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ValkBandit 08-06-2002 04:44 AM

well .... ????
what does it run in the quarter? inquiring minds want to know.

i have early recollections of riding the mach iii (500 cc) triple back in the 70s. i can remember it trying to tear my arms from their sockets, then giving me REAL big eyes when it got to the end of the straight and had to negotiate a turn. the most obscene combo of speed, wobbly steering ever built, IMHO.

rubin 08-06-2002 05:39 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
I'm in agony here. I love stories like this and I admire vintage bikes, but after two pretty negative experiences buying old Japanese iron on eBay, I'll leave it to those more adventurous or well-heeled. Both bikes were shipped from out of state, and neither one was as advertised. Both ads/owners said the bikes ran well, for example, but one didn't run at all, and the other ran but the compression was shot, making the bike essentially worthless.

I like Jason's approach, though - have a lot of money and pay someone who really knows what they're doing to do the restoration. Someday, maybe....

cmcclain 08-06-2002 05:47 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
Boy, does this bring back memories! I bought one of the 1st H1s in 1969 for $995 - Those were the days. The colors described are interesting, but to me, there'll only be one scheme forever, dark blue on white. But then I'm just a purist. I took more chances and had more fun on that bike than should be allowed in 3 lifetimes. I was just back from 'Nam, and a bit fatalistic, I suppose.

Last year, I got back into bikes after a 30 year hiatus since my H1. I now ride a V-Max. I know, It's old hat, but I think a classic is a classic, and, to me, that's more than half the fun of motorcycles.

Not that I'm unpatriotice, but both of these bikes were chosen to be amongst the 100 greatest of all time in the Gugenheim's "Art of the Motorcycle" exhibit which has been showing this past year at the Venetian in Vegas. I think it's still there, but it was one of the most interesting shows I've ever seen - Well worth the detour if you're anywhere within 1000 miles of sin city. One of their 12 GREAT posters is an H1, still available at their website -

Guess what colors their H1 sported?

seruzawa 08-06-2002 06:26 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
Darn! I thought sure Guggenheim'd have an SV650 poster too.

red-silver 08-06-2002 07:23 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
Are you nuts? As one of those guys from the "pre-plastic bike" crowd, I can tell these things had all the quality control of a cheap Chinese friction toy from Hong Kong, circa 1950!

Bad handling exagerated!? The noodle soft frames, over sprung & under damped suspension, combined with on/off horsepower (& plenty of it) always guaranteed an exiting ride!

At Laguna Seca (the pre-modified course) in the early 70's, I had a chance to watch the late Cal Rayborn on his HD vs Yvon DuHamel on one of these beasts. Coming up the back of the hill toward the corkscrew, the Harley was quick & deliberate with very little drama. Cal would brake, then left/right, gone. Then came DuHamel coming up the hill sounding like the banshee from hell- brake, bounce, slither, buck, left (near highside), right (near highside), throttle (banshee scream) wheelie, bounce, buck & gone (and 2 seconds a lap slower the undramatic Harley). What a show! Watching DuHamel was like watching the bronc riding event at a rodeo.

I was riding both Hondas and Yamahas at the time, the quality and engineering of these two makes, was setting new standards (at that time) for motorcyles.

Jimi_Dee 08-06-2002 07:25 AM

Re: well .... ????
That is what I remember from the two (1969 and 1970) 350s that I owned...instant-on speed and wobbly steering! I wrecked them both, as they had dramatic over-steer and would literally run you off the inside of the fast sweeper if you were not careful. Actually, one wreck was caused by leaving the side kickstand down after a gas stop on my way to Florida (from KY). It simply refused to go around the curve with the stand digging into the pavement, and then slamming us both into a bridge abutement. Those two stands were confusing at times. Dem were da' daze!

Jimi_Dee 08-06-2002 07:34 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
I think you can expect to have to go through any bike of this vintage, unless it is being sold as "restored". Low compression doesn't make a bike worthless, it just means that it needs rings and the cylinders honed. Two cycle rings do not last nearly as long as four cycle, but they are so easy to rebuild. In fact, 125 and 250GP racers often rebuild their top ends after each race. Maybe these bikes weren't in as bad of shape as you thought?

ARTBIZTOMMY 08-06-2002 08:18 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
whatever blows your skirt up, i say.....personally these two stroke kaws never did a thng for me and a restored one leaves me cold too.....maybe i'm just a 4 stroke kind of guy...last year at the auburn auction i saw a restored honda hawk that looked so perfect it just brought tears to my eyes. that was the first time i seriously considered that old japanese iron might be worth the restoration effort. now if i can just find one of those super sexy early katanas i might be ready to jump in the deep end.

jaycar 08-06-2002 08:31 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
Man, does that bring back memories.

Back in my pre-teen years of the early 70's, buying a magazine with an Kaw triple review in it was like Christmas. Riding my bicycle to the dealer to see one of these beasts in person... well, there was nothing better in life.

Oddly, i don't remember seeing many on the street, except for one time, which remains etched in memory. While riding my bicycle, a guy came around a corner on a blue H2, stood it on the back wheel and rode the wheelie for a city block.

Whoever you are, I want to say thanks. I still remember the rush of that moment 30+ years ago.

KPaulCook 08-06-2002 09:28 AM

Re: Restoration Without the Exploration
This is an excellent article. I admire the time, resources and effort it took to restore the bike. The results are fantastic. Being a younger guy, I had no idea that Kawasaki produced these things. This is a great history lesson to us younger motorcycle aficionados. As a fan of the simplicity and power of two strokes, the article was thoroughly entertaining to me. Thanks!

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