KAWASAKI Z1325

Ralph Fer­rand gets the mo­tor and pipe in the Zed.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - www.bik­er­stool­box.co.uk

It’s fi­nally time for the dry build and the first job is to get the mighty beat­ing heart of the fire breath­ing beast nailed into the now stiff­ened frame. I am way too old to be pick­ing up heavy en­gines and will use all the me­chan­i­cal ad­van­tage I can get my hands on. The en­gine was ini­tially in my en­gine build­ing frame on the top of a roller cabi­net so that I could wheel it around and the mo­tor could be turned around through 360° de­pend­ing on which bit I wanted up­per­most. I moved the roller cab next to the bike bench, which I raised to the same height as the tool chest; it was then a sim­ple job of slid­ing the mo­tor in its jig onto the deck of the bike bench. I bought a fab­u­lous ac­ces­sory for my bench, which is big post that at­taches to the base and deck of the bench with roller bear­ings so that it can slide along the length of the bench. It has an arm at­tached to the top with lift­ing at­tach­ments over the bench. If you want to lift some­thing, like a bike or an en­gine, you at­tach strops which are fur­ther at­tached to the arm and then the bench deck is low­ered. The item at­tached to the arm stays where it is and can be moved back and forth along the bench. I have an elec­tric hoist above my other bench, but to be hon­est I find this at­tach­ment quicker and eas­ier to use and quite a bit more adapt­able. I have an end­less strap that oddly ar­rived with a colour dig­i­tal print­ing ma­chine years ago, which is per­fect for lift­ing bike en­gines. You can see it be­ing used in the pho­tos. I have no idea what its strain limit is, but it has taken the full weight of my Z1300 with­out break­ing or show­ing signs of dis­com­fort. I did need help to care­fully shoe­horn the en­gine into the frame, but there were no real prob­lems and the new lower rear en­gine mounts fit­ted around the mo­tor like a glove. There were many con­sid­er­a­tions for an ex­haust for the mighty beast, but my cus­tomer had de­cided he liked the look of a Delke­vic ex­haust which is Bri­tish made in stain­less steel. At well un­der £300, I have to ad­mit that I was more than slightly scep­ti­cal. When it ar­rived the qual­ity was ex­traor­di­nar­ily good and the fit was as pre­cise as you could wish for. I fit­ted the pipe with­out the si­lencer mounts be­cause I need to build up a rear brake sys­tem and have the rear sus­pen­sion fit­ted be­fore at­tach­ing a mount for the ex­haust, but con­versely I needed to know where the ex­haust went be­fore tak­ing TIG to the frame for the brak­ing setup. Like chess, you have to be think­ing a good num­ber of moves ahead with bike build­ing or you can end up in the brown smelly stuff. From a liv­ing with the pipe per­spec­tive, it is clev­erly de­signed, in that you can

per­form an oil and fil­ter change with­out re­mov­ing the ex­haust, which you can’t with many sys­tems. The swingarm and shock were from a GSX-R1100M, a com­mon donor at the time for mono-shock­ing clas­sic bikes. I put the shock in my big coil com­pres­sor and re­moved the spring keeper so that I could have a bet­ter look at the con­di­tion of the unit and its pis­ton rod in par­tic­u­lar. Hav­ing got it apart I re­alised that the in­tegrity of the chrome plat­ing on the damper rod had been com­pro­mised. The unit is filled with ni­tro­gen gas and as I don’t have the equip­ment to dis­as­sem­ble and re-gas this type of shocker, it would need to be taken to a spe­cial­ist. Given the costs of the clean-up and re­fin­ish­ing com­bined with the un­like­li­ness of be­ing able to source a new damper rod and the spe­cial­ist re­build costs, I con­cluded that buy­ing a shiny new YSS shock ab­sorber would make far more sense. They are built to a very high stan­dard, are fully re­build­able and ac­tu­ally look rather swish, for a very rea­son­able price. I fit­ted the swingarm in place, chocked up on a pile of wood burner food and bolted the shock top mount to the frame with stain­less cap screws and at­tached the shock to it. I then fit­ted all the sus­pen­sion link­ages. Be­cause the bike was not to be used to hoon down a drag strip and that my cus­tomer is fully 20 years more ma­ture than when he last played with this toy, it was de­cided that we should re­vert to the stan­dard foot pegs. The big fat swingarm pre­cluded the use of the orig­i­nal rear mas­ter cylin­der, so I de­cided to use the mas­ter cylin­der that Mr Suzuki had fit­ted to the donor Gixxer. I did how­ever want to re­tain as much Zed­ness as pos­si­ble so bought a re­pro­duc­tion Z1000A2 rear brake pedal. As soon as it ar­rived on the door mat I took a hack­saw to it and lopped off the orig­i­nal lever that pushed the mas­ter cylin­der brake rod. Next I grabbed a piece of mild steel round bar from stock and turned down a shoul­der that fit­ted per­fectly through the brake lever pivot. I drilled and tapped it M8 and made on

my lathe what I can only re­ally de­scribe as an alu­minium but­ton with a coun­ter­sunk hole to take an M8 coun­ter­sunk stain­less steel screw. As it is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe, I have drawn a di­a­gram and shown a pho­to­graph to make it clearer. I have never seen these for sale, though I am not the only cus­tom builder to use this method as it is a com­pact, neat and at­trac­tive fit­ting. Next I cut out a tri­an­gu­lar piece of mild steel plate to form a bracket to at­tach the pivot to the frame; once con­vinced of its po­si­tion, I tacked it to the frame and then TIG welded it se­curely in po­si­tion. As the dry build con­tin­ues, the weld­ing of things gets pro­gres­sively more and more awk­ward. Some­times you have to tack things in po­si­tion and then dis­as­sem­ble loads of the build to be able to get enough clear­ance for the weld­ing torch and filler wire. Other times I only welded stuff on one side and left fin­ish­ing it off un­til the frame was fully stripped again. To get the cor­rect lever­age on the rear mas­ter cylin­der pis­ton rod, I needed to mea­sure the orig­i­nal brake pedal and its ac­tu­at­ing lever to cal­cu­late the length I needed to fab­ri­cate the lever act­ing on the pis­ton in the mas­ter cylin­der with the new pedal. Any­one who tells you they haven’t used ‘O’ level maths and physics since they left school has clearly never done any en­gi­neer­ing! I used a bit of ba­sic al­ge­bra to cal­cu­late the length of the new lever and the made it from some mild steel bar with a hack­saw and files. I then care­fully ground away the plat­ing from the area of the brake pedal where I needed to weld the new ac­tu­at­ing lever, as­sem­bled it all on the bike and tacked it in place. Once fully welded I re­turned the pedal to the bike and made a card­board tem­plate for the bracket re­quired to sup­port the mas­ter cylin­der so that the push rod would be at the cor­rect an­gle. I

made the bracket from more of my mild steel stock and then of­fered it up on the bike. Af­ter I es­tab­lished the cor­rect po­si­tion to al­low the full pis­ton range I tacked it in place be­fore dis­as­sem­bling it all again to fully weld it. I then turned my at­ten­tion to mak­ing a pedal re­turn spring. The orig­i­nal setup utilised a big curly spring that could be a pain to re­fit, but that was a non-starter for this bike, so I made an­other small lever which I welded to the brake pedal for a spring. I ma­chined up a spring at­tach­ment post on the lathe. Us­ing a cou­ple of ca­ble ties I set up the per­fect spring for the job and was able to mark on the frame the per­fect po­si­tion for the frame spring at­tach­ment and then welded it in place as you can see in the pho­tos. The last bit was to make an ex­ten­sion to the orig­i­nal pedal stop be­cause the lever wasn’t in quite the same po­si­tion any more. Now that the rear brake sys­tem was fin­ished, I hung the rear caliper bracket from the wheel spin­dle in the swingarm slot so that I could fit the brake torque arm in its work­ing po­si­tion. At this stage I was able to see how much room was left for me to fit an ex­haust si­lencer bracket. It wasn’t ter­ri­bly straight­for­ward to say the least, but I de­cided to make it out of 3mm alu­minium plate and some bits of alu­minium al­loy ex­tru­sion I had in stock. I was tempted by stain­less as it’s eas­ier to weld, but it’s far more dif­fi­cult to cut and shape. An­other bonus of alu­minium al­loy is that it keeps the weight down. I don’t find alu­minium weld­ing par­tic­u­larly easy at the best of times, but in such a re­stricted space it was di­a­bol­i­cal! Once fet­tled and ap­proved I gave it a good pol­ish and it looked fine and was strong and didn’t foul any­thing. Next time: oil cooler!

Lift­ing ac­ces­sory for my bike bench – crack­ing piece of kit!

The ex­haust in place from the rear. Clever how the bike can le­vi­tate just from my power of thought!

The Delke­vic ex­haust from the right-hand side.

Us­ing my spring com­pres­sor to re­move the big spring.

Look mum – no hands!

The stock Suzuki shock with the spring re­moved – not a pretty sight.

Mak­ing a brake pivot, with an alu­minium but­ton made on my lathe.

The bot­tom of the shock with the nicely pol­ished alu­minium sus­pen­sion link­age.

The lovely new YSS shock in place.

The bracket to sup­port the brake pivot welded to the frame.

The spring hanger welded to the frame.

Alu­minium si­lencer bracket fab­ri­cated and in po­si­tion.

Of­fer­ing up the mas­ter cylin­der with its new bracket to es­tab­lish where to weld the bracket on the frame.

New ac­tu­at­ing lever welded to the mod­i­fied stock brake pedal.

A mock-up with ca­ble ties to cal­cu­late where to at­tach the spring hanger.

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