Thursday, July 15, 2004

1974 H1 E

1974 H1

Click On Thumbnail Above To View Enlarged Image

This 1974 H1 was purchased from a guy in LA about two years ago. I rode it a couple of times but it sat mostly as it really needed a little work besides the rusted body panels and wheels. It also had some motor issues that needed to be address. Nothing major, but a few leaks around where the oil lines mount to the back of the engine. I was thinking that it could use the oil lines replaced as they get old and crack. That will cause air bubbles in the lines and the engine will not oil properly. These bikes were bad about blowing up, so there was no reason to take the chance till I had the time to look into it.

About a year later, a friend of mine had come along and was looking for a bike to fix up. He had his Harley to ride but was looking for a project that he could do in his own time. I told him I had this bike and by then, I had already purchased a 1976 KH500 that was in great shape that I was riding. I explained what I thought it needed before he did a little more than just crank it and ride it around the block. We agreed on a price and loaded the bike and it left. It wasn't a week later that he had brought it back telling me that he had been riding it down the highway when it locked up. I asked if he had done any work or even checked the oil lines before the trip and the answer was no. He had cranked it and taken it down the street and had gotten such a rush from cranking the throttle that he thought, it wouldn't hurt to take a little trip before tear down. No such luck. As I have stated, these were bad about blowing up even when they were right. They like to rev so fast that they will come apart if you are not careful. He told me then, he wanted a four stroke so he wouldn't be working on it all the time so I bought back what was left and we found him a 1972 Honda CB350. I haven't seen that bike again so I am guessing that he has either torn it down or it is just sitting some where. Anyway, that's another story. I guess, we will see.

Now the bike, once I got it back, was locked up. I pulled the motor and tore it down to find the crank shot. After removing the engine, I found even more rust in places that you couldn't see with the engine mounted. That was when I decided to rebuild it from the ground up.

The engine was taken apart and parts sent to Purple Haze racing for rebuild and boring and fitting of the pistons, and the heads and jugs to be three stage blasted and cleaned.

While they were gone, I cleaned the crank cases and checked the transimission to make sure that was all OK. We then, cleaned and painted the frame and battery box, mounts, swing arm, front tripple trees, peg mounts, and other related hardware.

The search was on then for new NOS mufflers as the old ones were rusted pretty bad. I also found almost all of the ingnition parts NOS including the stator, rotor, all engine covers, NOS real wheel and spokes, handle bar controls, mirrors, turn signals, head light, gauges and gauge housing and cap, brake lines, cables, grips, gas cap and latch, air boot, filter, and clamps and several other parts of which I can't think of but am sure they are there.

The carbs were torn down and completely rebuilt.

I took the whole body set to a guy for painting ( Robbie Ashford ) who paints for a dealership in Senatobia, Ms. He did a fantastic job of color matching the paint. It is not perfect, but a real good job. The side cover emblems were replaced with NOS ones.

It took about six months of looking and working on this bike to get it where it is today. It will never see the highway again as long as I own it as I built it to look at. I have two more that will be built to be riders and if along the way, they get a few scratches or something, it won't matter. This one is for admiring.

Kawasaki made several different sizes and models of these bike, which are all fun to ride, even the little ones. These also seem to be becomming a good investment as the parts are getting harder to find and a whole lot more expensive to purchase.

In 1974, you could buy this bike for around $1500.00. Now days, it will cost you that much or close to that, just for a new set of exhaust pipes, and that is if you can even find them. Some of the parts are almost impossible to find so if you decide to try your hand at rebuilding one of these, do your home work. Look for a bike that is as close to complete as you can find and in the best condition as you can find. Ask questions!!!! The people that really enjoy these bikes also like to talk about them so you will find that most will be more than glad to answer any questions or will be as helpful as they can. Decide what year and model you would like to have. Kawasaki made the 250, 350, 400, 500, and 750 all in a tripple model. They were also called the S1 which is the 250, the S2 which is the 350, the S3 which is the 400, the H1 which is the 500 and the H2 which is the 750.

Enjoy the trip and keep them "smokin".

1974 Kawasaki H1 Restoration Photo Journal

Johnny Holloway - owner of Motorcycles Etc