1979 KZ400 LTD Build, Commuter / Road Warrior / Beauty without compromises
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1979 KZ400 LTD Build, Commuter / Road Warrior / Beauty without compromises

This is a discussion on 1979 KZ400 LTD Build, Commuter / Road Warrior / Beauty without compromises within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; beautiful to me is still beautiful. Got a 10K mile, Original owner, KZ400 LTD in pretty damn good condition. My last build was pretty but ...

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Thread: 1979 KZ400 LTD Build, Commuter / Road Warrior / Beauty without compromises

  1. #1
    Member flipmotorcycles's Avatar
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    1979 KZ400 LTD Build, Commuter / Road Warrior / Beauty without compromises

    beautiful to me is still beautiful.

    Got a 10K mile, Original owner, KZ400 LTD in pretty damn good condition.
    My last build was pretty but impractical, and spent most of its time being looked at.
    This one will be a road warrior

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    Went down the entire maintenance sheet, meticulously crossing each item one by one...

    After a few hours of staring, pondering, some serious build sessions, (what feels like) a dozen carburetor overhauls, and more $ than I'd like to have spent, I took it for its first test drive today.

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    Doesn't look like much has changed but I rebuilt just about everything rebuild-able rewired the entire bike, rebuilt and tuned the carbs, and replaced almost all the exterior gaskets; basically maintenance overkill.

    I didn't get far today because the front suspension was trying to kill me... felt like the left dampening rod was dragging. The overall health of the engine put me in good spirits. The little bike pulls hard and sounds great!!! (with no strange noises). I'm also seriously impressed with the one disk brake. Came home and rebuilt the forks, slid some tubes on, then called it a day.

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    Although this bike isn't exactly a collector's dream, I've grown very fond of it. I like its simplistic design, reliability, accessibility in terms of maintenance procedures, and its size given I'm not a big guy (Plus I can kickstart it if I'm feeling oldschool). I like two cylinder bikes, 4 seems like everything is twice the work and takes twice as long...lol. I feel as though I didn't choose this bike, rather it chose me.

    I'm switching my game plan from lackluster, practical mediocrity to luxury; beauty without compromises. I'm going to go splurge on some major components and will be back with an update in a week or two. Cheers.

    If you were to do some splurging on this bike, what would you get?
    Last edited by flipmotorcycles; 04-21-2017 at 01:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    If it was mine I'd put a rear fender on it. The whole "no fender bobber style" thing just looks stupid to me because all I see is having water and crap thrown up all over my back if I get caught in a shower. Form follows function and all that.
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    Senior Member Stephen J's Avatar
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    ^Agreed^, the ass end looks like a dog with it's tail between it's legs. It's about as unpractical as you can get. Road warriors ride in the rain. If you get on multi laned roads allot get both mirrors too. I don't think that seat would hold up well on less than pristine pavement. A road warrior should be a long rider and that seat looks a right ball buster . Sounds like you've made it a solid reliable ride though and that's good. Ride safe.
    drgonzo likes this.
    If you can't pick it back up, don't ride it.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipmotorcycles View Post

    If you were to do some splurging on this bike, what would you get?
    I'd build this but with a front fender, real tires and not clown shoes, and turn signals and visible lights:

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    I don't know what you could "spend" for since nobody makes shit for a kz400 - so you'll probably have to "make" rather than "spend".

    I would however buy decent shocks (hagon, works, ohlins, etc), decent tires (avon roadriders, bridgestone bt45s, metzler lazertecs, etc..), Renthal aluminum bars (with a removable brace), LED lighting....you get the idea.
    Last edited by Geeto67; 04-21-2017 at 07:34 AM.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

  6. #5
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    You might want to shorten the wiring off of your switch blocks.

    This might help: How to shorten / extend switch block wiring.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Integra99's Avatar
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    Personally I'd make it into a flat tracker.. with a rear unit and straight bars!

    I think bikes can run no fenders (if you ride dry only on that bike)... but the arse end if to short on yours .. agreed!

  8. #7
    Member flipmotorcycles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen J View Post
    ^Agreed^, the ass end looks like a dog with it's tail between it's legs. It's about as unpractical as you can get. Road warriors ride in the rain. If you get on multi laned roads allot get both mirrors too. I don't think that seat would hold up well on less than pristine pavement. A road warrior should be a long rider and that seat looks a right ball buster . Sounds like you've made it a solid reliable ride though and that's good. Ride safe.
    Lol snap a couple pics and you guys pick it apart so quickly and thoroughly. Very good observations, the seat isn't secured on the frame. Luckily it bends and feels almost like a hump against the angle of the frame when I'm sitting on it but im trying to figure out how to secure it.

    I do have a mudguard that runs almost parallel to the rear tire but I will see if I can cut and mount the rear fender. I don't think a lot of crap will be flung onto my back in it's current state but I havent really tested yet. Will be a pita because of all the crammed electronics under there though...

    I ordered a mirror mount I def. need 2 mirrors.
    Last edited by flipmotorcycles; 04-21-2017 at 01:05 PM.

  9. #8
    Member flipmotorcycles's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Geeto67;524905]I'd build this but with a front fender, real tires and not clown shoes, and turn signals and visible lights:

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    unfortunately I am not skilled enough nor have the equipment to do that seat and tail. That's a pipe dream

    Any reason progressives aren't on your list of shocks?

    looking into progressive 412 at 14" which will most likely give me my desired trail, rake, and handling experience with some front end adjustments. I am not keen on the differences between manufacturers. Any input?

    Any recommendations on a relatively quiet, but nice sound exhaust? These stock pipes have the baffles removed and are obnoxiously loud.

    Thanks for the recommendations I will be doing exactly as you guys suggested. It's all pretty much what I was planning for in the first place.
    Last edited by flipmotorcycles; 04-21-2017 at 01:36 PM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipmotorcycles View Post

    Any reason progressives aren't on your list of shocks?

    looking into progressive 412 at 14" which will most likely give me my desired trail, rake, and handling experience with some front end adjustments. I am not keen on the differences between manufacturers. Any input?
    Progressive's are "too generic". They were a fine shock when you could get them at $99 at set but now a new set is over $200. And nobody sets up the spring rate for you. They are the original S&W design (Progressive bought S&W in the 1980's) with maybe the only improvement being the ones that come generally with the materials. It's a vintage shock for a vintage bike. Right now they are just overpriced.

    Hagons can be had for the same money and Dave Quinn will set them up for you with the correct rate springs for you and the bike's weight for free. I have ridden both and I happen to think the hagon dampening is better than progressive, even though the design is equally as old.
    https://www.davequinnmotorcycles.com/

    14" is a huge shock for such a tiny bike. I guess it is only 1" over stock but still....
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

  11. #10
    Member flipmotorcycles's Avatar
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    I usually ignore online advice but I've read many of your posts and have not seen any inconsistencies. Thank you Geeto I just ordered a pair of hagons from Dave Quinn.

    Maybe 14" seems big to you due to the fact that the ltd and cruiser frames have angled tail sections. I trust my math will equate to real world performance.

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