bike is a 1980 Special that I bought 2001.
Very Reliable bike, the ad in the paper said.
I flew down to Nelson and took the bike for a test ride and even if my brain said that something is not right, my heart said Buy! Buy!
I managed about 30 km before it broke down.
I found myself stranded in a small village called Rai Valley on the South Island of New Zealand and the whole village become involved to get me and the bike to the ferry terminal in Picton and back home to Wellington on the North Island.
They managed to find a fish truck that was going to pass the village the next day and they had contacted the driver, I was told that he was happy to put my bike on the truck and give me a lift.
One of the guys arranged that a forklift would be available the next day to put the bike on to the truck.
After a meal and far to many beers on in local pub, I went to bed in a camper van own by one of the locals that told me that it was not used and was free for me to sleep in.
I own a lot to the people in Rai Valley.
The next morning, the fish truck arrived, the forklift was there and after 15 minutes, we were on our way. Sitting quit and feeling slightly depressed of my bike purchase; the driver told me that the tanks on the back of his truck were full of live salmon on its way to Japan by air freight.
“Do you know how much one of these fish is going to cost when served in a restaurant in Japan”? The driver asked me. I have no idea, was my answer. After being told how much, I realized that my bike represented the value of one fish!
I still don’t know if that made me feel better or worse.
Back home I started to have a look at the bike and found that charging system did not work, the home made air filters made of kitchen sponge had been sucked down in to the carbs.
The carbs were overflowing and that one of the spark plugs was very oily.
After some quick fixes to get the bike running again, I noted that the exhaust from the left cylinder started to turn more and more blue and the motor had started to develop a laud rattle.
I made the decision that if I am to keep and enjoy this bike, I will have to do some work on it.
After that I had lifted off the head and the cylinder, I found that the cylinder walls was so rusty that a 3rd oversize rebore would not be enough to clear it. The crank bearings were completely gone, the small end of the connection rods as well as the valve rocker arms and spindles had deep scorch marks and the exhaust valves and valve guides were gone.
After opening the crankcase I found the nylon bit for the front cam chain guide in the sump and the cam chain had carved deep in to the aluminum.
The sump filter had the usual big tear, but I also found that there was no oil filter at all behind the side cover and the oil pump had deep scorch marks.
I also found that all the internals was very rusty, including all the bearings.
By now I knew that I had bought a nice looking “bomb” to a very high price.
After checking the costs of new connection rods and bearings at the local Yamaha dealer I closed down the project for a year before I got the spirit back and “got in to it”.
The bike is a 1980 Special of Australian model.
This means twin front brake disks, 447 engine with point ignition.
The standard modifications on the frame have been carried out.
Bronze bushes for the swing arm with pivot shaft from Suzuki. Tapered fork bearings.
New brake components including caliper pistons, S/S brake lines from Alert Engineering and a 14mm Yamaha TDR front master cylinder.
Drilled brake disks and Ferodo platinum brake pads.
A new seatpan was made in carbon fiber.
An after Market 7” headlamp with Xeon light bulb and an LED neutral indicator is mounted with Tommaselli type brackets.
The speedometer and tachometer are after market units that I have put in LED’s for face illumination.
All fasteners and other details have been replaced with stainless steel or have been zinc plated.
The engine brackets have been zinc plated in black.
The electrical system has been completely redone including new Switch gear from Suzuki.
A Rectifier from Semikron and a Voltage Regulator from Bosch looks after the charging.
A Boyer Bransden Ignition System takes care of the spark.
The engine has been completely rebuilt from crank and up.
The head has had bronze valve guide inserts installed and had some mild porting.
The carburetors has been replaced by Mikuni VM34 round slides with K&N pod filters.
Throttle handle from Motion-Pro, cables from Venhill and the cable splitter is a Triumph copy.
I am running 17/30 sprockets with a Heavy-Duty O-ring chain and I find this works great.
The exhaust pipes are made of 1.6mm stainless steel and the mufflers are the short model of reverse cone mufflers by Emgo with the “muffler fluff” replaced with good quality fiber mat for a nice mellow sound.
I would like to thank a number of people that have helped me.
First of all I would like to thank the guys at Boyle Kawasaki here in Wellington.
They helped me with the rebuild of the crankshaft and arranged with the cylinder and head machining work and lots of advice.
Then I would like to thank Craig Sullivan at the local Yamaha dealer that has had endless patience with me.
Craig Wilkie at Motomart Lower Hutt for running the bike on the Dyno and sorting out the jetting.
(I had some major problem with the jetting after changing to the electronic ignition).
I have found that the difference between a good bike shop and a bad bike shop is that the bad one treat you like a dork even when they don't know you.
The good one treats you well, even when they have figured out that you actually are a dork!
Michael Morse at Vintage Brake who helped me with Ferodo brake parts when the local rep didn't.
Cycleworks who made the stainless steel exhaust pipes to perfection.
John Saywell who has helped me with the machining work of all the stainless steel details.
Then of course, Mike Lalonde at Mikes XS, without him I would never had been able to afford to rebuild the engine.
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