After taking apart the motorcycle…

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This post is a continuation of my last that dealt with godliness (of sorts). After cleaning, disassembling and cleaning all the components, the next step is inspect everything and figure out what needs to be repaired or replaced. This step is the most involved…and the most expensive, of course.

By the way, I’ve not forgotten about the ZN Bobber. It’s almost finished. I’m just waiting for warm weather to get it started and get it tuned. Then, off to the races.


Before getting involved with each component, the parts need to be thoroughly cleaned. It’s a very good idea to pre-clean the entire bike before disassembly. Getting as much muck off the bike before spinning a wrench is always preferred. It’s something that I actually planned to do by soda blasting the bike as a whole and before removing a single component.

The story of my life, especially lately, is “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I can’t explain how many times my wife and I have sketched out a plan. The plan covered things like places to live, jobs, hobbies and so on. After much thought and planning and discussion, we’d lay it all down in PowerPoint.

The plan was never a pie-in-the-sky wish. Each time we’d figure it out with a good amount of resolve and excitement. But, more often than not, the plan would need major changes with the passing of time. But I digress…

Like I mentioned, my plan was to thoroughly soda blast the 850 in the autumn. By the time life events eased up a bit, the weather changed and it became impossible. Not to mention that the garage is on a pretty good incline. Add flat tires to a bike that doesn’t run and … time to change the plan.

So as of this writing, the 850 is disassembled except for the motor. The motor comes out of the frame this weekend.


The components are in plastic containers with index cards duct taped to the outside. The cards let me know what’s in the box. My cards also have my notes, which can—among other things—include stuff like a screw may have been stripped, or there might be a note about how connections were made. The cards help me remember things that I’d probably forget when it’s time to assemble. If a note even saves me a minute of head scratching, it’s worth it. There are also folders of photos on my computer to help jog the old memory.

The plan now is to clean each component using a number of methods previously mentioned—soda blasting, parts cleaner, sand/media blasting, heating in a roaster, brake cleaner, elbow grease, etc. Cleaning will give me the chance to take a good look at each part and make a list of parts that I need to buy. Doing one large order may be more of a single cash outlay than I want to take right now, but it’ll cut down on waiting times later…and I’ll need to buy the parts at some point anyway.

The next step is to pull the motor from the frame. At that point, I’ll decide whether to install the new head with the motor out of the frame or wait until the motor is back in the frame. I think that an equal number of builders have reasons for doing it each way. I’ll probably do the head work with the motor out. We shall see what we shall see.

As I’ve stated before, this is just my way of doing my project on this particular bike. I’m not giving advice or saying this is how it should be done in all cases. It’s all about B Y O B and just doing what works for you.

Next: Cleaning the frame

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