Sunday, June 5, 2011

Restoration Project - 1985 Kawasaki Vulcan VN700

A Bit of History
Most of my life, I've wanted a motorcycle, but never seemed to find the time or the money to invest in anything other than my primary vehicle..usually a truck. I'm 50 yrs old now and you could call this my mid-life crisis bike, but I really don't think of it quite that way. It's not so much to relive my youth, as it is to fulfill a lifelong dream and scratch it off my bucket list! LOL!

I first saw the bike buried in the back of my brother's shop down in Texas. I asked him about it and he said it was mine if I wanted it, since he'd since picked up a GoldWing Aspencade. Well...I live in Tennessee and we were just traveling through on a road trip, so it wasn't possible at the time to get it home. Two years passed before I had the chance to get the bike back to TN in August 2010. It's had at least 3 owner's besides my brother that we know of and for sure sat under a carport for at least 5 yrs before sitting in my brother's shop for around 3.

Known issues that my brother told me were that the front cylinder wouldn't fire. ACCT's, battery, tires, turn signals all needed replacing. Side covers and several other small parts just flat weren't there. It was covered in grease that had leaked out somewhere around the front of the engine. To say it was a mess was putting it mildly.

I figured since the bike was free, I had a little room to work with on the cost of the project. The bike fit me well and I've always liked the older Kawasaki cruisers. So I started by getting it titled and buying several books to learn with. I'll do another blog article to list the books and resources I'm using on the project.

It's now June 2011 and it's been almost a year since I got the bike. I spent about 3 months early on tearing down the major parts, but had to stop for the last 6 months due to extreme dental pain. My teeth were bad and I was down for awhile. I'm now getting my teeth pulled and will be fitted for dentures soon, so I'm able to get out and work on the bike again.

I did take pictures all along the way of the tear down and I'll be posting those in future blog posts as well. Eventually the blog will get up to my current restoration phase and I'll take it all the way through to completion.

I guess I should close by stating that I'm also a new rider as well. My plan is to restore the bike first, then take my Motorcycle Safety Course, so I'll be able to remember everything I learned and practice immediately. Having driven 18-wheelers in the past, I do respect the road and follow safety rules. As I stated in the beginning of this post, I'm 50 yrs old and I don't see myself popping wheelies and being crazy. I'm just looking forward to having a nicely restored classic cruiser that I can enjoy for years to come!!

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