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This is how the KZ1000 looked after Kevin rebuilt it upon his discharge from the Navy. It has never looked better than this.
1988 - Getting ready for Montana trip
1988 - Heading out for Montana
2002 - Back on the road again. John Proto of Performance Cycle in the background.
2002 - Back on the road again. Yours truly in the background.

Shortly before he died, Kevin began a restoration project on his KZ1000 motorcycle.  He disassembled it to the last bolt - the cylinder heads were in the shop awaiting the arrival of high performance cams, the wheels were being powder coated, the frame and the rest of the engine were temporarily stored in my garage along with about a half dozen boxes of miscellaneous parts.  In the boxes were many baggies with labels that read: "front brake assembly" or "instruments cluster" or some other indication of what parts were contained therein.  He had great plans for that bike.

The bike has a family history.  It was originally purchased In 1977 by Kevin's Uncle Ken, my brother.  Ken traded it in several years later and it was purchased by Kevin's Uncle Jay, another brother of mine.  Kevin always admired that bike and shortly before he joined the Navy in 1984, he purchased the KZ1000 from Jay. It was stored in my garage in Sacramento while he was in the Navy - he rode it when he was home on leave. When he was discharged from the Navy in 1988, he spent a lot of money and time putting it into tip top shape, including some performance modifications to the engine.  He was very, very proud of his machine.

Like a lot of guys, after he married, had a baby, and started pursuing his career, he had less and less time and money to devote to his motorcycle and it soon wound up under a tarp.  I think he felt a little guilty about letting it deteriorate, and when he found the time, he decided to get it back in shape.  Unfortunately, fate had other ideas, and he wasn't able to complete the project.

I decided I would put it back together as a memorial to Kevin.  It soon became obvious I had quite a project on my hands.  It took some time to even locate some of the parts - namely the cylinder heads and the wheels.  It also became obvious that mechanically, the project was over my head.  I wound up enlisting the aid of some of Kevin's friends.  The guys at Ground Zero painted the tank and side covers for free.  Sean from Mike's Cycle assembled the frame components.  John Proto, owner of Performance Cycle did all the rest of it - he did all the engine work, installed the engine, and completed the assembly of the frame including all the electrical wiring, brake work, and other details necessary to make a complete bike.

In all honesty, I never planned to ride it much - just take it out for a Sunday ride now and then. After my first ride, however, all that changed.  It is now like a brand new bike.  The engine is smooth and strong.  It also handles quite well, solid and tight.  It's perfectly suited to the country roads and highways in this area and I expect to spend many hours carving the curves.