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January 2009

Here we are again.  A few mutterings about the lack of KR action last year, an apology about the non-appearance of KR Day, some optimistic plans about the year ahead, etc.  Well of course - it's all done to make you feel better about your own lethargy and procrastination !

New Years Resolutions then.  Get the red/black bike through an MOT, tax it, get the missus out on it for a few miles, then decide whether to tidy it up properly or sell it on.  Make some progress with the project bike by mounting the rearsets, fitting some new bars, sorting the lockstops, finalising the brakes and then get my local bike restorations shop to strip everything and polish the rolling chassis up nicely.  The main bike is still legal from last year so it just needs some use, once the weather's a bit warmer.  I might fit those new brakelines actually, as the original ones are looking a bit shabby and are possibly the weakest part of the whole bike.  I really should fit those new exhaust gaskets too.  Oil leak ?  Erm, maybe.  KR Day ?  I hope so - I got a lukewarm response from the KR owners I contacted last year, but even if we only get 3 or 4 together it would be good.

February 2009

I've been too busy at work to get anything done so far this year.  Apart from adding some more clutter to my already overstuffed garage.  Nick on the KR Forum acquired some shopfittings from an bike dealer that was closing down, and kindly sold me an old Kawasaki showroom sign.  It's illuminated and with bit of tidying up and a new longer cable put on, is now hanging from the ceiling.  I love stuff like this and have been after one for a while.  Next time I tidy the garage properly, I'll find a better place for it.

Kawasaki dealer showroom sign Kawasaki dealer showroom sign

March 2009

About time the KR hit the road again then ?  A day off work coincided with some dry sunny weather so it was dug out of the garage, the tyres pumped up, the bellypan oil mopped out and after a few kicks it burst into life.  It spluttered a bit heading into town but once warmed up it ran fine.  This time the clutch didn't drag at all although the front brakes had got very soggy and the back one was sticking on a bit.  I didn't go far but it was nice to be out on it again and I have to start using it more.  Once home again, I decided to fire up the red/black one too.  It started pretty easily and settled down to a solid tickover.  Don't believe me ?  Here it is on  YouTube.  The special was also re-SORNed this month - well, it's not like it'll need a tax disc anytime soon...

KR back on the road

June 2009

Three months on and no KR action - too many other bike/car jobs have got in the way recently.  But the MOT is due this month so I needed to fix a few things before that.  First, the blowing exhausts.  I was going to fit a pair of new gaskets but when I checked the mountings I realised that the nuts had worked loose.  Nipping those up and running the engine showed that's all it needed.  An easy fix !  I moved on to the heatshield from the upper exhaust, whose mounting bracket had broken.  With no easy way to repair it, I used a cable-tie to clamp it closed.  You can't really see it and it's stopped the rattling.

Next, the brakes - the front ones are very spongy, the rear one sticks on a bit and all of the hoses and fittings are corroded.  I had a complete set of new brakelines and fittings from way back in 2005 (!) - I'd not fitted them back then because they didn't look original enough but they certainly look better than the old standard ones now.  I started with the rear one - pumping the piston out a bit, cleaning it and making sure both it and the sliding pin moved freely.  Then I fitted the new brakeline, new banjo bolts with new copper crush washers and a new bleed nipple with cap.  Just a simple matter of bleeding it then.  No.  I ran out of brake fluid before I managed to restore pressure.  A couple of days later with a new litre of fluid I tried again.  Quickly I realised that air was leaking into the system somewhere, and at first I thought there was a problem with the rear master cylinder.  This would be disastrous because although I have a spare one, fitting it involves taking the lower exhaust off plus the footrest hanger, which means also removing the swingarm spindle !  Luckily it was the new brakeline - it's been painted gloss black and the paint is preventing a good seal on the banjo.  Temporarily I refitted the old brakeline and the system bled quickly without problem.  I'll need to carefully sand off the paint from all the brakelines before I fit those then.

KR250 KR250 KR250 KR250

So a week or so later I removed the paint from the mating surfaces on all of the brakelines using wet-and-dry on a little wooden block.  I then fitted them.  I didn't swap the metal pipes that feed the anti-dive but everything else is new - lines, banjos, washers, nipples, caps and of course fluid.  I even replaced the two butchered screws on the front reservoir lid.  Bleeding the system was easy - do the caliper first, then anti-dive, then junction then repeat for the other side.  The brakes feel much better now.  With the rest of the day spare, I rode it down to the local bike shop where it passed the MOT no problem.  The clutch dragged a little on the way home so I attempted to adjust it and also tightened up the chain a bit too using those excellent eccentric adjusters.  Finally, 12 months tax makes the bike legal and usable again.  Shockingly, the MOT certificate reveals a grand total of only 25kms in the last year...

KR250 KR250 KR250 KR250

September 2009

Yes I know.  Life gets in the way sometimes doesn't it ?  Got some more secondhand engine parts on their way to me but there's not much else to report.  I've had to have a bit of a sort-out in the garage which means that the parts bike has been relegated to living outdoors under a cover.  This is temporary, honest.  Oh, and there was a cheap project KR on Ebay UK last week - did anyone buy it ?

Four KR250's Four KR250's Four KR250's Four KR250's KR250 relegated outdoors

October 2009

We've still never identified a suitable replacement piston for the KR.  To assist the debate on the KR Forum, I weighed one of my originals.  134 grams, with no rings, gudgeon pin or circlips.  Does that help anyone ?  Also, with some help I've found a bloke in Japan who's had a batch of KR piston rings made.  I've got a set on their way to me for evaluation and I'll spread the word on here when I know more.

134g piston

November 2009

I took the KR along to the  NEC Classic Motor Show  thanks to  Diff'rent Strokers , where it was displayed alongside a nice KR-1S and various other 80's 2-strokes.  This was the first time that I've actually used the factory-option paddock stand that I bought from Japan a year ago - it's extremely easy to use and works perfectly, as you'd expect I suppose.  Also, big thanks to fellow exhibitor and KR owner Andy Bolas who kindly unearthed an original copy of MCN from Nov '83 featuring the KR launch on the front page and bought it for me !

My KR at the NEC 2009 My KR at the NEC 2009 My KR at the NEC 2009

December 2009

As mentioned above, I won a KR top-end on Ebay a while ago and finally got round to picking it up.  It was being sold by Neil Haslam, who I bought the project from back in April 2005 (yes, it really was that long ago).  He was having a clearout of his workshop and found some more KR parts.  When I met him, he kindly threw in a whole box of other parts that he'd found too, mainly engine bits.  He's promised me the crankcases too if he ever gets them back from his tuner mate.

And those pistons rings turned up too.  Someone in Japan was selling sets of new KR rings that he'd had specially made.  I haven't had chance to compare them to genuine ones yet but I'll post the results on here soon.  I wasn't even sure how many I'd ordered but for 100 I got enough for two bikes.

More engine parts New rings, made in Japan New rings, made in Japan

Also this month I found someone on Ebay selling reproduction AVDS decals for the forks.  And just before New Year, I managed to carpet my garage with a roll of red flooring liberated from last months Classic Motor Show.  Did you know that they carpet the entire NEC with new material for each show and then bin it all the day after ?

Repro AVDS decals Carpeted garage ! Carpeted garage !

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