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How to Make a Monster!
 It must have been almost 4 years since  bighorn the first was stolen from my old garage in Woodlawn. Since then,I had aquired my good old Honda, and put a lot of effort in it, and it was a nice bike. But, the thrill was never quite there. The Honda never scared me, although it did break my leg once. Meanwhile, I picked up any interesting bits and pieces I could find for a bighorn.  I kept looking for a bike online, and found a few, but they were either $3500 museum pieces, or else located halfway across the country. (I would NOT pay $200 to ship a $200 bike!!!) Finally, I found a bike on Ebay, a 1972 Kawasaki F8 250. This was essentially the same as a bighorn, only the top end was smaller. (The 350 top will drop right on the gearbox, although more about the tech stuff later.) It was located an hour away from me also!!! I won the bid at $262.50. It was basically in original condition, with 4700 miles on the odometer. There were some things missing but nothing I cared about. It's condition was just perfect for me. It was nice enough to make a great starting point, but it wasnt so nice that I hated to tear it down and make a racer out of it. Putting it back to stock and riding it on the road would of been a pain in the ass, but had it been a couple of points nicer, I just might have. So, Im gonna start work right away. I dont know which way to go immediately, but eventually, Im gonna put a new 350 top end on it, as well as a Torque Engineering expansion chamber. I also have a NOS Windsor Plastic gas tank for it!!!  Ive got new cables too! All from Ebay over the last year or so. The 72 F8 had breaker point ignition, but I have a complete spare CDI setup left over from my 350, and I am going to try and fit that as well.  I may even try to ride it as a 250 for a while, as I collect a few more bits I need for the 350 conversion. I will post pictures as I continue to work on it. I will update this page as I go, and I will post some pics as well!
This is an actual pic from the Ebay auction that I won, so We'll call this "before" heh heh.....

7/17/01 Update: I had the 'ol girl stripped down to a bare frame in 1 week. Some suprises: The head set had only 5 balls left in it, so Ill have to get some new balls. Heh heh...The swing arm bushings were smooth as butter! Someone took care of this bike at some point in it's life.  Ill have to get some wheel bearings, but no big deal. A little secret here: just go to an industrial supply house to get bearings. MOST of the ones on your bike are standard sizes used in other machines. I bet I'll pay about $6 for wheel bearings this way. (As if you COULD get them from the dealer, anyway) After peeling away years of crud, I treated the frame to several coats of Rustoleum semi-gloss black enamel.
7/25/01 I got the swing arm back on, and also installed my choice of rear suspension: Gas charged, oil dampened KYBs! Another goodie I snagged last year. Gonna raise the seat height a couple of inches, but thats ok, I always feel like the front end on those things point uphill in their stock form. As well as providing some relief on hard landings, the new shocks ought to go a way towards keeping the front wheel on the ground.
8/15/01 Ive got my NOS Windsor Products plastic tank mounted, as well as the seat.


8/31/01  Well, Ive got the new bearings for the steering head, and I put the triple clamps back on, as well as the rest of the front end. I also put the motor back into the frame, because I am happy with the bottom end, and although there is more work to be done to the engine, I can do it all with the engine in the frame. I fitted my Torque Engineering Expansion chamber, then removed it since I have to tear the top end off anyway. I also hooked up the handle bars, and cables. Now Im waiting on some parts, and Ive got a new source of distraction, ANOTHER project!!!!! a Basket Case 1993 KX 250!!!! Oh my I will never learn. That and schools about to start, and the weather will turn cold....somthing tells me progress will slow a little....

9/15/01 Hmmm. got the clutch case half off, and got set to torque the clutch basket off, and the nut just came loose way too easy. Turns out it must have been a little loose, and the inner housing got a little dinged up. THe thrust washer took most of the damage. Had some funky aftermarket springs in the clutch, I guess whoever put them in didnt torque the basket down enough. The clutch itself was pretty much fried, so Im gonna replace it. Got the rotary valve off, and Im going to modify it slightly. I actually ran the engine to see what it was like, and it sounded VERY noisy up top. I pulled the top end, and man Ive never seen such a worn out bore. The piston was doing some serious slapping in there. Luckily, the crank seems solid, all the plays are within spec. (In my experience with these old girls, Ive honestly never seen a crank give out!) Big, beefy bearings, and lets face it, they dont exactly turn 13000 rpms like some more modern bikes. Keep enough oil in the gas, and your set. Ive got a new 350 top end for it anyway so I didnt care that the 250 was so worn out. Now, Ive got to locate a head for the 350, and get a clutch, and that will be about it for the engine.

As you can see, Ive got the front fender on, and both wheels. Here I am switching out the ignition system, from
the stock breaker point unit to an electronic setup that I had left over from my earlier involvement with these
things. You can see my S2 Triple in the foreground. (Its almost done, but has been for about a year now) I like RED dont I? You would figure Green would be it, but no....heh heh...ny KX is green however...

The electronic unit bolted right up. I figured it would. The original unit is to the right. Switched flywheels too.

Update: 10/14/01
    I got my head in the mail, and it was is great shape. I bead blasted it nice and clean. I found an NOS barnett clutch set for it, and that should be in the end of next week. Ive got a new gasket kit in as well, and now I just need to have the cylinder bored.

    Well, I got the NOS Barnett clutch in place, and the case sealed back up. I dropped the cylinder off to have it bored, and it should be ready next week. I have all I need for the top end, so by the end of October it will be all together. Then, on to some little things, like rigging up a choke, and idle speed adjuster. I am hoping to take it out for the first time in mid November.    

11-01-01  Bottom end is together!!                Another view

My cylinder is finally going to be ready tommorrow, and Im gonna put the top end on this weekend. My friends are planning to go riding next weekend, and If Im lucky, Ill be able to take my bighorn. Im gonna take my tools, and some spare parts, and try to dial everything in. (Dont want to piss the neighbors off!)
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