.  Anything else ?  Well, the tyres still lose pressure slowly, the brakes are binding a bit, the left handlebar clamp needs replacing and there's a pair of brand new mirrors to fit.  That should see it through an MOT I hope.

And the special ?  Well the goal for the end of 2006 was to have a finished rolling chassis and although it looks like that's done, it still needs rearsets sorting out, lockstops grinding down and the brakes finishing.  And obviously it all needs polishing and painting, when I eventually decide what colours to go for.  Then it'll be time to start work on the motor...

The spirit of PB magazine

February 2007

That puddle ?  It's definitely oil - from the gearbox, not 2T.  No reason why it should suddenly have sprung a leak but there you go.  I've not done anything about fixing it yet because I don't have any dry, warm(ish) space to work on it.  Which is why I've been spending the last couple of weeks moving things round in the garage, making storage and shelving with the aim of having somewhere to work on my bikes instead of just storing them.  Should be ready soon, unless I fall into my usual trap of filling the new empty space with another bike.

Or even just more KR parts.  Someone pointed me at some for sale on Ebay and I won them for the bargain price of 99p !  That's for a pair of wheels, a rear shock, all 3 discs and calipers and a front brake master-cylinder with (non-standard adjustable) lever.  Maybe not such a bargain when you factor in the 65 postage costs from Greece though...

KR parts from Greece via Ebay

March 2007

You're probably wondering how I'm getting on with building the special, and whether adjusting the crank dampers has fixed the starting problems on my other KR ?  Erm, sorry, I haven't touched either of them - too many other things going on.  I've not done the front-end transplant on the TZR either so don't think I'm favouring Yamaha over Kawasaki.

All I've done this month is SORN the special.  For those of you lucky enough not to live in the UK, SORN is a stupid bit of paperwork that you need to do if you're not going to tax your bike.  Either you tax it or SORN it, or you get a 1000 fine.  Obviously I can't tax it because it doesn't have a current MOT.  And I can't get an MOT because it doesn't even have an engine yet.  SORN is free (for now...) so why am I complaining ?  Because when you've got 5 bikes and 3 cars in the household, there's always something that needs tax, SORN, MOT or insurance.  Miss one by a couple of days and bingo, you're now a criminal.  And don't get me started on the intention to fit all vehicles with a GPS transponder so that not only can they charge you per mile travelled, they know where you are and how fast you're moving at all times...

The only other thing I've got done this month is open the fuel cap on the special's tank.  It was locked when I got it and there was no key.  I have a complete spare lock-set with key but you can't remove the filler cap from the tank without unlocking it - there's a small bolt hidden underneath the cap.  Enter my local friendly locksmith who picked it open in a couple of minutes in exchange for a couple of beers !

Locked filler cap, opened without the key...

April 2007

Have you noticed on the KR brochures, the rider pictured is all decked out in shiny lime-green KR-branded leathers with matching helmet, gloves and boots ?  Some of those were available from Kawasaki dealers back in the 1980's but as far as I know the leathers were made just for the factory tester.  Shame, would be nice to have some don't you think ?  My lovely missus obviously thought so too 'cos I came home from work the other night to find a brand-new leather jacket waiting for me !  She'd got local place 'Unique Leathers' to make it specially to the original design and it's brilliant !

Bespoke KR250 leather jacket Bespoke KR250 leather jacket

I've finally got the garage sorted out.  I binned some stuff that was taking up space, moved some other things around, put up new shelves and generally made things easier to get at.  No excuses now for getting on with all the jobs that need doing.  Including measuring and shimming the primary gear damper things.  I tried to order some of the correct shims from Z-Power (I was getting some other parts on behalf of someone else) but all they could supply were the 36mm circlips that hold them in.  But it should be easy to find some steel washers of the correct dimensions when I strip it and work out exactly what I need.

New tidy garage New tidy garage New tidy garage New tidy garage Workbench Roof stuffed full of KR spares

May 2007

A rash impulse purchase at an autojumble followed by a few quid spent on Ebay and another KR project begins... but that'll have to wait for now.  Josh knows what the plan is though !

With the VJMC Show looming (July 7/8th) and a shortage of bikes for the Diff'rent Strokers stand looking likely, I volunteered the KR for duty.  We'd taken Darin's KR last time and it had - quite rightfully - won a 'highly commended' rosette.  No chance of that with mine, but it would look OK hidden away at the back.  It would need a few things sorting out first though.

June 2007

I started by (finally) replacing the broken LH handlebar clamp.  This was pretty easy, so confidence boosted I pumped the tyres up, reconnected the fuel tank and decided it was about time I heard the engine running again.  It started pretty easily, and the second cylinder chimed in after a few seconds.  I took a small video clip of it running which I'll post online very soon - several people have contacted me wanting to know what a KR sounds like (watch this space) - bear in mind that the exhaust gaskets are still blowing a bit though !  After this I replaced both scuffed mirrors with the brand-new ones from Z-Power then investigated the oil leak.  It appears to be leaking from the gear-lever shaft seal, or maybe the small cover behind the drive sprocket.  This is potentially good news, as it means I should be able to fix it without removing and splitting the whole engine.  However, one of the previous owners (note - there was only one, and he was a Kawasaki factory trained mechanic...) has managed to butcher one of the retaining screws which will turn a relatively simple job into a right pain in the arse.  I'm tempted to delay the fix until after the show, when I can fit the new exhaust gaskets and investigate the primary gear dampers at the same time.  That means it'll be on display with an embarassing puddle under it - please feel free to pop by and point that out !

Broken and replacement LH bar clamp The leaking drive cover

I decided to fit the single seat cowl again, as most people won't have seen one before and it'll be something slightly different at the show.  I also repaired the front indicator.  Why ?  Well, I managed to break it off whilst swapping the front-end on the TZR.  It seems it's been broken before as there are traces of glue so I superglued it back on again.  I would have fitted a complete new unit but the old one wasn't coming off easily and I couldn't be bothered to remove the whole fairing to get at it properly.  Anything else this month ?  Well, the TAX is due again, and you can't get TAX without an MOT so it's booked in for that.  Wish me luck !

July 2007

Did it pass ?  Of course !  I wasn't too confident actually but they couldn't find anything wrong with it apart from the need for a new indicator bulb (which I don't agree with - they were all working fine).  So I taxed it too and it's back on the road after a 2 year absence.  The exhausts are louder than ever though so I've got to replace those gaskets soon.

I threw it in the van and took it to Uttoxeter for the VJMC 25th Anniversary Show.  It was on the Diff'rent Strokers stand, along with a mint KR-1S belonging to Andy Birtles.  Doug popped by to check it out, Alfons and Hans came over from the Netherlands and a good weekend was had by all.  And no-one spotted the leak !  Alfons had brought along a broken disc valve from their KR to show me - the centre rubber bit had snapped off.  Doesn't look easily repairable but we'll see.  Also at the show was Andy's red/white KR, and there were rumours of a KR-1R there too but I couldn't track it down.

My KR, VJMC Uttoxeter Show 2007 Andy's KR, VJMC Uttoxeter Show 2007 My KR and KR-1S, VJMC Uttoxeter Show 2007 My KR and KR-1S, VJMC Uttoxeter Show 2007 Broken disc valve

August 2007

I've bought quite a few small bits and pieces off Yahoo Auctions Japan over the last couple of years, using one of the various professional agents that offer this service.  It's very expensive indeed, though you've not got much choice if you need that rare part to get your bike running again.  Recently, a Scottish chap living in Japan posted on the Yamaha RD Forum, saying he'd be willing to act as the middleman in a similar way.  I thought I'd put him to the test, so sent him a few links to items I wanted along with the prices I was prepared to pay.  And not long afterwards, a large box arrived containing various small new KR parts.  His commission charges are more reasonable and he also knows what he's taking about too.  Recommended.

What's the wheel in the other photo ?  I was hoping you could tell me !  It's an old 18" racing alloy wheel, possibly magnesium, cast with 'Kawasaki' and 'Enkei' logos, along with 'Made In Japan' and 'T 18x2.15 TL DOT'.  It's got 7 spokes and 4-bolt disc mounting holes on both sides.  It's a front wheel, though it's fitted with an unused Dunlop Racing KR108 rear slick tyre (3.25/4.50-18).  The works KR250/350 racers used something very similar (as well as 5-spoke versions) although I haven't yet been able to find a picture with an exact match.  It's too lightweight to be off a Z1000-based Endurance racer, so what is it ?

More parts from Japan KR250 racer wheel ? KR250 racer wheel ?

September 2007

A whole pile of NOS KR250 parts appeared on Ebay this month.  Unfortunately, prices were very expensive indeed so I limited my bidding to just a handful of hard-to-find parts.  The only one I won was another single seat-cowl, which I'd already promised to Darin anyway.  It looked a bit shabby when I first unpacked it but ten minutes with first T-Cut and then car polish had it ready to fit.  If he dropped his prices a bit (199 for a single carb !) I'd be willing to buy a lot of stuff off him.

Whilst rummaging through my stash of old parts, I realised I had quite a selection of RH sidepanels.  With the assistance of Chris from Netbikes who kindly sent me one in Australia-only green/white/blue, I've managed to assemble most of the original factory colour-schemes : green/white, black/red, red/grey, red/black, red/black 'S', white/blue 'S' and erm, unpainted white primer.  I'm still missing silver and red/white, plus the Australia-only red/black one.  All donations gratefully received !

3 genuine single-seat cowls sidepanel selection

November 2007

What do you mean November ?  What happened to October ?  Um, well I was busy at the Stafford Show running the Diff'rent Strokers stand again.  No KR's this year though and I'm sure you don't wanna read about Honda's on here.  I was kindly given a brand-new exhaust pipe at the show by someone who thought it was for a KR, but I don't think it is.  It's marked 'Solfer Componenti SPA' and '* H1 KR1 E'.  Any ideas ?

I finally succumbed to the lure of some of those NOS parts although I've resisted spending a fortune trying to make my KR like new.  I recognise a couple of the other bidders though, they must have deeper pockets than I have !  But I did get some used aftermarket 'Daytona' rearsets from Japan along with a pair of clamps that change the height and angle of the standard bars.  And there's another package on its way over with something even more interesting in...

Solfer Componenti exhaust KR250 NOS KR250 aftermarket accessories

December 2007

...these.  A pair of 'S' barrels, complete with KVSS valves, servo and linkage.  Sadly there's no control box, or even a cylinder head.  They should clean up OK though, and everything seems to move as it should.  Interesting eh ?

KR250S barrels KR250S barrels

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