Sorry for keep you without fresh information for so long. I wasn’t idling or resting on my laurels after CB815 was finished. I just had no time for such thing, as I had a lot of work to do: cleaning my garage and archiving parts that remained after CB750 Seven Fifty and CBX750, reordering shelves before beginning new project, completing orders and so on. Don’t forget about a bit of pleasure: CB815 Eight Fifteen’ riding and of course my new project, which is this my post about.
The KZ650 cafe-racer project is not exactly new. I began to think about it at the end of the year 2015 and I even started working on it in the beginning of the year 2016, but I soon realised that I couldn’t afford parallel work on two “full scale” projects and was forced to postpone KZ project. Olden Kawasaki is my weak spot so it was hard to wait for so long, but the more is pleasure to start this project again. Yet maybe this delay was for good, cause I sharpened all my skills and expanded my manufacturing abilities.
I am glad I had only engine and frame for start, thus I had complete freedom to create and no hesitations about what parts of original to keep or to choose from. And talking about the frame: this project is intended for France, thus we’ll have to solve some logistic tasks we’ve never had before.
Shortly about ideas of project: it is based on Kawasaki KZ650 1978 engine so it is logical that it should have retro look. The motto of project is same as in previous projects: more power, less weight, perfectly working suspension and brakes, easy handling and eye-catching appearance.
But enough for the project introduction, let’s go to its details. I started from the wheels, as they significantly change the appearance of motorcycle. It’s Especially true for wheels I’ve chosen for KZ project. Drum brakes prevailed in Moto GP up until they where overpowered by disc brakes in the middle of 1970s, but they still are recognizable icon and symbol of vintage sport bikes. Why I am about sport drum brakes? The matter is simple: in the beginning of 1980s Honda released few models of motorcycles with Comstar wheels’ specific disc brake system which was called “inboard ventilated disc”. The idea was to hide brake discs into casing which was visually alike to drum brakes. Discs were protected from moisture, so braking in wet weather was more predictable. Such kind of protection also allowed to improve braking capabilities by using discs made of more proper but less rust resistant material.
Honda manufactured bikes with “inboard ventilated disc” brake systems of few different configurations until the end of 1980s when they gave up their position to classic brake disc systems. The most impressive representative of motorcycles with “inboard ventilated disc” brake system was CBX550. It has this system for both, front and rear brakes and moreover, there are two brake discs in front. Thus, both its wheels looked like direct descendant of 1960s-1970s Moto GP brakes, if we discard the fact that they were not spoked, but Comstar wheels. Sure, once I noticed CBX550 wheels I couldn’t help but thinking about using them in Kawasaki KZ650 project. This wheels are quite expensive now and I had to buy parts from three European countries to assemble the complete set. Those who read my blog constantly may notice those wheels hanging on the wall of my garage:
These wheels are Comstar, so they may be disassembled and converted into spoked wheels. I am not the first who do such conversion, but maybe I find the way to add some specific features to it. Now I am working on adapting front wheel to front fork and rear wheel to the swingarm. As I finish with this task I’ll be ready to combine CBX550 wheels’ hubs and these shine new rims you may see below. They are made-in-Italy – replica of Borrani Record rims, also called high shoulder or H-type rims. I chose 18″ 2.50″ wide rim for front wheel and 18″ 3.00″ rim – for rear.
And last, but not least component of the wheels are tires. Dunlop manufacture modern version of legendary TT100 in two version: ordinary TT100 and TT100GP with improved tire compound for better grip. As it’s written about GP version on website of Dunlop:
Modern race tread compounds used;
Extra grip capability makes this tyre well suited to fit to valuable classic bikes used on the road;…”
Thus I stopped my choice on Dunlop TT100GP. I bought brand new 110/90-18 tyre (Had to order it from Japan) for front wheel and 130/90-18 – for rear. They are lovely looking tyres: