FAR AWAY, SO CLOSE

‘Fe­bru­ary rolled into March and the KR-1S gave up its place on the work­bench’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - 1990 KAWASAKI KR-1S, £750

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.

Clean­ing done, now it’s build time New ex­haust bracket is the fi­nal piece Seat pad com­pletes the tail unit Freshly re­built by BDK Race En­gi­neer­ing, the en­gine’s ready to ring into life once again

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