It has been a long time since we have done a restoration project and prices have changed a the wrong direction of course......... BUT.............

We have bought a US import 1975 Z1-B off Rick Brett for £4,500.  It feels like a lot of money, more than twice what we normally pay for a donor bike, but it is a very good example with low mileage and very little wear and is virtually complete, it even had the original tool kit.  

It has now been pulled to bits - the frame is away at our good friend Roger, to put it in his jig to make sure that it is straight. You can't be too sure, even if it has not been dropped in the last 40 years, I am not sure that they were all true off the production line anyway... The engine and other alloy bits are with Steve Smethurst to be cleaned and polished.

We already sent the clocks to Alistair Marshal (01827 63328) to be refurbished and have got them back already. Excellent job of course...

It is more expensive than buying our replica clocks (Tacho) (Speedo)but thought it worth keeping the ND on the bottom of the dial for the Z1B.  Always worth using a fitting kit though (fitting kit)

Next decision is what to do with the wheel rims.  We have now got our Z1/Z900 wheel rims in stock which are finished (triple chromed etc) in the UK and don't have any markings stamped on them but the original Takasako date stamped rims are in very good condition. 

After much deliberation, we have bitten the bullet and re-chromed the rims in an attempt to keep the bike as authentic as possible. The original date stamps matter very much these days...The original rubber will have to be replaced, but again, we will need to decide whether to go for some modern rubber (that works) or go for the original look with our original Dunlop Gold Seal tyres (Dunlop tyres)

When the frame comes back from straightening, blasting and powder coating, I will start to log the progress on the build. Please keep coming back and checking up on it....


We got news today that the rims are ready for collection, so we can get on with rebuilding the wheels soon...

We got the engine back from Steve Smethurst this week (Monday 21st Aug)  - so the bottom end can go back together (I cant remember the last time I saw one this clean)

Dave - trying to remember just how many of these he has done (he has lost count)  - putting the finishing touches to it.

Tues 22nd Aug - With the frame also back we can get it ready for the engine with all the original re-zinc plated nuts and bolts.  With getting it ready for the Stafford show in mind, and to speed up the rebuild (and keep the lifting to a minimum at our age) we put the bottom end in the frame and carry on putting the rest of the bike together.  For me - it beats lowering the frame over a complete rebuilt engine.

Not bad - we got all the bits back on Tuesday - by close of play Weds it is beginning to take shape.  So  much more fun putting it all back together - and much cleaner.  The bike ran fine before we took it to bits and, given its low mileage and in the spirit of keeping it as original as is practical, the factory fitted, original grey coils have gone back on - if you look closely you may still see the 1 to 4 number clips on the leads.  We have some of the metal plug caps lined up to replace the ones currently fitted. 

You cant see it, but it also still has the original 3 locks all operated by the one Kawasaki key

In the same vain, the original electrical components have gone back on the bike also (they will be tested to make sure that they still work OK).

Thurs 24th - Colin Smith (our wheel builder) has taken them away, remembered to take a photo of them before they went - nice re-chroming Sean.

Thought it worth getting everything else ready to go back on - so it is all been cleaned just to show how complete the bike is, worth showing what was in the tool bag - even the feeler gauges are still there.

Phil has taken a couple of days leave, so we have raided the parts bins (good job he doesn't read this blog !) and made some real progress.  When we get the wheels back from Colin and the barrels and Head back from Engine Tekniks [in Westhoughton - 01942 840818]  (Paul honing the barrels and checking out the head/valve guides).  

Phil is now trying to carry higher stock levels to avoid keeping people waiting; this was a good test and we have got all of the bits we needed in stock.

We are well on course for getting it done for the Stafford Show, bit worried that the paint set wont arrive in time from Japan so we asked Andy from Dream Machine to drop in tomorrow (25th Aug) to pick up the original paint set to put it back to a blue Z1-B colour scheme for us.  It is all in good condition, much better than the usual stuff we give him.

We have decided to go for a double disk set up, our replacement twin disk brake splitter is already on (brake junction), all of the other bits needed for the double disk set up are in stock ready to go on when the wheel is back.  We usually have the double disk kit in stock (double disk).  Most people want to replace the existing disk and caliper to avoid it looking a bit odd; if you want to keep your existing disk/caliper drop us a line and we can give you a price.  Sadly - disks and calipers are only available for the Z1/Z1a/Z1b and the triples.  You cant get them for the Z900 A4 and the Z1000s  that followed.  The calipers don't fit and they reduced the number of holes to fit the disk on the wheel hub.

We are just being held up by not having any fork oil in - we don't stock it......  The front end can be completed once the oil is in the forks and the new fork tops tightened down.

Four days after getting the bits back, and just working on it a few hours each day (after the phone stops ringing) the bike is beginning to look like a Z1b again.

We are torn between using our Z-Power replacement parts and sticking to the original bits.  Things like the wiring loom (Z1 loom), rear shocks (shocks) just aren't worth the risk of using 40 years old bits.  Other parts, like the grab rail (grab rail), mud guards (rear fender) (front fender), rear brake pedal (pedal), headlight brackets (right) (left) the replica parts are so close to the original it is not worth the cost of re-chroming.  Forty year old rubbers are usually rather perished and replacing them is the best option (rear fender kit) (rear light) (electric plate)  (headlight)  (footrest)  - one of the joys of restoring a Z1 is that nearly all of the parts are still available.  Make sure that you look out for our kits - it is cheaper than buying them individually.  

There are some bits that are still available from Kawasaki that you may not expect, like the indicator lenses (lens) tail light lens (tail light) that are worth fitting if you want it to stand out; especially if you are going to show the bike - the markings on the lenses are easy to spot as original parts by the judges......

One of the reasons for doing the restoration is to use our parts and get first hand experience of making sure that they work, so we do tend to lean in that direction more than some of the professional restorers out there (if you don't feel up to doing this yourself and want a restoration - call Pete Brown - 07932 931340). If he is too busy, drop us a line, there are a few other people out there we a re happy to recommend. I am keeping an account of all of the bits that we have taken out of stock - I will have to confess to Phil at some point. When we have finished I will load up the list to the blog so you can see what it costs to do a rebuild like this.  Bearing in mind the good condition of this bike - it will be cheaper than most - all the engine internals (idlers etc) were in good condition and saved a lot of cost.

The swinging arm and fittings are now in. As with many of the bolts, the rear shock bolts (rear shock bolts) are new.  We get them all zinc plated but if someone has been heavy handed with the spanner and chewed them up, they just don't look the part.  The chrome ones on the front yokes are also a must to replace and relatively inexpensive bottom yoke bolt set   top yoke pinch bolts top yoke bolt set top yoke cable guides . Again, the beauty of the old z900/1000 is that we do most of the bolts for them.

Most of this is the original stuff on the rear wheel has been re-zinc plated, except the brake rod.  Even though the original is in good condition, we have used one of our patent brake rod assembly kits (Brake Rod), the housings for the rod are alloy and the zinc plating process "eats" them.  

Dave has left a tip for cleaning up the bits that go back on - we must have got through a dozen tins of brake cleaner at least.

Another testament to how good the bike was, the original oil pressure rubber cover has cleaned up a treat.


The alternator cover has been sealed up and we have put a standard gasket on it.  We use our gasket sets for all of the other gaskets but splash out on a genuine Kawasaki one for this - it is always a favorite place for an oil leak and some good quality oil based silicone on the rubber and the genuine gasket give you the best chance of getting a good seal.  We have put one one of our new alternator covers; they don't come with the black on them so another tip from Dave is to use a tyre pen to colour it it.

Now just need the wheels back in,  the top end on and the paint back and we are ready for the show - not bad for a week's work.

Into Sept now - the wheels are back and ready to go on.  Rebuilt with our aftermarket spokes [Spoke set]

The Head is back from Engine Tekniks, it is very low millage (you can see - it looks mint) but Paul still considered that 4 of the valve guides needed sleeving.  Always worth checking, if it is going to smoke, the valve guides are the most likely cause. Paul (being the perfectionist that he is) also insisted on removing any marks from the face of the head with a light grind and seated the valves for us.  He checked that all of the valves were within tolerance and declared that 2 of the inlets were slightly bent.  Just a little alarming - the bike ran fine before we took it to bits but it just goes to show that it is worth checking these things.  Two new inlet valves get added to the cost of the rebuilt. 

The barrels were well within tolerance and have just been honed.

Steve Smethurst had the rear brake hub polished up for us, the lever, we had re-chromed; the decal from our set [warning decal set]  adds the finishing touch

It is nice when the shiny bits start going back on; must admit that the starter motor cover is the original one polished up, not one of replica parts (we sell lots of these - they are not worth re-chroming)  [starter motor cover], but we fitted a new rubber gasket [starter motor gasket]. 40 year old rubber doesn't work so well

The rebuilt wheels have had our original tyres fitted [dunlop tyres] and new chain and sprockets

And the twin disk set up is all fitted

Dave always prefers to set the valve clearances up on the bench; starting with a set of 8 200 shims you can work out what is required to get the clearances right and then put the correct shims in.  It is the "just" a case of bolting it all back together.

With it bolted on it just needs timing up.  As said earlier, we have used a set of out patent metal plug caps to keep it looking as original as possible, they are on offer at present [Metal plug caps]

Cam chain timing set - it all turns over so engine done.  We considered using our replacement carb clamps ([small clamps]  [big clamps], but the original ones were in good condition and Pete Brown gets them zinc plated olive (like the original ones were) - it does set it off nicely.  Just got to put the carbs in now - never a nice job but easier than it is on the A4/Z1000.

It is now beginning to look like a bike again.  Just carbs, exhaust and the paint set to go.  You just know that the carbs are going to be a problem - they always are.  Normally we send them away for a complete restoration, Paul Benton has done the last few sets for us.  This time, the carbs are in such good condition we have just cleaned them up, replaced the bowl gaskets (Float Bowl Gasket) with our patent ones (they are half the price of the genuine ones). 

Fingers crossed for when we fuel it up......

With the pipes (Z900 replica exhaust system)  on  is is now very nearly complete - just waiting for the paint set and the seat.

The seats are back it stock - not often we run out (Z1 seat) (note - it is different to the one on the 1975 Z900 A4) (Z900A4/Z1000 seat)

The brackets were all there for the steering damper (steering damper) so it seemed a shame not to fit one (although I am sure that it will not need one with the taper head bearings)

The paint set is back from Dream Machine - mint as ever. The bike is now all back in one piece.  It started on the first press of the starter (always a relief) but is clearly running on the rich side so now just need to put the colour tune on it and adjust the air screws.  

We will be taking it to The Stafford show if you want to see it (and make us an offer???)

I will add up what the entire project has cost and put it on the blog just for the interest of anyone that is thinking of doing one, or buying one that has been done. 

Well we added it up - most sobering, not much change out of £11k.  We took the bike to Stafford.

Lots of interest; but someone saw it on the web site and offered the full asking price. We may start another one soon.......