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My first bike! YAAAAAY!

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by huntersdad, Jun 12, 2006.

    I'm now the proud owner of a sexy old black Kwaka Z650!
    ...almost (will explain in a minute) :)
    It's a '77 model (B1) and is listed by the RTA as a LAMs bike :grin:

    I've been looking for the right learner bike for quite a while now, and have had my L's since April.
    My main criteria in my first bike was something that was big enough to be a comfortable fit (i'm 6'8" and about 140kg), enough power and torque to pull me around without hesitation, preferably in a sports/tourer shape, and hopefully something that would last me a while after my restrictions were over.

    With this in mind it almost completely ruled out all 250's and so I started thoroughly looking through all the regular places for bigger LAMs approved bikes.

    There were a couple of good looking XJ650's and 600 Seca's, but they were snapped up pretty fast. The GS500's that I found were going for more money that I had saved up. I enquired about an R65 but never got a response (BMW owners eh? ;)). There were a few CX500's but were either in terrible condition and not worth the hassle, or immacculate condition with heaps of rego and were soon bid up very high on eBay.
    After months of hunting I was starting to get pretty depressed about the whole thing as I am mostly restricted in my options financially.

    Finally I spotted this classic 650 late last week on eBay and I just had to check it out!

    I went up Saturday to have a look and got there at about 12:30'ish.
    As I was heading up it started to rain a bit. I didn't particularly like the idea of taking a bike i've never ridden before out for a test ride in the rain, but this actually turned out to be a bonus in a strange kind of way.

    I had a good thorough look over it (in the best way that you can when you're excited about a bike), asked heaps of questions and all looked very good. The owner is a mechanics teacher at a local TAFE and has put a lot of work in to it. He now has another Z650 project that he's taken on and can't spend any more money/time on this one.

    He asked if I wanted to take it for a spin around the block and told me where to go as I didn't know the area that well, so I grabbed my helmet, gloves and jacket and took it out.

    I missed the first turn :oops: and sorta got lost, but was concentrating too much to get worried about that and just memorised my turns so I could find my way back.

    Everything went well, but when I got back I mentioned to him that it felt like the clutch was slipping when I went to rev it a bit harder. He said he'd tightened something earlier (i'm not a mechanic, so I don't exactly know what it was), so he promptly unscrewed a panel off the side near the gearbox, made an adjustment and I took it out for another go at it.

    Holy crap this thing can go! 30 year old engine? You're kidding me!!!
    Now i'm only a newbie so I haven't ridden the latest/greatest/super powerful bikes, and it would probably seem pretty mild to you guys, but for me I was blown away!
    This thing is learner legal? I'll take it!

    As I mentioned earlier, the rain seemed to be a bit of a bonus in the sense that it gave me a very good idea of how well it would handle given the weather. It stuck to the road so well and gradually gave me more and more confidence at every turn. Not once did it hint that it was going to come unstuck or get away from me. It went exactly where I wanted it to. Braking was great. Acceleration was mean. Physical size was *just* right. Every gear seemed to slot in very well.

    I couldn't ask for a more ideal learner bike for me!

    As it was unregistered and I couldn't take it home with me on the day, we sorted out the payment and he was quite happy to garage it for me so I could sort out transportation.

    I'm trying to get my Dad to help me get it home with his car and trailer, but he may not be available until next weekend.
    I'm going to hassle him again today to see if he can spare me about 2 hours which is all it will really take to get up to Rosemeadow and back.

    Once I get it home, all it should need to pass rego will be a new battery, a standard 7" sealed light bulb (High beam works, just not low beam), some replacement rubber grips, and I also want to get some new wider mirror stalks as the ones that are on it won't show me anything but myself which won't help when i'm out on the road.

    So yeah, i'm one very happy chappy! I can't wait to get out there on it.
    Sorry for the very detailed and long winded story, but I just had to tell someone :cool:

    The photo's i've included are from the ad.
    Once I get her home i'll post some detailed pics :wink:


    Oooh, I do have a question for you guys/gals. Am I legally allowed to ride it unregistered to the place(s) that it will get it's Blue slip/Green slip/Registration etc... done? Or will I need to cart it about on a trailer for all of that as well?

  2. Last question first (and congrats, by the way); I believe you can, but log onto the RTA web-site and see, if not phone them and ask.

    Some months ago a young man came up from Canberra and bought a bike in Wollongong and rode it down to the RTA to register it, I rode behind him just in case!!

    When you've got it I'd love to have a look at it, and any help you need, give me a yell. Typhoon has one too, so he'll be able to give you lots of know-how.

    Oh, and keep those low bars, they'll give you a prefect riding position for longer trips.
  3. Thanks Paul, I wasn't 100% sure but I had heard you could.
    I'll give the RTA a ring tomorrow when they're open and ask them for confirmation.

    I'll be keeping those bars. The guy i'm buying it off has some higher chopper style bars for it, but I really prefer the look of the ones on it.

    I'll give you a bell when it arrives so you can have a look ;)
  4. Hey congrats on the bike. Great stuff.

    I know in WA you just need to ring the RTA and get a temp permit at a cost of about $14 and then you can ride it to the mechanics or rego office or whatever. I'm sure there is a similar arangement over your way.
  5. You will grow to love that old Z, trust me! One thing I will uggest is that if it doesn't have an electronic ignition fitted to it, to fit one. The original points are good, but are a hassle to adjust constantly.
    You are near Woolongong, so head up to Zpower and get a Dyna ignition for it.
    Barracuda tyres work REALLY wel on these bikes too.
    You may find those low bars too low, I am only 6ft tall and I had issues with pins and needles in my palms. I added 2" bar risers.
    Also, don't worry if there is a horrible rattle from the sump area of the bike when cold, all the old 650's do it, it's just primary chain noise.
    And take it easy in heavy rain, the undrilled front disc loses some effectiveness when wet.
    Otherwise they are rugged, simple, torquey bikes!

    Regards, Andrew.
  6. Yeah, Ralph Black Drive is just around the corner from where I work so I might pop in there one day and have a look around ;)

    I guess i'd have to spend a bit more time on the bike to see if the handlebars are suitable or not, but they seemed fine the two times I rode it.

    I think i'll be taking it pretty easy in all conditions for the first couple of months until i'm fully accustomed to all it's quirks and also have built up my riding skills.

    I've heard that a pretty common mod for the "B1" is to mount twin-disk drilled brakes from a later model (Z750?) to replace the single non-drilled disk.
    Have you heard of this, or know what model the twin-disk brakes are from?

  7. You can just get another dics and caliper off another Z650 and mount it to your other front fork/ other side of wheel. Later 650's had twin discs standard, and used the same size master cylinder. This assumes your forks have teh mounting bosses on them both sides, some do, some don't.
    However, for what they are, and the kind of riding you'll do on it, a single disc wil probably be fine. The rear drums are very effective, I seldom used the front on my regular commute, except for the odd emergency or two, or to rest my foot at the lights! I found engine braking and anticipating corners meant I rarely used the brakes at all actually.

    Regards, Andrew.
  8. Well done mate, love the look of some of the classic bikes.

    Love that new bike feeling :grin:
  9. Hey, didn't read all of your post but congrats and keep it upright