Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Know It ► Buy It ► Ride It ► Love It -


> H2s for all mar­kets are me­chan­i­cally iden­ti­cal, so the rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is the same. The dif­fer­ence is cos­metic – UK bikes have longer mud­guards (full chrome at the back), no pro­vi­sion for side-mount re­flec­tors, a re­place­able head­light bulb in­stead of a sealed unit, lower ’bars and a pil­lion strap on the seat. A UK bike is worth 15-20 per cent more than an im­port in the same con­di­tion.


> An­other fac­tor in value is the frame/ en­gine pair­ing. Al­though the chas­sis/en­gine num­bers don’t match like a Yamaha, a bike with a re­place­ment en­gine is worth up to £2500 less. A quick check is to see how the num­bers re­late – en­gines should be later, but within 200 num­bers of the frame. If you’re se­ri­ous about buy­ing, con­tact Rick Brett and his de­fin­i­tive H2 num­bers data­base.


> A cor­rectly-built en­gine should need no at­ten­tion for the sort of Sun­day use most H2s see. En­gines that have been ne­glected suf­fer seized bar­rels, so you’ll need to make a draw­plate to ex­ert gen­tle ten­sion to lift them in­tact. Make sure first gear doesn’t jump out – all the gears are up, so peo­ple ac­ci­den­tally go back to neu­tral, then crunch back up to first. Stronger clutch springs to re­duce slip, and an im­proved clutch lifter for ’72-’74 bikes (H2CS were up­rated as stan­dard) to re­place the weak orig­i­nal plas­tic worm gear is wise (see vin­ Woss­ner/wiseco pis­tons are avail­able up to a 2.5mm over­size, giv­ing 803cc.


> Much is avail­able to keep H2s on the roads now, and most of it is very good. Ex­hausts, gen­er­a­tor/oil pump cov­ers, discs and more are avail­able as re­pro­duc­tions. Sur­pris­ingly, gen­uine parts are still in good sup­ply in some ar­eas, but crash-vul­ner­a­ble parts (head­lamps, brack­ets, ped­als and ex­hausts) have dried up, so used parts are sought af­ter. A bike re­stored with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of re­pro parts is worth less to purists – up to 20 per cent de­pend­ing on the ex­tent.


> Stick with stan­dard tyre sizes and stock­length shocks to mim­imise high-speed weav­ing. Avon Road­rid­ers (as on our test bike) are good, but any­thing with a mod­ern de­sign is bet­ter than pe­riod tyres. Head­stock grease is of­ten hard­ened on im­ports and un­used bikes, cre­at­ing a notchy feel. A re­grease sorts it.


> Tanks last well, and are in­ter­change­able from 1972-1974, though the caps dif­fer. H2C tanks are unique, so sell for £300 used com­pared to £100-£150 for other mod­els. Side­panel lugs can break. Mud­guards aren’t avail­able, and replica seat bases made from the cor­rect steel are only avail­able for ’72/’73 bikes. In­cor­rect plas­tic repli­cas are sold for later bikes if you’re stuck.


> Usual blocked jets and pas­sages arise from long-term stor­age. Brass floats punc­ture and sink too. Oil check valves can fail – check the oil feed tubes for air bub­bles, and af­ter ex­tended in­ac­tiv­ity it’s wise to re­move the plugs and kick the mo­tor over to check the oil hasn’t drained into the cases ready to cause a cat­a­strophic hy­draulic lock. If you re­move the feed to check, you should be able to suck through the valve but not blow back. Fully-syn­thetic oil doesn’t burn well on the low-revving H2, es­pe­cially with gen­tler use. Semi-syn­thetic is fine for stock road bikes.


> Stock brakes are poor. Af­ter­mar­ket or cus­tom-fit op­tions are lim­ited only by your bud­get and en­gi­neer­ing skills. A dou­ble-disc op­tion was rare due to its cost – but Z-power of­fer a pat­tern sec­ond disc, caliper, hoses/ split­ter and mas­ter­cylin­der for £395. Well worth the in­vest­ment.


• Rick Brett – kawa­[email protected], 07970 120000. Any and all H2 knowl­edge, chas­sis/en­gine num­ber checks • Down­pipe3 Crankshafts – 07779 094462 or down­[email protected]­ Rick’s rec­om­mended triple crank spe­cial­ist • Vin­ – up­rated clutch lifter for H2, H2A and H2B mod­els • Kawasak­

Speedo isn’t al­ways to­tally hon­est

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