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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Tread Alloy wheel
I decided to go full tilt on re-doing my wheels for the 83 Spectre. Although they weren't damaged in any way, 40 years of neglect had them looking s
pretty crappy. After getting the wheel off the bike I went after it with everything I could find, including 600 grit sand paper, steel wool and Never Dull for the final stage. I also repainted the painted portion of the wheel with VHT engine enamel because it's tough and is quite easy to apply. I'd say the end product looks as good as the day it left the factory some 40 years ago.
 

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Well, hopefully. I ran across this bike on Craigslist Detroit area and it caught my eye because I was looking for a winter project to keep me off my butt when I'm not walking my Lab Xerxes twice a day. Since my wife passed away last Veteran's day 2021, it's been tough keeping busy and doing something I love to do. Anyway, I had a KZ650 Custom back in 19790r 80 I believe and then I had a 1982 or 83 GPZ750 before getting a 1984 900R Ninja and thought it would be fun to renovate an old (older) KZ again. It was complete but had a few "issues". It was some 220 miles away so I had to take a trek down to the Metro area to check it out. As I go though it, I keep finding little things that need correction but for the most part it is pretty solid. I knew there was an LTD version but had never heard of the Spectre. I have two other bikes and a Slingshot so I'm not in a big hurry to get it back on the street but would like to have it plated by May at the latest. I tend to buy Off-the-wall motorcycles that you don't see on every street corner but this one seems to have some of the better qualities I've run across lately.
 

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The Spectre is unique, it's not an LTD, or GL pseudo chopper, it is it's own design. A smart looking bike. I think if Kawasaki had the guts to keep innovating the bike and style, they could have really created a larger following for the bike. My brother in law had a Kawi dealership when they came out. I remember putting one together, we were shocked by the fit and finish. The bike sold quickly.

My condolences on losing your wife. I've been with mine 37 years. I can't imagine life without her, even when we bicker, don't want to think of it. Who else can a man bicker with? My heart goes out to you. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I work on the Spectre, it is obvious that Kawasaki was paying attention to which products were selling and what the market place was looking for. I had totally forgot that they had a shafty in the 750 class and I've had a few other shaft driven bikes but they were larger, in the litre and over size. Most were darned heavy for the size and the Spectre is relatively light, given the build of the frame and drive train. From what I have been able to glean from some of my reading, the Spectre used the basic engine from the 750 GPZ but I have also noticed it does not have an oil cooler so I'm not so sure about how close the motor is to the GPZ spec. I do remember my 750 GPZ was pretty fast but seemed to lack a bit in the low RPM torque area. I guess only some seat time will tell about that. I bought a 2005 Yamaha V-Max in October that was about in the best condition anyone could ask for and she was a great bike for a larger rider. I'm 73 years on the planet, 58 on motorcycles, 5'6" and 145 lbs. That 680 pound beast was just to much to haul around, I sold it within a month and lost my left cheek of my rear end in the process. They were an impressive machine but I still think my 900R and FZ1 would spank a V-max without breaking a sweat. One word about a good wife. Read the Four Agreements and never say anything to her that you will regret if/when she's gone. Almost every day I will think of something I said in disagreement and deeply regret it. You simply can't take back that which you should have never said in the first place. Ride on, and be happy.
 

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All the things you said was part of the relationship. My wife's brother lost his wife because he never spoke to her, and when my Godson turned 17, she had enough and left. He acted like he didn't care, and told everybody he didn't care if she left. He spent the last 4 months before she left bawling and alternatively being mean to her to the point where this beautiful woman left him. My Godson, who loves his father much, feels his father mistreated her. She was a posession. My wife actively engage each other. We both say things we regret, but "We do not let the Sun set with our anger". It's settled immediately. No build up of pressure, if she has something to say, she says it. We have outlasted virtually everyone I know . I thank God for that too. :)
 

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X2, very nice job!! I like those Spectre's, it was trying to be no other manufacturers design, and they really were great looking bikes, with excellent fit and finish. You've saved a bike well worth saving. :):)
When my inheritance hits (if I outlive my dad's third wife long story) I'm going to build a collection of 80's motorcycles and a Spectre will be in that.
 

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Well, hopefully. I ran across this bike on Craigslist Detroit area and it caught my eye because I was looking for a winter project to keep me off my butt when I'm not walking my Lab Xerxes twice a day. Since my wife passed away last Veteran's day 2021, it's been tough keeping busy and doing something I love to do. Anyway, I had a KZ650 Custom back in 19790r 80 I believe and then I had a 1982 or 83 GPZ750 before getting a 1984 900R Ninja and thought it would be fun to renovate an old (older) KZ again. It was complete but had a few "issues". It was some 220 miles away so I had to take a trek down to the Metro area to check it out. As I go though it, I keep finding little things that need correction but for the most part it is pretty solid. I knew there was an LTD version but had never heard of the Spectre. I have two other bikes and a Slingshot so I'm not in a big hurry to get it back on the street but would like to have it plated by May at the latest. I tend to buy Off-the-wall motorcycles that you don't see on every street corner but this one seems to have some of the better qualities I've run across lately.
I met my ex on a 1983 GPz 750, she asked for a ride at a keg party.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good luck with that plan. Actually these 80's era bikes are quite inexpensive to get hold of. They may need parts and/or cleanup but parts can be spread over a long period (a few years
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When my inheritance hits (if I outlive my dad's third wife long story) I'm going to build a collection of 80's motorcycles and a Spectre will be in that.
I hope your plan comes through. These 80's bikes are relatively cheap to
get hold of if you don't mind looking at the el'cheapo adds (craigslist mainly) and it gives you a project you can call your own. I try to get late 70's or early 80's models that haven't been butchered to bad. If it had a chopper re-make I usually pass it up because it takes too much to get them back to original, especially if they've cut the back of the frame off. My Spectre was for sale for $800 and I might have been able to push that a bit but because it was 10
% there, I didn't bicker on price. I've probably got about $400 in parts and cosmetic materials in it now and I really don't foresee needing much more. Between a complete gasket set for the engine and a full set of shims for the valves, that was about $250 by itself and I put different bars on it because the PO has installed some really short, narrow bars that just plain wouldn't work. So far I've bought 11 cans of paint, a lot of which I'll have extra or leftover but that's always a good idea anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got my cams installed and timed. I had to go through the process a second time because after the first attempt both cams were one tooth too far advanced. I will say, when that happens, it's a drag because the only way to get it right is to start all over again. I wasn't sure exactly how much that would affect the running but I want it right, not close. In the Hanes manual they give a decent overview of the procedure but I've done it before on a KZ650. The biggest difference was the cam cover on the 650 didn't have the rubbing block so the slack wasn't needed. Also I noticed they really didn't say if you should have the chain tensioner in place to begin with or not. I did have it in place but not screwed in all the way on the second attempt, and I think that made getting the proper number of pins between the cam marks easier. It's kind of a drawn out process in my book and you really can't be 100% sure if your cams are timed perfectly until you have put the cam cover in place, turned the engine over several times, then bring it to TDC on cylinder 1&4 and get your mark set then, take off the cam cover and recheck your cams. I'm not sure what procedures others use but I think it's a PIA.
 

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That’s it, go for the cheapies!

Over here, there are a few Japanese market 400 katanas which are hard to tell apart from the 1000/1100 at a glance. There are also some 750s which were never available new in the UK (proper katanas, not those stupid pop up headlight models!)
I'm rather nostalgic for the sense of accomplishment (and moments of terror) gained from mastering a 80's liter bike with spindly forks and a hinge.
 

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View attachment 45804 I decided to go full tilt on re-doing my wheels for the 83 Spectre. Although they weren't damaged in any way, 40 years of neglect had them looking s
pretty crappy. After getting the wheel off the bike I went after it with everything I could find, including 600 grit sand paper, steel wool and Never Dull for the final stage. I also repainted the painted portion of the wheel with VHT engine enamel because it's tough and is quite easy to apply. I'd say the end product looks as good as the day it left the factory some 40 years ago.
That looks fantastic and puts mine to shame, could you tell me the process of resto in a bit more detail, mine look a bit dull at the side of yours
Ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The first thing is to get the wheels off the bike (obviously) then I take the rotors off and those suckers on TIGHT after 40 years and probably under the torque they used at the factory. When I'm taking off really old and tight bolts, the first thing I do is give them a few drops of mouse milk. Over a period of two or three days I give each on a few drops and set aside. Just before I'm ready to take the bolts out I give them a good whack with a hammer. That usually breaks the bond that has existed between the steel bolt and the aluminum wheel. Then I make sure I have the proper hex wrench and they'll break loose. Next, I tape off all bearing areas so I don't get cleaner in the bearings. For cleaning I used two cleaners, one was called Boombastic and the other was No Touch X-treme engine bay cleaner by Dura-Coating. These are caustic and you need gloves and a mask because the vapors are pretty harsh. I did most of the cleaning outside and took the articles inside after rinsing. I also used a stiff but fine bristled brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then I used coarse steel wool and then a finer steel wool and 400-600 grit sand paper until the original looking smooth surface was attained on the polished areas of the wheel. Then I used green frog painter's tape and regular masking tape to tape off the polished areas on both sides and used newspaper to cover side to side and all of the tire. The taping part by itself probably takes a good hour to hour and a half and you have to take your time but the result will be work it. While everything is taped off I sprayed with Gold VHT high temp engine enamel. It's pretty good stuff and can take quite a bit of abuse. I used some pinstriping I had left over from another job to tape of the polished strip down each spoke of the wheel. The entire job will take about three days for prepping and painting. Now I have to do the rear wheel in a few days.
 

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I've tried "Wonder Wheels " on them ,and on my car, it claims to be the best (as we say in the UK) "the dogs b0ll0ks" , I can safely say it's crap and hardly shifts anything. I used "Autosolv " metal polish on the aluminium and can confirm it is the best, excellent results, however after much scrubbing/effort on the "gold " it still remains dull/faded.
I've had the rotors off before and agree they are very tight, as they should be.
I will be looking into repainting.
Thanks for replying
Ian
 
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