Subscribe to RSS feed




Project X – part 1

Unlike some decisions this one didn't come out of a pint of John Smiths.  To be fair I am not exactly sure where it came from!

Saturday 21st January sees us on the M62 in Penso's van heading to DK Breakers in Staffordshire.  James had been bidding on some H1 parts, won an engine and frame and I decided to tag along and see what deal could be done for buying two.

DK had taken delivery of a container full of H1s and H2s from the States four weeks earlier.  The H2 stuff whistled out of the door in double quick time and the H1 items are not far behind.  We are greeted by the sight of a number of complete bikes in various states in the showroom, rolling chassis leant against each other downstairs and a pile of engines in a dark draughty corner of varying age, condition and completness.

Having sat down and worked out what we wanted, we decided the way forward was to buy only what we needed off the H1s rather than complete bikes, so, frame, engine, tank, seat, panels and tailpiece, the rest of the bike is going to be updated.

These triple Kawasaki's developed a bit of a reputation back in the day with a combination of raw power and poor handling.  Emissions eventually saw off the 2 stroke engine, which is a shame as the power and character of these motors is bordering on legendary.  Some hours later we leave DK lighter in pocket with a van full of spares, both wondering what we have let ourselves in for.

For my part I have a H1E motor believed to be around 1974 in vintage, it's one of the later rubber mounted models that should dampen out  some of the vibration developed by a 60 horsepower 500cc triple.

We've taken some measurements from a standard bike in the showroom so we know fork  and swing arm lengths, we have swapped some emails with Nigel from NK Racing with a view to him undertaking the work to graft on some modern suspension to improve the handling and braking.

My engine is seized and on arrival home we quickly attack it with a hammer and a block of wood.  We are pretty sure it's a seizure from standing idle rather than being thrashed down the road and a full on mechanical.  The question is how long it's been standing and in what conditions, a mixture of oil and water from an upside down engine does not bode well.

Thirty minurtes later we havea broken fin off the centre pot and three pistons poking out of dirt crankcases

A recent article in one of the magazines reveals Mick Abbey a 2 stroke tuner and exhaust fabricator of note lives close by in Harrogate, contact made, we agree to head up to see him and talk engines.

A visit to NK at the beginning of Febraury confirms the work can be done with almost anything that can be made to fit but if we adopt some parameters when sourcing parts we can make life much easier.  The design of the H1 frame and position of the swing arm pivot rules out any swing arm with bracing or a super structure. 

Ebay sources a combination of ZXR and Ducati forks wheels and brakes and visit to Spares Unlimited in Hull with one of the frames to use as a template confirms that a GSXR 400 swing arm fits, they only have one though, returning home James finds one on ebay and that bought we both have pretty much everything we need for the rolling chassis.

Mick Abbey soon proves himself to be the man to trust with our engines, a visit earlier in the week sees us talking through the work we want doing and the expansion chambers we want fabricating.

With all the parts sourced that we need so far our next step will be taking an assorted pile of parts to NK for Nigel to work his magic and turn into rolling chassis……………… to be continued.