From Basket Case to Cafe Racer: Elizabeth's Story

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Hey guys,
After all this time, I finally decided to post the progress of my '76 KZ750B1 build. I found "Elizabeth" posted on Craig's List in '07 for the princely sum of $50. She was little more than a collection of parts in a series of boxes, but heck, she had a title and a motor that turned. So I paid the PO and threw her in the back of my car. After a little bit of sorting, I discovered that I had a 95% complete bike buried beneath years of oil, dust, and neglect. I slowly began the process of piecing her back together and she sat dormant for nearly a year after I got hit by a Mustang while riding my CBR (that's another story...).
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Sorry guys, got interrupted and had to restart...

Anyway, I began tinkering with her again over the winter and spring of '08. Stripped down the tank and seat and sprayed it candy red with white racing stripes, ala Ducati Monster.



Unfortunately, I had to do some damage repair after her frame inexplicably fell on the tank (from 10 feet away??) so I stripped it down and ended up painting it black for now. I attempted to make a fiberglass seat with some not so great results.



Decided instead to strip the original seat of rotting foam and recovered it with vinyl and seat foam taken from an early GSXR. This too will change eventually. Again, she sat dormant until two months ago when I finally decided to just get her running and stop messing with aesthetics.

Amazingly, her motor was in prettny good shape (internally, at least) and turned over with great compression. The generator and flywheel were in good shape, but the carbs were shot and exhaust completely missing. Forks will need an eventual rebuild/replace and new tires will be in order before any real riding. Here's how she looked at the beginning of December '09.

 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
To make a long story short, I scored some pipes for a song and a set of carbs for an arm and a leg. Got them on and struggled with the timing but finally got her running! With that in mind, I need to rejet and move on to the actual build.

Here's her current stats:
1976 Kawasaki KZ750B1
Emgo pod filters
1983 KZ750 exhaust
2005 CBR600RR front brake master cylinder & Galfer stainless brake line
Clubman bars
Wired George Coil Modification
1968 Kawasaki C2SS "Roadrunner" headlight & speedometer

Future additions:
Cafe-style tail/seat
2-into-1 megaphone-type exhaust
Pirelli Sport Demon tires
New tank ( :mad: )

Thanks for the inspiration, guys!
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Ah... With the weather finally warmish again, I set back to work on my poor KZ. Thanks to the suggestion of lemon juice as a carb cleaner, got both Mikuni's cleaned and rebuilt with fresh K&L bits. Fabbed a new *temporary* speedo bracket and got her in general running order. Going to give her another kick tomorrow to see if she continues to run properly so I can really get into the "build". If not, then its back to the drawing board.

As far as inspiration, I've been drawn to Deus Ex Machina's V-twin Special, http://www.deus.com.au/gallery/bikes/v-twin-cafe-racer/. I know it's a far-cry from my KZ, but... I like it. What do you all think?


 

m357.5

TURBO KAWI
Hey, didnt know you were on DTT too. Good to see more guy's over here from the KTOF.

Us KZ owners are out numbered by the Honda clan LOL.
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Hey!!! ;D Good to see ya here too! Yes, we are definitely outnumbered... I actually started my whole cafe-obsession by wanting a CB... Can't complain tho.
 

hurley209

New Member
DTT BOTM WINNER
im diggin the v twin special man, i think its a cool idea, i say go for it, its always worth a try until its impossible.lol. keep up the good work! ;D
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
With today's temperatures in the mid-60's and the possibility of rain delayed to late evening, I decided to take the ol' girl out for her first real ride since I bathed the carbs in lemon juice. She's still in a pretty sorry looking state at the moment, with a half@$$ed painted gas tank, non-installed tail cowl, and a burnt-out headlight, but she ran dammit! Mostly.







Got a few issues that still need to be worked out, but it's an improvement nonetheless. What do you guy think about the clip-ons? Scored them off of an '86 Yamaha FZ600 for thirty bucks. They're a bit flat, but they are clip-ons...



Not as aggressive as I originally intended, but they'll do for now. Also, got a new set of switch gear, dual calipers, and a second brake rotor on the way here. Hopefully I can resolve the minor issues and get into the beautification process. Stay tuned!
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Alright, got her 95% running right. Got a few fun parts on the way to get the ball rolling on the build. Keeping in the spirit of Deus' v-twin cafe, I have scored a '79 xl headlight and a billet aluminum m/c reservoir off of eBay. Just waiting for these and my dual caliper setup to arrive.





Been going back and forth between ditching the clip-ons and going back to clubman bars, as I prefer the angle on the clubbers... But I like the clean look offered by the clips... I guess we'll have to see once I get the new headlight.
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
New-ish calipers arrived today. Normally this would be good news. But, after frantically ripping the box open and super-frantically getting them mounted, I discovered the horrible truth that these calipers were not made for the '76 - '79 750 Twins, as I had been informed... Instead, I have a pair of very nice '80 KZ750 calipers that almost (just not quite) fit.

Now, I need to decide if I'm going to:

A: Screw the calipers, dump them back on eBay and find another single '76-79 caliper that I can string up to the fork.

or

B: Do the grinder boogie and try to make the calipers work...

We really need a "banging head against the wall" emoticon...
 

thompsonmx100

New Member
How do they not fit. What is wrong with them? the headlight is cool I have thought of doing one of those on my bike. I will be tuned in to see how it looks. Can you post a link to that brake reservoir. Keep it up.
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
sebatron said:
vote 1 "make it work" :)
[quote author=thompsonmx100]
How do they not fit. What is wrong with them?[/quote]

After much bashing of caliper to rotor, I have discovered that the caliper is just too narrow to fit the width of the 750B's rotors... I originally intended to grind down the calipers' brackets to allow the rotor to clear, but quickly realized that I couldn't get the caliper OVER the rotor. Looks like their heading to the SELLING/SWAPPING pile.

As for the headlight, can't wait to get it in my hands. Been devising different methods to mount it, but I don't know which will work until I have it here. That Deus bike's got me hooked on that headlight now.

Here's the link for the M/C reservoir. The seller's also got different colors to match your build.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Billet-Brake-Clutch-Fluid-Reservoir-Streetfighter-Gsxr_W0QQitemZ370349974358QQihZ024QQcategoryZ35580QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp4340.m444QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DCRX%26its%3DC%252BS%26itu%3DSI%252BUA%252BLM%252BLA%26otn%3D5%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8572456717998454969

BTW, guys, thanks a TON for the motivation and advice!
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Made the leap today and chopped the frame... :eek:

Went from this:


To this:


I'm sure it hurt me more than the bike, but it was a bit nerve wracking to take jigsaw to frame. I have a fender that will slot into place between the frame rails once I figure out my mounting options. I'm also leaning towards using my CBR's tail light in the fender. Once I remove a few tabs and unbolt the bracket, I think the tail light will look the "business".




After that, it's 'glass time to fab up a new seat. My original plan was to use the stock hing and lock, but the lock interferes with the placement of the fender. I'll figure that out sooner or later. Also got another brake caliper on the way that "will fit".

On the down side, discovered that the fork rebuild/replace will be needed much sooner than I thought... :-[
 

sebatron

New Member
that's an interesting taillight idea for this kinda bike, i'm curious to see how it shapes up.

going back to the other page re: caliper clearing the rotor, could you consider a narrower rotor? not exactly intuitive given it'd be more likely to warp etc, but if it's only half a millimetre or something it might be ok
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
[quote author=sebatron]
that's an interesting taillight idea for this kinda bike, i'm curious to see how it shapes up.
[/quote]

I know it's a bit different, but we'll see how it looks once I get the fender mount figured out. I intend on trimming the fender down to match the contour of the tail light, but I'm hoping my super-mad crazy fab skills (or lack thereof) holds up to it.

[quote author=sebatron]going back to the other page re: caliper clearing the rotor, could you consider a narrower rotor? not exactly intuitive given it'd be more likely to warp etc, but if it's only half a millimetre or something it might be ok
[/quote]

I thought long and hard about going with the '80 KZ750/4's rotors, but then I'd have to figure out the mounting process to do so... Luckily I found a right side caliper from a KZ650 that is supposed to be identical to the caliper on my 750. That should be here tomorrow so I'll have a definite answer soon.

I also just got my new master cylinder reservoir today! ;D IT IS FREAKIN' TINY! I'll post pics later, but the new reservoir could almost fit into the upper triple clamp's riser mount holes! In fact, I may just bore out the hole a bit and slide it on in to clean up the whole triple clamp/handlebar look.

Still waiting on the XL headlight... ???
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
Got my XL headlight and right caliper today! After doing some quick mock ups, I think the headlight will fit nicely. I'll post pics later today. Now, I just need to get a new bulb/lamp for the headlight. ;D
 

arcspeedworks

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!!!
1979 Harley XL headlight now mounted. Please pardon the mess.







Had to grind down the bracket that was conveniently supplied by the previous owner. Man, grinding metal is FFFFUUUUNNNN!!!! ;D

 

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