The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
"Snarling Sue," Raymond Moses' 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000.
This is my 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000 LT B1. I call her “Snarling Sue” after my ex.
I bought the bike in 2005 with 43,000 miles on her. It had been re-painted “give me a ticket” red and all its badges had been removed. But it was fast, looked pretty good and had a nice “snarl” due to the drag pipes. I’ve had her up to about 120 where the front gets a little vague-feeling.
After I put about 3,000 miles on her the cam chain started to buzz and rattle. I let the tensioner reset itself but it didn’t help. Inevitably one day it snapped, leaving me 30 miles from home. It bent a couple of intake valves so off to the repair shop. Kennedy’s Sport Cycles in Elyria, Ohio, did a complete rebuild from the bottom up. Mike is one hell of a Kawi mechanic. He really knows these old burners.
I’ve had it back since April 2007 and I’ve put almost 10,000 on the rebuild. Give her a little choke, when cold, punch the button and she sings right up. It idles beautifully. Pop her in 1st, dump the clutch and she launches like a scalded tiger. Financially it hurt to come up with the grand for repairs, but what I got back was essentially a new bike.
I’ve got all the body work off and I’m going to paint it all blacker than black. I plan on putting all the badges back on and keeping her till I can’t get off the kickstand or get my feet up to the pegs anymore. Then she’s going to be given to my grandson, Michael. He’s only 3 so hopefully Snarling Sue and I have a few more dances together.