…musings of one easily amused


This one is a keeper

My search for a street legal, trail capable bike ended this Saturday.

I’d been looking for a bike I could ride up to Patchaug or enter into some organized dual sport rides.  Physically, this one was a bit of an eyesore.  Mechanically, it runs fantastic and sounds solid. 

I brought it home and immediately began my dissassembly and inspection routine. First order of business – a thorough cleaning.  This first bath is an excellent way to systematically inspect the bike tire to tire.

It quickly became obvious that most of the lighting had been stripped off at some point and later re-attached.  My first clue was the non-DOT flush mount signals mounted on the rear fender.  I removed the three feet of electrical tape wrapped around one of the signal supply wires to reveal the bare, thumb-twisted connection. This connection type seemed to be the method of choice from the previous owner.

I took all the plastic and headed upstairs to the tub with the full strength cleaner (my wife loves this part).  After an hour of scrubbing, the fenders and side covers were a “clean” dirty instead of a filthy dirty.  I would love to meet the decision maker that thought “White” is a good color for a dirt bike. 

Initial punch list :

Needs all new tank mount rubbers – most are missing and those that are there need replacing.
All turn indicators must be replaced.
Rear wheel bearings are shot.

I placed the order with BikeBandit on Monday, parts shipped today.

“It ran when I took it apart, and yes, I have all the pieces”

That’s the response I received when inquiring about my latest acquisition. 

Me – “Do you remember WHY you took it apart 10 years ago?”

Answer – “No, A buddy of mine took it apart.  We were going to rebuild it and
I never got around to it.  I have ALL the parts and its been sitting in my shed
for the past 10 years.”

These stories are rarely 100 percent accurate.  They may contain a few tidbits
of truth, like the part about “sitting in my shed for 10 years” but beyond that, very
little passes the BS test.

Soon after graduating high school in ’84 I had purchased a PE 175 for a couple hundred
bucks from a buddy I worked with.  The bike was missing the rear wheel because
he had given it to a local bike shop to re-string and couldn’t come up with the money
to get it back.  So, for the price of the rear wheel repair and a case of beer
I had myself a dirt bike.  I rode it for a few years and later sold it to a friend. 

In my quest to find bikes from my motorcycling past this gem caught my attention on

No, not all the parts were there.  Surprise, surprise.  In fact, there were
more parts missing than present.  I offered half what he was asking and he accepted.
This will make a good parts bike.  It has a good cylinder, wheels and lower end.
Now I’ll be scouring the usual places for this bike’s sister.

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.

1972 Honda SL125 – Alive again!

It started out as an abused Frankenstein bike, containing parts from a ’71 Honda CL100 and a 1972 Honda SL 125.  One of my periodic scans of Craig’s List turned up this $125 beauty.

Most of the controls were missing, the bars were bent, the shocks were missing, pegs
were way out of wack having been broken a re-welded off-center.  The 100cc engine
had a sheared kick start shaft.

The tank was off of a ’71 CL 100, I believe, and had half a tank of 2-year old gas.
The carb was trashed.  The CL pipe had been wire wrapped in place because there
was not mount plates for it on a an SL frame.

This was obviously going to take some new/used pieces to get it running again.
I started with eBay and soon realized the pipe and tank were not going to come cheap,
even if I could find them.  I lucked out about three weeks after picking this
one up when I spotted another SL125 on Craig’s List.  It was the year I needed
and it had the tank AND the pipe!  The tank was in rough shape but nothing that
“Pore” couldn’t take care of.

With the two bikes I now had enough spare parts to potentially make one functioning
motorcycle.  I stripped the “real” SL125, cleaned and painted the frame and started
putting it back together with the better parts from the stockpile I now had.
I was able to repair the handlebar controls and switches, thankfully.  The wheels
cleaned up nicely and some more contributions from my eBay slush fund helped make
completion a real possibility.

I now had the basket case engine from the second SL, the eBay engine and the 100cc
engine that came in the original frame.  Both the eBay and basket case engines
had top end issues due to being left uncovered outside.  I ended up using the
lower end of the eBay engine and the head off the original 100cc engine.  I found
a used cylinder on eBay and also purchased a new piston, ring, pin and bearing kit.
The carb from the basket case was salvageable (after a full week of soaking and a
full day of cleaning).

Additional parts needed included shocks, pegs and levers (eBay) and a clutch cable
(local bike shop).  It was now ready for firing.  Unfortunately, the first
time I pressed the shifter down to first it would not come back up.  Why do these
things always work perfectly on the bench and fail after you have mounted the damn
thing in the frame?

I laid the bike on it’s side and pulled the clutch cover.  It seems the previous
owner of that eBay lower end also had an issue with it shifting.  The shift fork
was worn and was slipping over the cam instead of engaging and rotating it.
Instead of replacing the fork, they added washers to apply more pressure.  Having
plenty of spare parts, I pulled the cover on the basket case engine a removed the
needed shift assembly.

The final “re-fix” would be the engine cut-off switch.  I ended up taking it
apart and re-soldering one of the wires to the contact plate.

Everything re-assembled, it was time to try again.

On the fourth kick there was life, albeit short lived.  I advanced the timing
a few degrees and tried again.  This time it settled into a fast idle immediately.


I rode it around the back yard a bit.  The ground is like a slick wet sponge
right now with the semi thaw we’ve had the past couple of days.  I rode it enough
to put one of those stupid grins on my face.  This bike is very similar to the
one I learned to ride on back when I was in elementary school.

To-Do list includes finishing the front fender and installing new speedo and tach

Updated 3/15/2009 –

New Speedometer and Tach cables installed and a new 6V tail/brake light bulb and the
SL is 100 percent.