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Kawasaki Cafe Racer on a Budget part 9

The ninth instalment of my first cafe racer project on a budget.

First Road Test!

I took delivery of my original 1981 Kawasaki Z750 on Friday 23rd February 2018 and 181 days later on 17th August 2018 I took out my first custom built Cafe Racer for its road test.

Being my first bike-build project, my main goal was to build a bike which looks aesthetically pleasing to me and hopefully appreciated by others too. Equally I wanted to keep the cost of the build as low as possible without compromising safety. If you have been following the build you will know it has not all been plain sailing. Some jobs turned out to be easier than I had expected while others were either tedious or down right frustrating. Bleeding the front brake is a great example of frustration and is still on-going. However, the end result of the build has made it all worth while for me.

Transformation took 181 days including four weeks when I was unable to do any work whilst I was away

Since I swapped the carburettors and sorted out the electrical connection to one of the coils, the bike has been running reasonably well. I still need to get the carbs properly balanced and as my Dynojet Kit didn't fit some re-jetting may still be necessary.

To give a quick update on the brake bleeding saga. I replaced the original 1 into 2 brake lines with two new braided stainless steel brake lines and I finally fitted new brake pads even though the existing pads had plenty of wear left in them. So another another £100+ spent and I still have a soft brake lever action. If I can't resolve it I'm planning to swap the budget master cylinder for one off a similar size bike and see if that makes a difference.

One thing I wasn't so happy about is that the new exhaust doesn't fit up snuggly under the engine. I contacted the manufacturer, Delkavic, who explained their downpipes are generic to several Kawasaki models and therefore slightly longer than really necessary for the Z750. I managed to make a small improvement by slackening off the headers and swinging the pipes slightly to the right. By increasing the angle it had the effect of shortening the drop and I was able to relocate the silencer higher up the rear mounting bracket. In future I may get the downpipes shortened slightly to further improve the look and increase the ground clearance.

First test ride. Sorry about the low quality video

When I made the new wiring harness I had included the feed to the oil pressure warning light but for some reason I hadn't bothered to figure out where the sender switch was located and therefore never got round to connecting it. A quick look in the Haynes manual showed me exactly where it is located and the blue-red wire that I needed to connect to. Alas the pressure switch doesn't appear to do what it is supposed to, i.e. provide an earth when there is insufficient oil pressure. To be on the safe side I ordered a replacement switch once I had checked everything else in circuit is working.

Getting carried away with photo editing apps on my phone!

Near the start of the project I placed an order for the new headlight which has integral LED indicators. For just £19 I was prepared to give it a try and in fairness it does everything it is meant to but what I discovered is that there is too much heat from the standard bulb and it has already caused the plastic reflector to distort. Almost four months after buying the headlight I decided to get in contact with the seller, explaining that I have only just started using the bike and would like a replacement if possible. The seller immediately offered to send a replacement if I pay $3.89 shipping from China, which I agreed to. I plan to try using a cooler LED bulb instead and for now I have disconnected the headlight bulb.

Jobs still outstanding include, getting the carbs balanced, making a chain-guard and finally sorting out those infuriating front brakes.

Parked up in my garden. My Bonneville Salt Flats wall art is finally put to good use.

Itemised budget

I've been tracking the cost of the build for most of the items I've purchased. There are some parts which I haven't used and if I'm lucky I will sell these on. I was very fortunate to be offered the donor bike at a very reasonable price. So the final cost works out at about £2,300 or roughly $3,000.

Monthly expenditure

Part 10 will feature a video and a full road test review as well as some more photos of me out and about riding my Z750 creation. Thanks for following.

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