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Author Topic: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build  (Read 683 times)

Offline phomeniuk

  • Posts: 5
1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« on: Jul 15, 2017, 00:34:19 »
New member here from SW Ontario. Please excuse the long winded intro but I know from lurking that alot of you dotheton forum goers like a good project introduction.

Well I've inherited a 1980 KZ250 that's been in my family since the 80s. Little backstory on it; my father used to drag race back in the late 80s, early 90s on a heavily modified kz900. My uncle came across this kz250 and picked it up for 50 bucks (no ownership of course). It was painted to match the drag bike and was used as a pit bike on weekends where he would tote me and my older brother around (we were quite small)  while dad was in the staging lanes. My uncle unexpectedly passed away in '95 and my dad quit racing that year. The bike sat at the homestead for a few years until we were big enough to learn to ride on it (circa 2000). We would putt around on it from time to time in our teens but it has since just been collecting dust for the last 10 years or so, until now.

I finally got around to getting an ownership for it and am now working at getting it road worthy. It is running perfectly but needs the usual tires, fork seals, brake shoes etc as well as a pile of electrical work (the previous owher lost the key so ripped the ignition out and wired in a push button for a starter, cut all the signals off and did a couple other silly things) In the last week I've sorted out the wiring to the point where I just need to install all the electrics parts I've ordered.

Next part of the journey is to create a sort of cafe racer style machine. Now I've been lurking the forums for long enough to know that most will say that the kz Ltd frame is a horrible choice from which to produce a cafe racer. To this I say HOGWASH! From what I know of the cafe racer boys of old, they took whatever they had and set out to make it better in the way of performance, handling and styling. I am well aware of the lack of power, handling characteristics and all around wow factor of this bike, but it holds sentimental value to me and I think it will be a fun project that will result in a pretty cool little machine that I can pass down to my kids. I currently ride a 2006 DRZ400SM that is decently upgraded so this KZ250 project is just mainly for something to do and to give me another option when I'm not in the mood for wheelies, backing it in, and making all kinds of noise. The DRZ is my workhorse, the KZ will be my sunday cruiser. Bonus point- my wife told me she might go get her license when the bike is complete.

I've got a pretty good idea of the direction I want to go with this project. I'm going to try to keep it as close to period as I can but improve on areas where it's needed, so no GSX-R front end and Ducati single sided monoshock swingarm type tom-foolery. I'm thinking stock tank, painted to a factory colour (I think Kawasaki did a nice deep maroon), clip on bars, rear sets, brown leather hump seat(frame mods required for fittment), shorty muffler (I'll fab this up myself), rid the bike of chrome, new longer shocks (im 6'4" and look goofy on a tall supermoto so I need all the ride height I can get out of this little guy). After any necessary frame work I intend to blast and paint the frame, swingarm, engine mounts and any other brackets. Also going to paint the wheels solid black, the colour scheme on them just screams "80's" to me.

Aside from the necessary parts needed to pass a safety test and make the bike road worthy, here is a list of the parts I've ordered/sourced thus far:
Clip on bars
LED integrated tail light and necessary relay, resistors etc
New grips
Rearsets from a gsxr (saw a forum post of one member putting these on a 440 and it looked like a good setup with minimal headache)
Signals for front - LED
New speedo/tach set up - single pod
Looking at the RFY shocks (I know I know - Chinese crap but I've done my research and am 90% sold on them)

I'm trying to get my ass in gear and get this bike road worthy for the end of the season, but we just recently had our first child and she takes priority over everything else, so there may be lulls in production from time to time. I hope to keep updating this thread on a regular basis and look forward to hearing from the community. Any input/feedback/criticisms/ideas are welcome.

Anyway, the bike:

This is the bike as it has been for the last 30 years


After peeling off some of the more gaudy bits to get a feel for what I'm striving toward


Flipped the drag bars and lowered the headlight, again just to get a feel for things.


Part way through the wiring adventure. Also polished up some of the chrome because I was sick of looking at it all pitted and dull.


I will post more pics as I progress. As I said above any feedback/suggestions are greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2017, 23:51:35 by phomeniuk »

Offline tv_cafewannabe

  • Posts: 21
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #1 on: Jul 20, 2017, 11:57:42 »
Flip those headlight ears over so they angle down and drop the headlight.  It will help add to the aesthetic of the bike being in a more sporty/aggressive position.
Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the seat.

~Skol

1982 Kawasaki KZ750M "CSR" Cafe Build
http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=71905.msg846861#msg846861

Offline phomeniuk

  • Posts: 5
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #2 on: Jul 23, 2017, 12:52:11 »
Short little progress update:
Got my fork seals in, what a chore that was. I'd never done it before but I learned a few tricks along the way. Next time I have to do fork seals it will hopefully go smoother.

Sorted out the remainder of the wiring issues except for the bubba'd ignition. Had a friend give me a keyed ignition he had laying around so I just have to mount it and get it wired up properly. Because I bought a new speedo/tach combo and I'm going with clip on bars I can't mount the ignition in its original position. It would stick out like a sore thumb so I'll probably mount it low behind the headlight or somewhere out of the way, maybe below the tank. I'll lose the steering lock functionality but I really don't use the steering lock anyway so I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I did a similar setup on my DRZ. Most people can't even find the ignition until I show them.

Aside from that it's been a slow week. I polished some of the engine covers today out of boredom (pictures below). The aluminum was quite dull, you can see the difference between the polished and non polished pieces. Needs a lot more work in the polishing department yet.

The only other thing I've been working on is trying to figure out what to use for rear sets. I mocked up the gsxr rear sets to be mounted on the frame gusset either side of the swingarm pivot but it puts the peg too high and too far front for my long dancers legs. It looks like the stock passenger peg location is the most comfortable so I may just fabricate something to utilise that mounting location. If anyone has any tips for rear sets for a tall rider on a small bike like this please share.

I'm expecting a pile of parts to come in within the next week or two so I will post another update once I start getting those installed.



« Last Edit: Jul 27, 2017, 22:09:45 by phomeniuk »

Offline phomeniuk

  • Posts: 5
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #3 on: Jul 27, 2017, 22:29:40 »
Well, parts are starting to roll in this week. My wife has been put on post office duty, not sure whether or not she's loving the position.

Got my clip on bars and front signals installed tonight. The clip on bars make a hell of a difference in the look of the bike, it's starting to look a touch sporty now. In addition, installing the clip on bars really cleaned up the top triple and put me at a far better riding position.




Flip those headlight ears over so they angle down and drop the headlight.  It will help add to the aesthetic of the bike being in a more sporty/aggressive position.

I also took tv_cafewannabe's advice and flipped the headlight mounts over which looks alot nicer, I never thought to do that myself. Was also able to mount my signals in the headlight mounts. These were the cheap LED signals from eBay. I've been using the same ones on my DRZ for 3 seasons now and never had an issue. Didn't have a chance to wire them up because of the size difference of the bullet connectors. Looks like it's time to make a trip to the local electronics store.



I'm anxiously waiting for my seat to arrive so I can start with some frame modifications and building an electrics pan. The seat I ordered is pictured below. I was set on that style but torn between black or brown, but thought brown looked more vintage so that's what I went with. Ordered brown hand grips to tie it all in.

« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2017, 23:59:36 by phomeniuk »

Offline Chris9178

  • Posts: 27
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #4 on: Jul 28, 2017, 14:42:23 »
Looks good so far keep it up!

Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk


Offline tv_cafewannabe

  • Posts: 21
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #5 on: Jul 28, 2017, 20:00:43 »
Looking great. Keep updates coming.

Sent from my SM-G930V using DO THE TON mobile app

Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the seat.

~Skol

1982 Kawasaki KZ750M "CSR" Cafe Build
http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=71905.msg846861#msg846861

Offline phomeniuk

  • Posts: 5
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #6 on: Aug 20, 2017, 23:18:40 »
Thanks for the encouraging comments guys. It's been a while since I've posted but I have made a bit of progress since my last post. My seat finally came in. As seen below I need to do some subframe modifications. I grabbed some tubing from the local speed shop and I plan on welding some straight pieces in from the area of the shock mounts to just under the tank. This might require a slight bend up near the tank to make the seat fit properly. The frame behind the shock mounts will be cut off and shortened up enough that I have room to add a mounting plate for my tail light. Hoping to get this sorted out in the next week.



I finally made the decision to go with the simple universal style rearset based on the fact that I planned to use the stock passenger peg mount for my rearset location. I've started to monkey around with the linkages this weekend, finishing up only the shifter side but I'm quite happy with it.

First things first, I chopped the stock shifter arm off the spline mount, shortened it up, drilled a hole for connecting the heim joint and welded it back onto the spline mount. Note my poor welding skills. Have no fear, I will be taking this part to a good buddy who is a skilled welder to clean it up for me.



Next, I grabbed some heim joints and some 1/4 solid round rod from the local farm supply store. Cut the rod to length and threaded the ends.



All connected




I've got a couple ideas in my head regarding how I'm going to do the brake side linkage so hopefully I get some free time this week to sort that out.
« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2017, 23:56:09 by phomeniuk »

Offline phomeniuk

  • Posts: 5
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #7 on: Oct 02, 2017, 23:41:54 »
Yet another hiatus from this project but I'm back in action. Ordered some more parts and others that I've been waiting on have finally arrived. I decided on an exhaust pipe and went with the reverse cone kind of dunstall style pipe. It was the 60 dollar eBay pipe but from what I can tell it's very nice. I cut the old pipe off and fitted this one to the old header. Really make the bike start to take shape seeing these types of items go on.



Next up was the speedo/tach. I wanted one that was a single pod and just full round (no goofy shapes like the trailtech vapor et al) I came across this one in my eBay searches, did some digging and found that many people have had good luck (a couple bad stories too but aren't there always) so I grabbed it up. At first glance it looks really good, backlight and all gauge lights look nice. I had to fab up a mounting bracket so I did this out of some 14ga stainless I had laying around and it turned out quite well. Only problem is that the wiring harness on the speedo is not set up for my bikes wiring harness, so I'll have to rework all the connectors to fit my wiring. I'm slowly learning that cafe builds do not have much luck with any plug n play action, but working through those custom problems is half the fun.




That's all for now. Hoping to get my subframe done in the next week so I can get my seat properly mounted and at least be able to test out my rearset setup.

Cheers
« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2017, 23:44:52 by phomeniuk »

Offline getshwifty

  • Posts: 3
    • AntiSoical Cloud YouTube
Re: 1980 KZ250 Cafe Build
« Reply #8 on: Oct 03, 2017, 02:36:20 »
Your bike is really coming along!  Every mod is really making a difference in your build.  You are right, the modifications generally are not plug and play.