Reader Question: Home for Old Kaw?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Fred asks: I’ve been a reader for years (but a slacker on donations). I used to have the handle 3DShooter somehow it got lost long ago. The reason that I am writing you is I know your love for 2-stroke triples. My good friend, bike riding buddy and backpacking partner died this year. We had many wild adventures.  You don’t even want to ask (I’m 60 for reference). The reason I’m writing is that in Jeff’s garage, under a tarp, is pristine H2 750 Kawasaki – I was a “Water Buffalo” rider, I had the Suzuki. He couldn’t keep his front tire on the ground and I couldn’t stop burning off my back one. It hasn’t been started in over 30 years (we got married – big mistake – and had kids) but it’s damn near original. I want to take my friend up where we used to back-pack, or as close as I can get at my age. But I thought I might inquire as to what you thought one of these might be worth. In fact if you come out here and buy it I’ll buy dinner.  Surprisingly, his wife is a pretty good person – can’t say the same for mine.

My reply: Oh god… someone chain me to the floor. Do it soon, before I do something foolish but probably exactly what I ought to.

You didn’t mention what year H2 this is, but it hardly matters. If the bike is original, with its original/numbers matching engine (and that engine isn’t locked up) the thing is worth at least $3,000 as a derelict in need of a total restoration. Double that if it’s operable and could be put on the road with new tires, some elbow grease and fresh points, etc. Triple that if the bike is in show condition. More if in original (factory paint, factory pipes) and show condition.

These bikes are hugely collectible. Even my S1, the smallest of the series. My bike – restored to show condition – is probably worth $6k-$8k or so. And the prices will only go up as these bikes are becoming very scarce, especially the “all there” and restorable ones.

I had an S3400 I could have brought back but idiot that I am I sold it. I wish wish wish I hadn’t.

And I’d love to get my hands on the H2 your friend has. But since the divorce, I’ve had to forego such things in favor of paying the electric bill and keeping the cats fed.

It’s a damned shame, though, that we’re not neighbors because I would happily volunteer my services to bring the bike back to life, as a kind of moral duty as well as much needed therapy.

Please send pics. I have embedded some with this little post so that the not-hip can see what we are talking about!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Just came across this…Eric, how about a “chip in” or “go fund me” drive to purchase and restore to running the H2?

    I know I’d contribute.

      • Let us all know if you get anywhere with the owner.

        I’m quite serious, I’d be willing to chip in to that project.

        Or even other projects that you or I don’t have the time or money for on our own.

  2. It does have a custom paint job but the rest is original – one owner. Don’t know the year but we were riding in the late 70’s. I’ll see about getting some pictures.

  3. I’d give my left one, probably both since they don’t seem to be needed, for that bike. I rode one once. It scared the bejesus out of me. It was a pleasure then and would be again. I hope it finds a good home. 30 years and it was running? I couldn’t stop riding something that was still running.

    • Marriage and kids change things. We switched to some occasional extreme backpacking and firearms :). Out here in Iowa (wink wink) we used to have a pretty good place to be now the Cali’s have found us and it may be time to leave the place I was born and raised.

    • Hi to5,

      Yup. I should have added: Remove all three spark plugs and squirt PB Blaster (my favorite “tool”) in the holes. Leave it to to soak for at least a couple of days. Then pour a little light oil into each cylinder and – gently – try to rotate the engine by hand using the kick start pedal. Don’t force it if it won’t go. Try more PB and WD… if still no go, it’s likely locked. Possibly salvageable, though.

      Fingers crossed…

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