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Project Bike: Motorsport Retro’s 1984 Kawasaki KX250

Submitted by on July 19, 2010

I am completely addicted to Vintage Motocross.

Ever since Carl from Northside Motorcycles let me ride some bikes from his collection for a story on Motorsport Retro, I can think of nothing else.

There was only one thing to do, and that was get myself a bike. Having owned quite a few Kawasaki’s in my junior racing days the decision was pretty easy. Buy a pre 1985 KX.

I really love the unusual looking early eighties Kawasaki’s with the number plate as part of the rear mudguard. You either love them or hate them and the KX’s are also quite difficult to source parts for, so that was a good challenge. There also aren’t that many in the Heaven VMX club and its always nice to have something a little different. Finally, my all time racing hero is American Jeff Ward who rode the Green Machines throughout his entire career, so a Kawasaki was locked in.

I made a call to Wade at Dead Dog Racing, Australia’s largest VMX bike supplier, to see if he had any early 80s KX’s in stock and too my astonishment he had a pretty tidy1984 KX 250C-2 looking for a new owner. We managed to do a deal pretty quickly and Dead Dog Racing became our first Project Bike partner. The KX was shipped to Sydney from Queensland and landed at Motorsport Retro HQ.

The bike was in the condition you would expect for a 25 year old dirt bike. It was complete except for the radiator shrouds, a bit rusty here and there, but otherwise looked like it had a pretty gentle life.

A fairly serious restoration was required to make it safe and reliable for VMX racing, so with the help of my mates Muzz, Sport and Beerdog we spent a few nights in the Motorsport Retro HQ and managed to strip the bike down pretty quickly.

We then made a list of the most important things we needed. High on that list was to rebuild the suspension. The front forks were in a pretty sorry state, were leaking all over the place and the chrome was pitted with rust. I had heard good things about the restoration services of  Trooper Lus Garage, so I called Justin explained my plans and Trooper Lus became my second project bike partner.

When you go to all the trouble of pulling a bike to bits its also nice to put it back together with new nuts and bolts, so yet another phone call was made, this time to Derek and Leanne at Classic Fasteners. Next thing I knew, a package had arrived with enough new stainless nuts, bolts and washers to hold the KX together in style.

What we did next.

1. Sourced an original owners service manual on eBay.

2. Powder coated the frame, triple clamps and suspension rockers.

3. Ordered new front brake pads and fork seals.

4. Sourced a Wiseco piston and ring and top end gasket kit.

5. Ordered a full bearing kit. All Balls had complete kits for the bike and my Dad Ray used his press to fit the new bearings.

6. Sent the seat to MK1 motorcycles in Melbourne to have new foam and an original looking cover and graphics fitted.

7. Sourced radiator shrouds. This one wasn’t simple as they don’t exist any more either new or aftermarket. The short story is that I found some in the USA on eBay,got guzzumped, but the winning bidder Steve Wood, who happened to be from from Melbourne, agreed to sell me his old ones. Thanks Steve!

8. Sourced an aftermarket Uni Filter air filter from eBay.

9. Sandblasted and repainted the pipe

10. Bought some nice new Bridgestones and heavy duty tubes from Carl at Northside Motorcycles

So stage one is complete. Next steps is to clean up all the old parts and get ready to reassemble the bike.

The goal is to bring the bike back to look like the original bike did when it rolled off the factory floor in 1984. I am aiming to have the bike ready for the “Evo Challenge” round of the Heaven VMX Championship on August 14-15. The photos in this story show the bike being stripped down. In our next installment of the Project Bike story we will show all the shiny new bits being put back on the bike.

Thanks to our partners

1. Dead Dog Racing

2. Trooper Lus Garage

3. Classic Fasteners

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