What looked like a lightly damaged ZX-9R C2 turned out to be a squashed lemon, but it taught Neil and Woz the weird ways of the ZX-9R model range
Neil Thrupp and Warren ‘Woz’ Smart’s journey to multiple ZX-9R ownership and restoration all happened by accident.well, several accidents if truth be told. Kawasaki’s second generation 900cc bruiser hadn’t really been on either friend’s radar untilwoz bought a cheap yet tidy E1 model to save his beloved and much-modified Aprilia RSV Mille from getting eaten by salt during the colder months.
“I got the 9R as a winter hack; it wasn’t a lot – 1700 quid I think,” sayswoz. “It turned out to be better nick than expected, plus it came with a Laser pipe, Öhlins shock and a few extras. So as soon as I saw it, I thought ‘that’s coming home with me’.then I rode it and was like, ‘Whooooa’. It was proper fast. I’ve got a Ducati Multistrada as well that’s comfortable and quick, but I’ve ended up using the ZX way more so I’m thinking that the Duke may have to go.”
Whilewoz was chewing over whether to rehome his Italian oddball, he began filling his shed with unloved ZXS. In March last year a crash damaged C2 model came into Woz’s orbit. “I wasn’t really looking, it just popped up on the PB forum. For £420 I thought it was worth a punt as a track bike – I’d been buying up bodywork and parts anyway, plus I’ve got loads of end cans and stuff like that, so it looked like it’d be an easy fix.”
Mate Neil is a mechanic by trade, so Woz asked if he’d like to get involved with smartening up the old Kwak. Neil thinks it was a ruse all along. “He knew I wanted to get back on a bike – I sold my last one, an NC30, 15 years ago to buy a house, so I reckon it was his way to get us both riding again.”without too much persuasion Neil was in on the project. “If nothing else, I thought it’d keep us out of the pub…”
The crash damage looked light; a buckled front wheel, bent left fork, dented tank and a wiped-out fairing. “None of that mattered because it was going to get a daytime MOT at most,” explainswoz. Minimum spend was the backbone of the build, so the lads stripped away all the snapped, bent and damaged parts to assess what they’d need to buy, beg and borrow to get it back on its wheels.that’s where the trouble started.
If, likewoz and Neil – and the rest of us – you thought these ZXS were all essentially the same bike, tweaked and face-lifted here
Dean Harrison (left) and Phil Leeks. One of the and more there informal over rider/sponsor a five-year lifespan pairings you’d around be wrong.very wrong indeed.when the lads began to offer up seemingly identical parts