…musings of one easily amused

1970 Kawasaki G3TR

My second winter project this year was another Craig’s list find.  While looking for parts for the SL 125 I spotted this ’70 G3TR.  I’m not really sure what caught my interest but when I saw it I had to have it.

It was a another basket case.  The previous owner had started a restore but lost interest in the project.  Lucky for me he was meticulous in keeping the bits and pieces together so reassembly was made much easier.  The cylinder was scored badly so it would need to be bored and I was going to have to locate a .50 over piston and ring set.  Ebay had plenty of options but I thought I would visit the local dealer instead to see what they might have.

Central Sports in Taftville, CT has been in business as long as I can remember.  The shop is currently in an old mill building positioned alongside the Shetucket River.  It has the feel of one of those old time shops that might just have parts for a machine that is close to 40 years old.  Better still, it’s a family run business that understands the sometimes illogical attachment some of us have for these old machines.  Darryl spent the better part of a Saturday morning with me pouring through old microfiche and manuals looking up part numbers, cross referencing and eventually locating the parts I needed.  Service like that is getting harder and harder to find. 

New clutch plates, connecting rod pin and bearing were in stock, believe it or not.  Darryl also located the oversize piston and ring set at another shop and had them shipped to his place.  A couple of weeks later I picked up the newly bored jug and the rest of the bits to complete the reassembly.

The only part that was missing from this bike was the battery cover.  I found one in Thailand (thank you eBay) and also ordered the metal decal that boasted 90/TR on the side.  Many, many hours were spent disassembling, cleaning and reassembling.  In the end, a very cool motorcycle emerged.

15 Responses

  1. Bert

    This was my first bike when I was 14. I lived on a farm in South Dakota and put 8000 miles on it in one summer on gravel roads. Me and my friends had an abandoned farm house for a clubhouse. I had so much fun on the G3TR.

    November 14, 2010 at 11:47 am

  2. I have a 1969 G3TR 90 that seized on me. I’m not sure how it happened. It had not been run for who knows how long by the time I found it.
    I just premixed the fuel and it started. It didn’t idle very well and then it just seized. Parts are hard to come by,what direction would you go in to rebuild the motor?
    Dennis

    January 7, 2011 at 12:30 am

  3. Tear it down and assess the damage. You’ve got nothing to lose now, right?

    Once you start buying parts you must realize you will more than likely never get your money back if you ever sell. If getting it to run so you can sell it is the goal you will probably do better to simply part it out.

    If, however, you’re putting it back together because you enjoy the process of restoring a classic to ridable condition, consider the money as the price to play. :-)

    January 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

  4. I want to restore it to ride it.At the present I don’t have a manual,so tearing into it will be a blind endeavor.At what point do you stop upgrading or replacing parts?It would be nice to hear it run again though.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  5. Well, I started by taking the head and cylinder off.The seize occured at the crank. I was told by someone that is quite familiar with vintage machines that it is done,not worth fixing.

    January 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

  6. Casey

    Hey I’m trying to also restore a G3TR but I can’t find a battery cover. Would you know where I could find one???

    November 21, 2011 at 2:31 am

  7. I found what I needed on Ebay. A little luck and lots of patience is all you need. Good Luck!

    November 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm

  8. Casey

    Do you have the part # for the rear pegs. I have one that I ride to school everyday. I love it!!

    February 12, 2012 at 3:07 am

  9. I just found one of these with a ceased engine. I was helping someone move and found it out back leaned up against a tree. Hasn’t run for years — anyway.. so excited!! I simply can’t believe it. I’ve been given this bike and it’s in great shape other than the engine. I’m not a mechanic and don’t know where to start. Whats the first step? Just start taking it apart? or Get a manual somehow? I’m a woodworker and looking forward to getting greasy for this beauty.

    Peace (-.-) Out,

    Bryan Bethel

    December 10, 2012 at 12:21 am

  10. I love stories like this but always wonder why I’ve never had such luck.

    The first step depends on it’s overall condition and what your goal is. If it’s complete (meaning all the pieces are still there and are free of hacksaw marks) then you might consider restoring it back to running condition. Do this only if you want a long-term project and don’t mind spending much more money that it’s worth. Engine parts are still floating around out there. Talk to a local bike shop, preferably one that’s been around a long time.

    If, on the other hand, it’s in rough shape you might consider parting it out. Parts such as those fenders, tank, seat and exhaust can fetch a good price.

    Good luck!

    -Gordon

    December 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  11. jeb

    i hav come across a bike this sytle 2 years ago,and have the motor missing and many other missing parts,its been a fun and somewhat expensive journey as you mentioned.looking good and still have many questions left un anserwed as to the exact style and make/model.1970 for sure g3tr,but exhaust styles are many differnt ones,chrome and black,street version with low fenders and then the more rugged rsaised frnt fenders look.enjoyed your story,thought of looking your nike repair guy up that you had mentioned.every time i find one item on e-bay another comes across cheaper and or closer.

    February 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  12. tony

    I was helping my neighbor move things out the back sheds..
    And found 4- 69′ 1-70 90tr’s
    He let me have’m for the help…
    In the boxes…I was surprised to find the holy grail….!

    Fresh from japans kawasaki shops…service manual..
    3 diffrent books on how to….do anything from teardowns…service..specs..so forth…

    Found out his son went to japan…as a rep to learn how to work on them….

    So far have gotten 2 running and driving…

    All originals….one is a prts bike…but complete..

    The old man told me his kids would reek havoc round the local air base…

    Im hoping to complete as many as possible….parts are avail…at
    Bikebandit.com..

    June 23, 2013 at 1:14 am

  13. Congrats! I’m still waiting to experience a “barn find”. Enjoy!

    July 2, 2013 at 10:23 am

  14. This was my first bike when I was 14 growing up in the Upper Peninsula of MI. Been looking for one for some time. Are you interested in selling? Strictly sentimental, would pay a very fair dollar.

    November 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  15. Hi Tony. I sold this gem to someone with the same story. It went to a good home. :)

    December 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

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