Kwak’s resurrection complete
From old and tired to mean and shiny green, the ZX-7R is now ready, and able, to rock
The end is so close I can taste it. After a somewhat traumatic resurrection the ZX lives once more. I’ve fitted the new radiator and battery, and for the first time since I’ve owned the thing finally heard it fire into life. It needed a few prods of the starter to get it going and it took a while to clear its throat but it now starts first time, every time.
A tank of fresh fuel will do it the world of good and I still need to balance the carbs (I’ll have to buy a new set of balancers as my old ones seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth), but that’s not a big job. I’ve had it up to temperature and cured a couple of leaks around the cooling system; it’s now mechanically good to go.
As with Jim’s YZF, the driveline on my ZX is in the latter stages of life. It’s folly to run any bike, never mind a 100bhp superbike, on shagged out sprockets and chain so I’ve junked what it came with in favour of a set of hard-anodised Renthal sprockets and a Tsubaki Alpha-xrg X-ring chain, all in at £133.92 from B&C Express.
I expected the front sprocket nut to fight me all the way when I came to remove it. But much to my surprise and relief, it didn’t. In fact it’s the first time a front sprocket hasn’t fought me like a bastard when I’ve come to take it off. The sprocket itself had just started to hook its teeth, so my decision to replace the lot was a good one – and an excuse to degrease the surrounding case. Fitting a chain without the right kit is just a disaster waiting to happen, so big thanks to Pete O’dell from The Motorcycle Works for the loan of his whale tool to fit the chain.
The easy to remove front sprocket was, as it turns out, indicative of my wider thoughts and discoveries about this bike. Despite the fact that it’s clearly been through the hands of at least one incompetent bodger, most of the key and important components have escaped his hand and are actually in decent fettle. I
braced myself for the six-pot Tokico calipers to be a grotty mess, with corroded pistons and bulging, failing seals, but no. They’re actually in really decent nick and only needed a thorough clean to be ready for new pads.
I’m trying something new with the brakes – new to me, anyway. I’ve long used EBC pads on my bikes. They worked well so I kept going back. But this time I’m fitting Brembos. It really hadn’t occurred to me that Brembo might actually produce pads for anything other than their own calipers, but it turns out they make them for loads of different bikes for both road and track.
Track pads sound great, but on the road you never get enough heat in them to feel the benefit. So I’ve gone for Brembo’s fast road/ trackday sintered pad (£94.03 from HPS), and they’re a lot more sophisticated than just abrasive material on a metal backing. They come with a rough, red coloured face that’s designed to prep the rotors for the pads’ true braking material underneath. Once in the calipers, the Brembo pads will be pushed onto the discs by Motul RBF660 fluid – a DOT4 with a higher than normal point of 325ºc (£20.00 for 500ml again from HPS), giving more consistent braking and less fade.
Hopefully next time I’ll be able to report how they perform.
DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT’S BEEN ON THE LEFT OLD ROD AND CRANKPIN – SCRAP. ON THE THROUGH THE HANDS RIGHT, THE FRESH STUFF OF AT LEAST ONE INCOMPETENT BODGER, MOST OF THE IMPORTANT COMPONENTS ARE IN DECENT FETTLE
Up and indeed running. Ready to hit the road
That’s £133.92 for the chain and sprocket kit
New chain and sprocket make old nut look vile
You don’t want to take chances with a spent chain and sprocket on a bike with100bhp at the wheel
Rear caliper was OK, pads too. Back on it goes
Rear sprocket carrier nuts came off easy enough
That’s one big, fat tyre ready for some grief
That’s much more like it. This bike will shine