I have a 76' kz400 that I've been working on for the past few months, and I have a few questions, so I figured I would start a thread to get everyone's inputs since I saw a few other members here have kz.
So it started out with a good deal found on craigslist for $250 with a title. I wasnt really sure what I was gonna do with it when I bought it, but I quickly realized that I wanted to do a old school bobber style but on a cheap budget. This is the ugly thing that I started with.
started to strip it the first day that I got it.
got it down to just the essentials
at that point I was debating on what to do next. I considered just cutting the top tubs off and welding straight bars down to the sway bar to make a quick hardtail. So i decided to actually cut it up and make a real hardtail. Since I don't have access to a tubing bender or a mill to make the axle plates, I decided to spend the couple extra dollars and get the TC Bros hardtail kit.
The kit saved me a bunch of time as a first time builder as it took a couple variables out of my problem. I cleaned all the old tabs and bars off the main frame section
I don't have a jig, so I used the stock swing arm to keep everything square, I tack welded a piece of flat stock to the back of the original axle plates and c-clamped the new ones behind it.
After I got the lower bars welded on, I took out the swing arm as it was sturdy enough to keep everything aligned. I got a sportster tank mounted so I knew where about I wanted the seat. I wanted the seat as low as possible, so I kinda guesstimated where I wanted the top tubes to be.
here you can see how I cut the end of the tubes to be notched out for the axle plates, I'm not sure if this is the proper way to do it, but it seemed like the best way. I used a bandsaw to cut these out.
thats a hell of a good start. looks like its going to be an awsome sled.
I used a 110v welder, which is a little underpowered for this application, and I'm not the worlds greatest welder, but I think that I shouldn't have any problems with these welds.
I made a seat pan also. I just roughly sketched it out on a piece of thick paper then transferred it over to the steel. I put a little bend on it and used sbc valve springs and retainers for the springs. I used a heavy duty door hinge for the front hinge. Once i had an idea of what the seat was gonna look like, I was able to weld the top cross bar in.
I put the engine back in to mock the rest of the things up.
I covered the seat, although it isent fully finished. I used carpet foam stacked ontop of each other using spray glue in between. Than I used a belt sander to shape it the way i wanted it. I still need to put a cover on.
I am using an old ammunition box for the battery box, Its gonna be a little difficult to stuff everything in there, but I think I can get it to work. The rectifier will be bolted underneath the battery box so it won't overheat. I got a gold chain, cause I thought it looked neat. It's hard to see but I also made a license plate bracket with a small light above it. I got a older Harley headlight for the front too.
Here is how it sits now, I got a set of bars, but I'm not sure that these ones are low enough, but they will do for now. I ran it, but I really need to figure out some type of muffler set up because I don't think my neighbors like listening to it. I also need to finish wiring it up, get some type of air filter, a mini speedo.
That looks good. Seat is super low. How much did you stretch the rear end. I like the exhaust. Not a fan of the tank but thats just personal style.
You using the stock front fender for the rear fender? Its a good start. keep working and keep us posted.
Its stretched about 4", mainly because thats where the new axle plates butted with the old ones and it seemed like a good length.
I did flip the front fender around to the back, Its mounted at the cross bar under the seat and the lower cross bar. Its pretty sturdy and I don't think I will have any problems, I still need to cut off the old little taps which are at the top, but I was unsure how stable it was going to be so I temporary left them on just incase. I'll get a closer picture of my mounting later on.
I am really stuck on what I want to do with the exhaust. right now i just have the stock tubes coming down, but its way to loud and I need some type of muffler, and unsure if i want to do a 2 to 1, run them both ontop each other on one side, or one on each side.
really like the strance of this kawi... damn i need a good paying salary so i can stock my fleet.
looks good. I'm building my CM400 bobber right beside a 55 as well.
Looks killer!! Hopefully the IH won't shit itself this year and I can get started on my 400.
You gotta run some kind of exhaust. The pipes with no silencer will make it really hard to tune. I found that without a 2-1 and a silencer my bike had less power and bad compression. (I am not 100% on that because the headgasket was shot too but the exhaust work really helped it. ) Keep going. Great work so far. (I love these bikes)
I worked on it a little bit more today, I ordered a set of these muffler inserts to help keep it a little quiet. they are pretty cheap and should just slide into my header tubes.
Here is a picture of my license plate mount/taillight. you can also see how the rear fender is mounted. I will cut off those little tabs at the top later on.
I also played with my battery box a little bit, I might have better pictures tomorrow.
Looking good dude, I'm doin a 440ltd right now so this is good to see
Is this your first build? You're doing a hell of a job. I like how you mocked up and built your frame. Good idea on making sure to add the gussets where your tail section was welded to the cradle. At some point, if you can get that tank to sit lower, I think it would really flow well with your bike.
Last edited by Ember; 02-13-2011 at 2:04 AM.
I worked on it a little bit more today and was able to ride it up and down the street for the first time. I was surprised how well it ran. I still need to finish wiring the lights, but I got the box in with the battery and the ignition switch. Here is a picture from the end of the day
Ember- this is my first motorcycle build, but I also have a 69 Camaro that I resto-moded over the past couple years, so a motorcycle build is an easy transition.
Your bike looks awesome. Where in Pa are you? Also got any pics of your camaro? I have a 67 I've been building.
Looks great! Just a suggestion- I would cap the tubes on your tail section so water doesn't collect in there.
So, how'd you like the ride?
Found a great jet kit on eBay. The company completely customized my kit to fit what I'm doin to the bike, including alt
My ride up and down the street was pretty short as I still do not have my baffles set up yet and did not want to upset the neighbors too much. It felt pretty good for how short it was and didn't bog out or anything, but I'll look into seeing if I need to change the jets after I get the exhaust on and start riding it around.
Any good tips on how to cap off the ends of the tubes as mentioned? or should I just cut out some thick sheet metal circles and weld them on and grind?
Does anyone have a suggestion on what to use for a speedo? I want a mini pod speedo I suppose, but unsure on the ratio or where to get one.
I'll get more pictures and updates later, as I usually only get a chance to work on it every weekend or two. but here are a couple pictures of my Camaro, which is still kinda a work in progress.
A few steps later....
Last edited by fredd7924; 02-14-2011 at 6:39 PM.