Rebuild - Getting Started
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Last updated 12/3/09

While my RZ5 was still a great looking bike, and it ran really well; it was getting a little long in the tooth.  It was time to take the old girl apart and have a look-see.  Maybe do a little cosmetic upgrade, maybe a little more.  And since the Barber Vintage Festival was a couple of weeks away, I decided to dive in full speed and try to get everything done for a triumphant return at the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC) show held there each year.

Well, life, (and an old nagging back injury), got in the way of my completion of the RZ5 for Barber, but I'm still forging ahead and expect to have it ready for a ride to Daytona on the weekend of 10/17/09 for Biketoberfest.  Not exactly the venue for unveiling a classic Japanese 2-stroke that Barber offered, but it's close to home, and the timeframe fits.

First, a  picture of how she looked before I started.  Certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, but not concourse, and not in the condition I like for my bikes.  Especially for one as storied as the RZ5.

And a couple more with the body-work removed.  From this view it's starting to become apparent why I decided to tear her down.


First thing was to get the motor out and do some diagnostics.  Before I took the heads off I ran a compression test, 120 psi on all four pots meant I didn't need to dive into the top-end any further.  I wanted to see if there was any appreciable carbon buildup, and inspect for prior damage, so I removed the heads; good on both counts.  At this point I'd already wire bushed the cylinders and removed the clutch cover for power-coating.

The wheels looked good with their original finish intact, but the calipers, disks, and assorted brackets would need attention.

Now comes the hard part.  Stripping the bike down to a pile of parts, cleaning and degreasing everything, and figuring out what to paint, polish, or powder-coat.

Re-assembly, Putting the Pieces Together  (the next chapter)

A Little Further Along (getting close)

Done (complete, off the bench, and ready to ride)

RZ500 Home (back to the before page)

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