About 2 years ago I picked up a 1978 Triumph Bonneville T140E from the bar owner I knew back in college. A little bit of elbow grease and some homemade gaskets for the carb and the bike was up and running. I had it for about a year, before an ad on craigslist came up with a Canadian 1988 Yamaha RZ350 and the poster was looking to trade for an older British bike. I figured it would be a long shot, but I emailed him with the details of the Bonneville. He bit and we swapped bikes.
I’ve ridden the RZ350 a few times since I got it. It leaks some oil, the brakes are wretched and all the fairings have cracks in them. Even with all of those flaws, it is one heck of a sweet bike. But, like everything else, I cannot leave it alone. Yesterday, started the disassembly of what will be an 80’s endurance racer.
For now, the plan is to swap in a 1986 GSXR 1100 front end. Adapt Yamaha R6S brakes and rotors to the forks and stock RZ350 wheel. All new body work and electrics. The motor feels strong and I was told it had a fresh rebuild. I believe the leaking oil is just coming from the shifter seal.
Once disassembly is complete, first part I am going to tackle is mating the new front end to the stock RZ350 wheel. The 1986 GSXR uses a 15mm axle, where the axle for the RZ is 12mm. In an ideal world, I would just get a bearing that measures 37mmx15mmx12mm. Unfortunately, that size wheel bearing does not exist. I think my plan of action is going to press in a bushing into the wheel so I can use a 32mmx15mmx9mm bearing. That is just the beginning, going to have to deal with using R6S calipers on the GSXR forks. I’ll continue to post updates as they have happen.