Project bikes prepped for post-lockdown #ride5000miles fun

Sera Jay has been busy with her Kawasaki project
Sera Jay has been busy with her Kawasaki project

Mechanically savvy members of MCN’s #ride5000miles community have been putting their skills to the test by completing winter projects, ready to start piling on the miles once restrictions ease.

Naturally lockdown has put the kibosh on big miles so far this year, so instead members have been getting away from it all in their garages and sheds. Finished builds include Sera Jay’s 1996 Kawasaki KLE500, which she purchased last year before getting busy with the spanners.

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The final touches are needed on this Kawasaki KLE500

“It’s been really nice being able to get out of the house to do little bits on the bike,” Sera told MCN. “It’s been a welcome distraction from everything that’s going on.”

The £100 bike had been sat disassembled for the past 14 years and, once at its new home, Sera set about performing a complete engine rebuild, plus an overhaul of the suspension and brakes.

For a little extra pep, there’s now a Kawasaki GPZ500 head and carbs. Next she plans to bolster her annual mileage total by using the KLE on green lanes.

“I’m really pleased with it. It’s come out exactly how I wanted. I’m over the moon,” she continued. “This was an ideal opportunity to get back into off-road riding and it was cheap enough for me to not worry about making everything original.”

A detailed clean for Mark's Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer

It’s not all been about complete rebuilds though and Welsh rider Mark Davies has been sprucing up his trusty Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer – taking the front-end apart and giving it all a thorough clean ready for the new season.

Mark said: “It started off with a fork seal and ended up with a full service on the forks, the brakes and every part I took off was treated to a full clean.

“A lot of people don’t do jobs like these because they are frightened to take parts off their bikes,” the 58-year-old continued. “The more you can make tidy and the more you strip it down, the more you understand it – and that’s what I really enjoy doing.”

With the Fazer now back together and looking good as new, Mark plans to spend the year exploring his local Welsh roads, plus a potential tour to the Scottish North Coast 500.

#Ride5000miles members are staying sane under lockdown by starting major projects

First published on 10 May, 2021 by Dan Sutherland

Tom Steele has been busy with his project bike

Bikers have been curing their Coronavirus blues by getting stuck into a project – either sprucing up their daily wheels or challenging themselves with something totally new.

“It’s sanity. Just doing something mechanical, rather than digital… it’s a real tonic,” Taunton-based David Wilson, 51, told MCN. “I put some music on and sit there and polish.”

Still working full time as a company director, David is giving his 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure a thorough strip-down and clean, after 70,000 miles year-round service.

“I took the front end apart and then started giving it a proper deep clean,” he continued. “All the rusty bits, I polished up or painted and then I thought ‘I may as well do the back.’ I have literally taken everything apart.”

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Elsewhere, Tom Steele, 31, from Cheshire, purchased a former RAF 1944 Norton 16H at auction about a month before the lockdown. He is now restoring it ahead of a series of planned rides to Normandy and Dunkirk.

1944 Norton 16H

“I’ve always wanted to restore a WW2 bike but never had the confidence to go about it for some reason,” Tom explained. “It’s important to restore because of what it represents – remembering that generation.”

Tom was able to work with an RAF researcher to locate the original serial numbers for this bike, meaning he was able to reapply them to the tank.

Fellow Cheshire rider, Alex Kerr, 28, has used the lockdown to thoroughly clean his garage and start sorting out his 1989 Yamaha XT350 and 1991 BMW K100LT, which both have underlying mechanical issues.

Alex Kerr is using his project bikes to get through the lockdown

“It gives me a purpose,” he told MCN. “I can get up in the morning, go downstairs and get in the garage. There’s something to do – it’s like work.

“If I’ve got nothing to do, I tend to just not get up, fall into really bad habits and just get down in the dumps,” he added. “It really is a great way of beating the lockdown.”