So, further to my last post, a TRX850 is now sitting in my garage where there used to be a ZXR750. And while I’m immensely happy and excited by this turn of events, it’s not all beer and skittles. So, first, the good news:
It’s a handsome devil, and no mistake. But don’t be deceived by appearances. There is a long way to go before this goes anywhere near a road. First and foremost, the gearbox output shaft is, well, shafted. So the engine needs to come out to fit a new gearbox. And while it’s out, well, I may as well have a bit of a polish around the ports. The exhausts look to be sound, but really need a lot of care and attention to get them straight and looking good again. The engine hasn’t turned over in about 7 years as far as I can make out – last MOT certificate I can find with the paperwork expired in 2009 – so that engine rebuild becomes more critical I guess.On the bright side I stuck a socket on the end of the crank and turned it through a few degrees, and it felt smooth and free, so that’s OK. The tank is completely chock-full of rust. Not sure if I’m going to deal with that chemically, or with electrolysis, or both. First I’ve got to work out what to do with the three gallons of seven year old fuel that’s in there… And this has got me worried about the carbs – they’re going to be pretty manked up I guess. Bodywork is solid, but faded. Frame is rusty. Brakes work, surprisingly. But will be completely stripped and rebuilt before attempting to actually ride anywhere. Wiring loom seems OK, but needs the alarm chopping out. Battery is flatter than a slow hedgehog. Scottoiler needs removing and throwing in the corner. Instruments need new glass (well, plastic, but you know what I mean) as what is in there is cracked and discoloured. Shock damping has long since vanished. Fork seals are leaking. There’s certainly going to be other bits & bobs too, but I’ve run out of space on the list of things to do already.
So, did I do the right thing? Swapping a clean, roadworthy ZXR750H1 for this can of worms? Well, yes, I think so. I need a project to keep me busy, and I have a bit of history with this bike, so I think it’s a good swap. Financially, there’s no question that with both bikes in their current states, the ZXR is worth more. But there’s a lot more to it than money. I have a connection with this bike going back to 1998 – digging through the history of the bike, it was raced int he BMCRC singles twins and triples class in the ’98 season. At the time, I was racing a TZR250, and we quite often shared grids with the twins. And on at least one occasion I definitely shared a track with this bike, if I believe the scrutineering stickers on the race fairing. I’d like to find out a bit more about the race history of the bike if possible. The race bodywork that it came with is carrying number 67, but of course, that’s probably changed over the years. But it’s as good a starting point as any. If you campaigned a TRX850 with BMCRC in ’98, please do get in touch. I may be rebuilding your old bike.
Postscript: after a lot of digging around, mainly by the splendid Pete Bartlett, we came to the conclusion that the owner/racer back in ’98 was Trevor Powell, from Lutterworth.