1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Blog on the move

If anyone other than me looks at this stuff let me tell you that I'm on the move. New project, new beginnings. For a while now managing this blog has been a bit of a chore. Thing is, I've got a Google account and this blog was set up on a sky one. This means to post anything means logging out of one and into another, then reversing the process once I've finished.

So with the arrival of Zed, I've decided to start a new blog linked to my googlemail account. If you're interested the new blog is titled "The life and times of Zed". I've exported a few posts from here which tell the story from 'Phase 1', the shed re-build for continuity.

Hopefully see you there.


Friday, 28 September 2012

A gripping bed time read

Postman delivered my Haynes manual for Zed today and I'm chuffed to beans. These books are welded into my youth as a symbol of weekends and evenings spent trying to get the junk we rode around on working properly. Truth is, we probably caused more harm than good and always seemed to have bits left over!

Went to the DVLA office in Cardiff to find out about getting Zed registered. If I get a certificate from the VJMC proving age, an MOT certificate, insurance certificate, VAT form 414 (to do with importing from Italy) and fill in a V55/5 I should be ok. Doesn't matter what I do to the tin-ware just so long as I don't weld onto the frame.

The last bit is a problem... I'll want to weld a loop to the end of the seat rails and add mounting lugs. Nothing structural, but [apparently] they still count as "mods". Thing is the DVLA don't inspect the bike when I apply as it's over 10 years old. They rely on the MOT station to note any modifications from standard. There is a risk of getting tripped up, but it's low. If I keep things low key and tidy I reckon the MOT guy won't care, and probably wouldn't know if its original or not. I'm going to press on as planned once my dating certificate comes back from the VJMC. Fingers crossed for a kind MOT'er.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Firstly, let me say I'm still chuffed to beans with Zed, however.... I've had a bit of time to poke about and see what we've got, and there are quite a few issues which will need a bit of time and resource.

1 - Engine seems seized, or at least you can't get it to turn by ripping out the plugs, sticking it in gear and turning the rear wheel.
2 - Talking of 'putting her in gear' there seems to be only the one of those too.
3 - No movement at the throttle at all, which could be (and probably is) a jammed/broken cable.
4 - No front stopper either. looks dry of fluid, which always begs the question, where did it go??
5 - Clutch and front brake levers don't match, which seems odd and I've no idea which is the right one if either.
6 - Seat lock is broken, though the helmet lock works.
7 - Rear light /cowl looks out of line with the frame.
8 - Headlight lens cracked in two. The surround bezel also shows signs of a slide down the tarmac too.
9 - Few dents / rust spots on the tank.

All that said, the overall shape and appearance is exactly what I'm looking for for this build. The problem is to register the bike (a job best done before you begin modifying) I need an MOT certificate, which means sorting that lot out! Not too keen on that idea to be honest. I know all the above need to be done, it's just I don't want to do them twice. Once for registration and once as part of the build. Some of the tasks won't be included on the finished bike (seat, rear light, headlight etc).

Time for a think... Might be that as long as I get a manufacture date confirmed from the VJMC I might be able to complete registration once the project id finished. After all, I'm not modding the engine, suspension, brakes, wheels and [most of] the frame.

Research time!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Let me introduce Zed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together for.... (drum roll)...

She is a Kawasaki Z400 circa 1979 (ish) though that will have to be verified by the VJMC as she's arrived with no paperwork or registration number whatsoever. Lots very good about her and also lots not so good about her. Tin ware is sound and chrome is good. Few little dents and scrapes, but nothing frightening. Not delving too deeply at this point because she's got to be completely stripped and re-built no matter what, but couldn't get her to go up the gears. That said, the lever fouls the engine casings so may not be the correct one or it's been poorly fitted/bent. No obvious oil leaks and the frame looks straight so that's all gravy too.

This is what I've been building up to with all the work I've done in the shed. I plan to build a street scrambler/bobber out of her that is light and clean with nothing there that isn't essential to make her work or stay legal.

First job is to get her registered so I'm off to join the VJMC and part with £50! Heyho. I plan to keep a full and honest diary of the build which will contain my hopes, plans and schemes as well as my goofs, problems and headaches!

Keep watching.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Phase one complete

Went shopping last weekend for the tools I need to complete the workshop and be ready for the next project bike.

Would really like a small metal lathe too, but for now, I'm content.
I've also figured out how I could turn the wood burner into a forge with a little help from the compressor...

Phase two is now under way albeit slowly. Save, save, save for a donor bike. The criteria for the donor bike is;
1 - 4 stroke
2 - Air cooled
3 - Tubular steel frame
4 - Twin shock
5 - Twin (preferred) or single (if BIG!)

Ideally, I'd like a complete bike, something marked 'spares or repairs', but would  consider a part bike for the right price.

Hopefully the next post will have pictures of the project bike... Wish me luck.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Finished off the stove (nearly)

The last job to do on  the wood burner was to fit the flue pipe and get it out the end wall. First, I needed a hole to poke the flue pipe through! Out with the marker pen and drill...
... Next the cold chisel and block hammer...
... Trial fit...
Finally, offer up the main pipe and clamp it down...
And from the outside...
Lastly I cemented everything in and while I was at it, I added an external light so I can sit out and sup a cold one in the darker evenings. I reckon the shed [now officially known as the "Drey"] is looking pretty damn cool.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

More work done in the Drey

After completing the building of the shelves comes the stacking of the shelves. This task was taken on in a semi ruthless fashion with everything not obviously important now getting binned. Bit drastic, but I have been guilty of hoarding and 7 year old tins of paint ain't never going to be any use.
Neat ain't it.

Also been busy making a very thin wall cupboard for my sash clamps.

Now all I have to do is make doors for them all! Sadly, cash is running out and I have my Ireland trip to pay for, so for now I'm slowing up and enjoying a bit of summer.