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Kawasaki H2s Forever

A reader tells the story of his 1972 Kawasaki H2 which survived with all original factory paint.

feingersch-kawasaki
courtesy of Mitch Feingersch
Mitch Feingersch and his 1972 Kawasaki H2.

First, please allow me to offer my sincere appreciation for continuing to print Motorcycle Classics as a real magazine instead of a digital format only. I sorely miss Cycle, Motorcyclist, Cycle World et al. But I do not bother to look at any of them online now that they are digital only. I need a magazine I can hold in my hands, sit back with a cup of Joe, a good cigar, kick back and really read a magazine.

Along with Bike magazine, I spend a majority of my time with magazines for my motorcycle reading pleasure, not in front of a computer screen. It is the reason I solicit and support your hard copy work. Keep up the good work. I look forward to each issue of your magazine.

Here’s the story of my H2. It is a survivor with all original factory paint. It’s never been repainted. I prize originality when I can manage it.

kawasaki-h2

Image by Mitch Feingersch

Revived some 10 years ago, the H2 has more than 72,000 miles on it.

I’ve owned my 1972 Kawasaki H2 since 1978 when I first moved to California from New York. Having never owned a motorcycle before, the friend who was selling it told me this machine really wasn’t a bike for beginners. As a three-peddle car guy and after just having driven across the United States in my 1974 MGB, and being in my mid-20s, I just “knew” better and bought the bike anyway. After showing me where the controls on the bike were and giving me an opportunity for short road test, I was sent on my way. After a week on the bike, it was as if I had been riding all my life. I couldn’t get enough of it. Many rides to the Rock Store, Newcomb’s Ranch, the back roads to Ojai and those wonderful roads around Valencia were all in my back yard. After putting about 60,000 miles on it, other interests beckoned and the H2 went into quite retirement alongside my 1985 Kawasaki Turbo 750. That was around 1996. Before I knew it, 2010 was here. The bug crept up on me, so I took inventory to see what needed to be done to get the old girl back on the road. Paint and frame were factory and near perfect, so I did nothing to them, however, after sitting for almost fifteen years, a complete mechanical overhaul was called for.

kawasaki-dash

Two years later, after a new set of Wiseco pistons, crank seals, fork seals, brake caliper rebuild and too many other little mechanical items to list, my old friend (and a little of my youth), were back. All of you probably identify with similar feelings; the inaugural slinging a leg over the saddle for the first time in 16 years, kick starting her up and listening to that sound and smelling that 2-stroke aroma.

It’s been about ten years since I’ve brought my old friend back. As to why I’ve kept this bike so long, there are two reasons. I am a collector. Once purchased, I never sell, but more important is reason number two. This bike has a visual and aural presence about it that no other machine I’ve owned can compare with. It is indeed more than the sum of its parts. Although I have other bikes in my stable, she’s still my favorite ride. I suppose it comes down to my personal impression that there are just three sounds in motorcycling; Harleys, H2s and everything else.

Mitch Feingersch/Chatsworth, California


Harley racer

harley-xlcr

harley-engine

Editor’s note: Reader Steve Breese has recently purchased a Harley-Davidson XLCR that was raced in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. See his note and send him an email if you have any information on the bike you can share.

Do any readers of Motorcycle Classics know anything about Rick Swiderski, who rode a racing XLCR in the late ’70s and ’80s? I recently purchased his old racing bike (see photos) in England. We are going to recommission the bike and either race it or parade it in the Classic Motorcycle Racing Club over here. What we do know is that it was built by Dave Sedlack in Syracuse, New York, in 1978 for Rick, who was a privateer racer. It’s a 1978 XLCR with Thunderheads, and it may have raced in the Battle of the Twins in the past in the U.S. and Europe.

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Ride ’em, don’t hide ’em.

Steve Breese

stevebreese@sbsecuritysystems.com


Pops’ Indian

pops-on-indian

I’m not saying the gorgeous 1948 Indian in the November/December 2021 issue is the same bike my father owned, but it sure looks similar. It brings back memories of Pops, who lived in Chicago after he got back from World War II. He had a black ’48 Indian which he used it for daily transportation to his job, repossessing cars across the Chicago area. Pops had sold the Indian by 1952 and moved on to a Norton Interstate. In the article, the owner Henry says it “felt like I was flying a B-17 bomber” on the expressway. That also reminded me of Pops, although his memories of being a gunner on a B-17 were not as fond as those of his Indian, and the stories were harder to pry out of him than tales of his motorcycling adventures. Thanks to Anders Carlson and Hank Fajardo for sharing the story!

Bill Kincaid/Webster Groves, Missouri


Find this rider

mystery-rider

In November 2017 at the annual Southern California Norton Owners Club annual Hansen Dam Ride, I photographed this rider. Subsequently, I entered into a local photography show and the pic received a ribbon. Since then I have attended each ride (the last one this year) in hope of finding this rider and giving him a large print of the picture. I was wondering if you could publish it in hopes that somehow another rider may know how to get in touch with him. He was wearing a “Ride ’em, Don’t Hide ’em” shirt and his pipe was in the shape of a piston.

Tom Duck/Moorpark, California

Readers,

If anyone knows this gent, shoot an email to Tom at spider333@roadrunner.com and mention “bike photo”. — Ed.

Published on Dec 1, 2021

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