After my divorce, I realized I needed a new companion. The problem being, “she” was living in the garage.
I refer to my much-beloved and always faithful ’75 Kawasaki S1C, aka Little Stinker. She actually smells pretty good, if you’re a fan of the smell of burning two-stroke oil and uncatalyzed exhaust gattling gun-burping out of the three pipes. Little Stinker has no valves but lots of heart – and makes a lot of smoke. She won my heart the first time I spied her faded Halibut Blue gas tank and ran my hands along her greasy fins.
Anyhow, I spent a couple of years restoring her to a state that made it questionable to keep her in the garage. Hardly a place for such a beauty. But when you’re married, it’s bad form to have a wandering eye and with that thing in the house there was bound to be jealousy and perhaps worse. But I am no longer married and that means she can move in.
But where? And how?
I’ve decided my office is the right place for her. She will occupy the space across from my desk where a sofa now sits that no one ever sits on, even the cats. But it’s a perfect spot for her. I think I unconsciously meant for her to be there. The spot is an alcove, with two very cool (I think) motorcycle/Americana prints on the forward and side wall, each wall mounting a mica-faced Kokopelli lamp, the Indian god of motorcycles (not really).
But, moving in a new SO is not just a simple matter of come on over.
Old girls like Little Stinker . . . stink. And leak. Gas vapors in the garage seem right. Gas vapors in the house seem dangerous, especially when you heat the house with a wood-burning fireplace and/or propane. So if you are thinking of doing what I’m doing, think about draining the tank and carburetors before you roll her in. An inside bike can still go outside – be maintained in operational readiness – without fuel in her.
Oil is another matter. I think keeping oil inside – inside her – is a necessary thing as well as an operational readiness thing. I want the bike to be ready to ride and – yes – oil could be added when the time to ride arrives. But an engine emptied of oil is an engine that might not be ready to run when the time arrives. Oil keeps things nice and lubricious. I like her loose. I also like to rotate her engine regularly, in between rides – which can be done manually with these neat old street bikes because they have kick starters. Almost no modern street bikes have that, much to the loss of the primal experience that used to attend riding a motorcycle as opposed to a car with two wheels.
It is important to turn the engine over fairly regularly – especially if it’s an old two-stroke like this one – to keep the crank seals pliable. Once they get brittle, the seal gets loose and the crank will have to come out for new seals . . . if you want the bike to run decently. Crank seals aren’t cheap – or easy to install. So you’ll want to put off this job as long as possible.
But oil in the crankcase means oil on the wood floor of my office – because Little Stinker leaks naturally. The engine cases aren’t gasketed – a “sealer” prevents outright gushing. Seepage is inevitable. The pipes drip, too – their wasp-waist chambers containing liquid gold (well, liquid black) . . . the partial remains of the two-stroke oil-laced gas that didn’t make it out of the pipes.
So I got a mat to cover the floor. A rubber mat, easily wiped and – most of all – not porous. It will nicely set off the chrome and polished steel and magnificently repainted Halibut Blue tank and side panels.
She’s still in the garage, though – because I haven’t yet figured out how to get her in. Though she is only a 250 she is at least as heavy as my 1200 – the ’03 ZRX 1200. It’s the difference 30 years – and aluminum vs. steel – makes.
I can’t carry her across the threshold – much less up the stairs. A ramp is required. But I am wanting something Bat Cave-ish, not just a ramp that I haul from the shed and place on the stairs. I am envisioning something more permanent, a motorcycle version of an ADA ramp that’s always there so I can roll at a moment’s notice – like Batman exiting the Batcave – or a B52 scrambling.
Note that they both smoke, too.
What could be finer than a combat-launch from my office? Given The Situation these days, that could as necessary as it is fun.
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