FAR AWAY, SO CLOSE
‘February rolled into March and the KR-1S gave up its place on the workbench’
Eleven days, that’s all the time I’ve got left until my self-imposed deadline. After years of faffing around with my project KR-1S restoration, I’ve given myself until the official start of British Summer Time – Sunday March 27 – to get my ’90s Kawasaki stroker back on the road, looking (and sounding) great. All the major parts are now taken care of: the engine’s been rebuilt, the frame’s been restored with new bearings pressed in, the bodywork and paint have been refreshed, and the forks have been serviced. On paper there should be nothing stopping me from bolting all the bits back together and spending the first day of summer 2016 in a haze of two-stroke success.
Only, there is. While looking at the pile of components still left to fit, I realised I was missing a few small but essential parts. Little things like the rear indicators; I’d bought the bike with hatefully small aftermarket blinkers, but I’d not got round to sourcing a set of original replacements. Then there was the sidestand switch – the original had failed and caused the bike to intermittently cut out, so a new one was much needed. Then there were things that had just completely disappeared from my garage: the seat backrest and – more importantly – the exhaust mounting bracket, without which I couldn’t bolt on my exhaust pipes and start the engine.
The internet proved a happy hunting ground. I tracked down a good condition seat pad and sidestand switch from a breaker, and bagged a set of pattern indicators from an online retailer, yet the all-important exhaust bracket was proving elusive. With my original still nowhere to be found and ebay unfruitful, I was beginning to give up hope when by chance I stumbled across a post on www.kr-1s.co.uk from a fellow owner – a fabricator who was making a batch of brand new brackets from 304 stainless steel. Fancy that!
Sticking an order in quickly, I paid my £35 and waited patiently for the final piece of my two-dinger puzzle. Time passes slowly when you’re waiting for much-needed parts, but sure enough it arrived as promised and I promptly took it into the garage, placed it on the worktop, then closed the door…
What I was most frightened of happening happened. February rolled into March and the racing season started again, with my evenings and weekends dedicated to fettling and testing my ever-needy race bike. The KR-1S gave up its place on the workbench and got pushed to the side of the garage. But in spite of this I’m still determined to meet my deadline, especially now the end is tantalisingly within sight…
2Case savers £151
Hopefully you’ll never need to test these aluminium protectors, which protect the cases from wearing through in a spill. Regardless, they l ook damned smart.