Tag Archives: Project

It’s a Girl!


I would like to introduce the newest member of my family: Gertrude.

This post is probably a month too late, but better late than never…especially when bragging.

The bike was basically done, but I had a massive leak coming from the second carb. It was just pouring out when I tried starting the bike up, but I couldn’t take the carb rack off myself to check it out, because I would never get it back on.

The steps I took to get the rack on the first time:

  1. Slide rack in at an angle and align with boots from engine.
  2. Try to turn and snap carbs into intakes from the airbox. 
  3. Pull rack back out.
  4. Try to condition rubber intakes.
  5. Slide rack in at an angle and align with boots from engine.
  6. Apply vaseline to intakes.
  7. Try to turn and snap carbs into intakes from the airbox. 
  8. Pull rack back out.
  9. Switch out airbox.
  10. Get neighbor to help.
  11. Take air intakes out from inside.
  12. Boil water.
  13. Drop one intake in boiling water while going back to bike.
  14. Have neighbor hold carb rack.
  15. Vaseline carb three.
  16. Pull out boiling intake (with tongs) and apply vaseline.
  17. Push intake through the inbox.
  18. Push even harder to get the intake to wrap around the carb opening.
  19. Use a screwdriver from the inside to get the rubber to fit right (there’s a joke in there somewhere).
  20. Thank neighbor and give a beer.
  21. Repeat steps 12 to 19 for the remainder of the carbs.

Since I had moved, I couldn’t reliably get the hot water down to the bike in time to make the rubber pliable. I resigned myself to failure on this one, and took the bike to the salvage yard.

No, not to sell. I don’t give up THAT easily.

The guys there build a bunch of KZs, and could put new tires on for me. I wanted them to go over her, put on new shoes, and give me an idea of common problems my bike will have.

I called them one day to check in:
Dean: She works great! Working perfectly. You wanna know what the problem was?
Me: …No.

That ate away at me, of course. So when I went to pick her up, I said, “Okay…I need to know. What was the problem?” Dean told me, “You put in the float for carb two upside down…which is funny, because usually when people put floats in wrong, they put all four in wrong.”

SONOFABITCH! I could have been the one to kick her over first!

We did an exchange of my left over parts for labor and the tires, and I was on my merry way.

Putting her away, she whispered her name to me. She will henceforth be known as Gertrude. Trudy when she’s cooperating.

Here’s a blurry picture of me and my baby girl the night I brought her home:





After not all that much searching, we found a garage that will be ideal for working on our bikes. Before, we were working on it in the street, and only during daylight hours.

This move will be pivotal for the following reasons:

  • No more cars parking right next to where we’re working. That four inches of space was not conducive to squatting.
  • No more kids playing with our rides.
  • No more packing up all the tools and parts to test-ride.
  • No more packing up all the tools and parts to go inside.
  • No more quitting because of the dark.

Time to get the hell outta the “motorcycle room” upstairs, and time to move to our garage…like big kids!


The Pine Sol Method

Did you know: Pine Sol can be used for nearly any task you can think of?

  1. DIY pregnancy test
  2. Bear deterrent 
  3. Carburetor cleaner

I was looking for an effective and cheap way to clean all the gunk off my carbs. During my quest for more knowledge, I repeatedly ran across the Pine Sol method. There were many posts praising the method, and many others lamenting that the Pine Sol ate their carbs out. Probably shouldn’t let those bad boys soak for four days without checking on them, though.

I‘ve been taking my carbs apart and soaking them in Pine Sol for an hour or two at a time before brushing them off with toothbrushes and resubmerging. They’re looking beautiful. Side-by-side pictures will be up soon.

Now to find more applications for Pine Sol.

Seat Inspriations

Was just checking out some of my seat-replacement options and came across a lot of people building their own seats on the cheap! I certainly don’t want to drop $200+ on a seat, but it might be worth it to save my bum.

I am not really looking to do a cafe racer with my bike. But I love the idea of being able to build my own seat. And now that he’s put it in my mind, I’d like to avoid what Charlie likes to call “poop butt” (that protruding back fairing).

Commenters on the video have a great point in that the battery won’t be hidden, which somewhat defeats the purpose of that particular design.

Any good ideas on where to get cheap, classic-looking seats? I’m looking for something brown that is good for urban riding AND can be used on longer 3-hour rides.

Under the Sea

Yesterday, Charlie and I spent a few quality hours with my boxes, frame, and the factory service manual for the KZ650. That shit was so dirty that I kept the bandage on my semi-healed second-degree burn (it looks way better today when I took this picture than it did yesterday). I have been kayaking in a ship graveyard, which is a tetanus paradise, but I was having NONE of this dust and grime.


At the end of the day, we were left with a sea of parts, but it seems that mostly everything is there. I am going to need new sprockets, a new front disk, a new break cylinder and lever, and new exhaust pipes.

The guy said everything was there, but clearly that was a farce! God knows what you have done, sir, and I will be avenged!!!! Have fun in hell, jerk:


That’s alright. I know a guy in Baltimore who has some exhaust pipes he can sell me for $60. It’s nice to have no degrees of separation.

That all being said, here’s a completely underwhelming picture of the insanity I will be enduring for the next several months. I’m sure we could turn this into a cute I SPY  book, but there are lights, a wiring harness, seat, break/clutch things, wheels, pegs, forks, shocks. Not pictured are my neat jars of ball bearings and my hell-tins of random bolts and washers.

The thing that gets us is the unopened air filter that is already wrecked simply from being too old. People are full of shit: age is defined by time and not state of mind…my air filter proves it!

Pandora’s Boxes

145 miles, 2 and a half hours, $16 in tolls, and one burrito bowl later, Charlie and I found ourselves in an oddly quaint and suburban town in New Jersey.


I remarked that Main Street reminded me of a gold rush town from home. I hoped there was a homemade fudge store, a kitchen supply shop, and a “general store.” Unfortunately, this is as close as I will get to a gold rush town this year.

We pulled up to the house I was directed to just as the bike’s owner rolled up. Timing is everything.

Dave opened the garage, and there was a frame, tank, and forks staring us in the face. He had several bike parts, and got this particular one from a gentleman who was going to restore it 20 years ago.

Turns out this bike had been apart for that long!

For the better part of my existence, this bike has been in pieces, just waiting to be restored to its former glory. What better candidate than a woman who wants big-kid Legos?

He and Charlie went through the boxes and miscellaneous parts. Everything seems to be in good condition, since it was all kept indoors for 20 years. A few things were missing, and we were able to bring the price down to accommodate that. All-in-all, once the parts are organized, I will be able to clean thoroughly, and have a nice bike to put together.

There are four incredibly unorganized boxes that I am absolutely dreading having to sift through. I wonder if there’s an app for that.

So now, it is in our extra room. Pandora’s boxes are just waiting to be opened and sifted through.

I will surely lose my mind.