For those of you who follow us, you’ll know that we picked up a unicorn back in July 2020. For those of you who don’t follow us, the unicorn I speak of is an ultra rare, grey market import 1992 Yamaha TZR250RS. A scant 1000 of these left the factory in 92 and only a few have made it to these shores. And yes, we have our hands on one of them for restoration. The US stopped allowing the import of two stroke motorcycles in 1985 with the Yamaha RZ350. The RZ was and is a cool bike for sure, and it has quite the cult following. But in our opinion it doesn’t hold a candle to the TZR which is a street legal replica of John Kosinski’s 1990 250cc Moto GP championship winning racing machine. When we acquired our TZR it was it pretty good condition, although it was covered in light oxidization and didn’t run. Someone had wired the headlight switch to function as a kill switch, some form of anti-theft system we suppose. In addition, the previous owner tried to clean the carbs and mixed up the main jets when reassembling them making the bike run horribly once we got it started. Turns out he two carbs run different sized mains.
After several hours messing with the jetting we got the bike to run pretty well but Japanese market bikes are limited to 45hp and the CDI box killed spark at 9,000 rpm, red line is 11,000 rpm. It’s pretty frustrating when the bike falls flat at WOT when the power should just be hitting. We had to get the bike to rev to 11 grand. The easy answer is replacing the box with an after market, Zeeltronic unit. All it takes is a handful of dollars and you can rev as high as you like! While we were at it we installed a fresh set of rings and honed the cylinders. We also passed the engine parts through the bead blast machine to refresh the finish. You might be wondering, what good is having super clean engine parts with nasty nuts and bolts? We re-plated the nuts and bolts and any associated hardware making the engine look factory fresh.
The 280mm front brake discs were showing signs of wear and were slightly warped. We replaced them with a set of aftermarket hoops measuring 320mm. The larger discs required an adapter, which we had made for us. While we had the brake system apart we disassembled the calipers, rebuilt them and covered them in slate blue Cerakote. We updated the brake master with a 19mm radial unit and finished off the brake system with Venhill lines front and rear. The wheels went out for powder coat and Michelin 2ct’s were installed for road use. As much fun as the TZR would be on the track, the thought of a possible crash would take all the joy out of any riding which is the reason we opted for Michelin’s. We rounded of the Cerakote with the upper triple clamp and clip on handlebars. The last thing was repainting the OEM exhaust which will eventually be replaced with a stainless set.
If you are in the area, this bike is worth checking out, pop in and say hi!
We got out in the cold last week with two bikes, a Yamaha TX650 and a Honda CB350. We also brought Harley along who was a total trooper! It was cold, cold, cold, and she endured it for an hour and two out fit changes. To see all the photos from our shoot go here moto-photo.smugmug.com/Bikes-with-Babes below are a few of our favs.
How many times have you wanted something but couldn’t quite bring everything together to make it happen? Somehow, some way the timing was just, off. It could be either not enough funds or not enough time. Or maybe it’s something as random as the planets are not in alignment. Whatever it is, the gears just aren’t meshing. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and he told me he finally has the money to do what he wanted and actually has the time, but now that these two have come into alignment, his body isn’t cooperating. He’s got Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s a shyte thing, getting old…
On another occasion I had a bright young fellow, who was still in college, drive an hour and a half to come into the shop. He was well dressed and had obviously put some thought and money into his “look”. He came in to follow up to an email he had written to us regarding a project he was working on. He paid some dude a small pile of money to do a bunch of work on a cafe bike he had. He had seen several great looking café builds on Pintrest and figured he could pay someone to build one for him. It makes sense, we do it all the time. He got the completed bike back from the builder and was less than pleased with the final product and was hoping we could get the train wreck that was sitting sheepishly in the back of his truck, back on track. What he had was champagne taste and a beer budget and the bike reflected this. In his defense, the bike was pretty rough and none of the paint appeared to be chemical resistant. It looked as if the builder threw a few café parts on it, did some really sloppy welding with a Harbor Freight wire feed welder and after a quick rattle can paint job, stood 20 feet away from it and said “awesome, I’m done”. Clearly what he thought he was going to get and what he got were two completely different things.
Another example of this for me, is having to rely on vendors to be able to deliver our product or complete a task. On three occasions this past month we have had vendors not live up to the promise they’ve made regarding delivery which puts us in a crappy situation of having to back peddle. What makes matters worse is they all kept saying they will get to it. On multiple occasions each would apologize and tell me they will have it finished next week. So I tell my client we need just a little more time. I drives me crazy and makes me want to be able to do these things in house. I absolutely hate having to make excuses and explain to a client why their bike isn’t finished, most people are understanding and making a phone call to communicate the situation helps but I never enjoy it. It’s absolutely shocking to me that these vendors are able to keep their doors open with such awful delivery and communication skills. Needless to say we have found other vendors for the services these dip shits provide.
The crazy thing is, at some point we must to be able to have hope for things to go our way. Without hope we would never be able to begin anything. Can you imagine starting a task thinking it will never work out? Henry Ford wrote “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” I like this quote. I say, expectation can be a good thing as long as the only person you hold in the light is yourself. The moment you project expectations outward you are opening the door for some sort of B.S. and possibly failure. Unless communication is crystal clear about what your expectations are chances are under delivery will usually be the final result. The trouble with this kind of communication is it makes most people really uncomfortable. What we have to remember is we cannot do it all alone. We have to be able to rely on others for growth. The trick is finding the right people and trusting that they will do what they say they will.
I say don’t under deliver, stand for something, set the bar high and don’t settle for anything less than what you expect.
We have been working on our ability to take our restoration of carburetors to the next level when doing a carb service and a I think we have it worked out. Take a look at the carb bridge from a CB750K we just finished. They came to us really fury with nearly all the factory finish corroded to the bare metal. We re-plated the bridge and all the surrounding parts with the appropriate color chromate giving these carbs a brand new appearance. It’s not cheap, but if you are doing a serious restoration, you’ll be really pleased with the results. Just take a look at the before and after photos.
This week we have the pleasure of working on a very special bike, a 1999 Aprilia RS250, yes it’s a two stroke. And yesterday we organized another photo shoot with Harley, it was our second one with her. She is so easy to shoot and we get along with her well. And well, let’s just admit it, she’s easy on the eyes! The bike is pretty sweet too. One of these days there will be motorcycle events to go to and perhaps you will be able to meet her in person. Here is a few photos from the group. For more go to the moto-photo site at www.moto-photo.smugmug.com
Check this. We are working on a 1973 Yamaha TX650, similar to the XS650, one of the things we are doing a carburetor service and one of the carbs has some issues. The posts that hold the float pin have completely dissolved! Some really ugly shit going on here. If you haven’t heard us talk about it before, stay away from fuel that has any amount of Ethanol. Ethanol is not your friend and it will corrode aluminum! This LINK will take you to the Pure Gas site, get the app on your phone!
I’m at SoMoto bike night at Baxter Village in Fort Mill, SC with Blair B. showing the BBCB550 we had recently finished. Blair and I had just arrived, he was on his CB550 and I was on the ’86 FZ600. The ride in was great, the weather was perfect and Blair’s bike looked and sounded absolutely amazing moving down the road. We need to photograph that bike in motion.
As soon as we pulled up Blair was mobbed with questions about his bike. It was cool to see Blair glowing as he went over all the details of the Motogadget M-Unit, taking the seat cowl off to show the Unit and the beautiful wiring Jesse did. I watched for a bit then went inside Grapevine Wine Shop to buy us a couple beers. By the time I had our drinks, Blair came in saying there was a guy who wanted to do a restoration on an old Kawasaki and he would introduce me.
The guys name is Tim Arnold and he had an ’81 GPZ550. After telling me about it and what he thought it might need, I suggested a restoration which might run in the neighborhood of 5K. He said he’d rather sell it. He had it listed on facebook and was tired of lowball offers asking him to deliver it for free. I suggested he donate it to Gaston Motorcycle Werks and we could do a build on it. Without hesitation he said yes. Here is the bike as we picked it up, it was pretty rough. We will have a photo gallery in the next post.
Here is a shot of the direction we are going. The seat will not have the bump.