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MC Dispatch

Reader-submitted rides, reviews and stories


1974 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV Restoration

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Editor's note: Dave Gurry’s review of owning and riding a 1972 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV  generated some good comments including the following from reader Peter Hickman. Peter spared no cost in completely restoring his 1974 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV. We asked him to tell us more about the project and he responded with the following:   

I purchased the Kawasaki from a person in Wisconsin and did the restoration. I am a certified aircraft mechanic, which I think was very helpful in the resto. I stripped the bike piece by piece, cleaned, zip-locked and tagged all salvageable parts and bid for the rest of the NOS parts from all over the world on eBay.

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All the black parts were powder-coated with either gloss or satin finishes by a firm in New Hampshire and all the chrome was sent to another firm in Tennesse. The paint was done in Canada by Brad at BK Custom Coatings. The paint works hand-in-hand with the decals I bought from Reproduction Decals. I installed a thin clear 3M headlight protector to the rear lower portion of the fuel tank to keep the paint from being rubbed of when closing the seat. The expansion chambers were hand-built by David Higgs of Higgspeed located in England (he has my bike displayed on his website under the H-Series Link).

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I have changed certain things on the bike to modernize it including: 
• Lower forks were powdercoated with black satin. 
• Oil dipstick was powdercoated with black gloss. 
• Seat side rail and back bar were powdercoated with black gloss. 
• Rear engine mounts were powdercoated with black gloss. 
• Rear inner drum was powdercoated with black satin. All these changes were made to eliminate the old all metal look and make the bike more attractive and modern.

I also added a right hand front brake which involved the machining of a left stock caliper and hand-bending a new brake line to wrap around the fork. The rest of the brake lines were custom made in Ohio by Speigler and the disks were drilled with 70 holes per disk out in Oregon. The rear threaded brake rod adjuster was fitted with a carb vacuum boot (those threads at the end of the rod always looked unfinished to me). I rebuilt the engine myself with five over pistons and Damon Kirkland, "The Crank God," down in Alabama, rebuilt the crankshaft.

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This was the first bike I have restored. I used to own one of these in high school back in ’74 and always loved it! This bike took the first place trophy in the one and only bike show I have been to.

View more photos of Peter's restoration