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turbo dan

1970 Kawasaki Bighorn

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I might change my name to the vintage vulture. This neat rotary valve 350 single came up for sale and I couldn't pass it up. 

20201107_175844.jpg.8b408a7d4ebed0b3d28f40aa2f2b2843.jpg20201107_185432.jpg.ab6ab7a01b07f689284762c67e8a331c.jpg

It leaking some oil and the clutch slips badly. Other than that it doesn't need much.

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4 minutes ago, turbo dan said:

I might change my name to the vintage vulture. This neat rotary valve 350 single came up for sale and I couldn't pass it up. 

20201107_175844.jpg.8b408a7d4ebed0b3d28f40aa2f2b2843.jpg20201107_185432.jpg.ab6ab7a01b07f689284762c67e8a331c.jpg

It leaking some oil and the clutch slips badly. Other than that it doesn't need much.

A friend of mine had one of those.  It scooted along pretty good.  I like those old rotary valve motors.  

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I have heard they run very well. Lots of torque. 

If it's about 3.5 times better than the 100cc Kawasaki rotary valve motor then it should be plenty strong. 

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Looks in real good shape! I think that particular year was rated at 33hp. Had a 73 lime green model. Lots of fond memories! Notice the Hatta forks. Axle can be moved to 3 different positions and forks raised and lowered to change rake and trail. Would love to get my hands on one in that good a condition.

A classic original Dual Sport!

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8 hours ago, turbo dan said:

I might change my name to the vintage vulture. This neat rotary valve 350 single came up for sale and I couldn't pass it up. 

20201107_175844.jpg.8b408a7d4ebed0b3d28f40aa2f2b2843.jpg20201107_185432.jpg.ab6ab7a01b07f689284762c67e8a331c.jpg

It leaking some oil and the clutch slips badly. Other than that it doesn't need much.

I bought a 72 new and was impressed to the point that I got a 73 the next year.  IMO, the 73 was a slightly better looking model, with both years having about the same power. They weren't light that's for sure but had impressive low end torque.  Oil injected which actually worked well, rarely loading up on you.  I recall some sort of apparatus on the front forks featuring adjustability of sorts though I never messed with it.  It was a good bike and the lime green color grew on me quickly.  I still have a soft spot for them when I see them on a M/C track.  Suspension was par for the course in those days. I'd rate it as ok, maybe even above average for a dual purpose bike.  When I started riding in the dirt I took off what I could and did a little M/C with it.  I didn't do well but like my later, 75 CZ, did fairly well in the local hill climbs.  Also wheelied well.  I'd definitely buy one if the price was right..   Good luck with it.

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Yes they were for sure..  The bright lime green color was one of those that you either liked or hated..  I think the AMC Gremlin had that color for a short time in the mid 70's.  Now THERE was a car..

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I have not seen a pic of this bike since I was in the navy on the 70s...a comrade of mine had on in the phillipines in 1970.  It was a great bike.  His buddy had 3 cyl mach 750 I think!!!

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1 hour ago, brucektm said:

I have not seen a pic of this bike since I was in the navy on the 70s...a comrade of mine had on in the phillipines in 1970.  It was a great bike.  His buddy had 3 cyl mach 750 I think!!!

I had a chance to ride a mach III in the 70's..   It was raced by the owners of Kawasaki City in Allentown, Pa. at the 1/4 mile Pocono Drag Lodge, stones throw from the present day Pocono 500 race track.  Took it out a back country road, carefully screwed it on, hit third and opened it fully, front end kept bouncing off the roadway. Never hit 4th and 5th..   Heck of a bike in its day. 

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Neat memories,  neighboor had one it was barely broke in, he told go get your helmet, put me on the back went to a near by field where we rode, we got off then he put on told me go ahead ride, think I stalled 2 times, he said don't make me start it again. I came around in 2nd gear and he was yelling shift again. Wasnt sure if I was gonna make the next corner but brought it back to him no problem and still brand new. I think I shook all the way home from the adrenaline rush. 12 yrs old and only rode mini bikes before that day.

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So far I haven't found any serious issues. Lots of dirt in the intake tract. These rotary motors have a fairly long intake path between the filter and carb so most of it stopped there. Not much got near the carb. I will pull the jug and clean up anything that remains inside.

The clutch plates interchange with late model KX125 parts. This is nice. Cheaper and easier to find than the original stuff.

Other than that it needs some oil seals, a few orings in the carb and it will be ready to run.

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2 hours ago, NoBs said:

Yes they were for sure..  The bright lime green color was one of those that you either liked or hated..  I think the AMC Gremlin had that color for a short time in the mid 70's.  Now THERE was a car..

I almost bought one in lime green back in December. I think they look great.

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When I was a kid I had an orange 175 ('73 F-7).  Rode the wheels off that bike, loved it.

A cool thing about the rotary valve is they are pretty easy to swap so you can experiment and have no permanent damage, just keep the stocker.  Plus they are resin -easy to cut (think I made mine stay open 20* longer...gave it some more zip!). Think I still have the piece I removed somewhere in my tool box.

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I loved the Bighorn so much that I had three of 'em! '72 green, '73 green, and a '74 silver. The 1973 was the green that's more of a lime color (and my favorite; wish I had kept it). I also worked at the local Kawasaki shop, so I had first dibs on anything that was traded in. We didn't see a lot of the '70 and '71 F5s, but the later F9 was more common.

In spite of being a scrawny kid, I could do things with that bike that the guys on smaller bikes couldn't do: climb gnarly, steep hills. I even ran them in some enduros, C Open class. 100 miles and the bike was a handful, especially on rocky terrain. I finished but never near the top until I got my Penton (KTM) Mint 400. Finished first place in Canyon Enduro in northern PA and got my "B" card. 

Since I worked on a lot of Bighorns at the shop, it seemed that the harder you ran them, the less often they broke down. I never believed the legend of the sideways piston until some poor guy brought his in for repair, completely seized. Took the head off and saw the piston locked and squashed at about 45°. "But I babied that thing", he said. My Bighorn, at the time, was identical to his, but nowhere near as clean and shiny. 

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I still have an orange 1973 F-7. Glad I kept that one, wish I had kept all the bikes I had in the 70's. I had at least four F-7s, lost count long ago. 

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8 hours ago, mike21b said:

I still have an orange 1973 F-7. Glad I kept that one, wish I had kept all the bikes I had in the 70's. I had at least four F-7s, lost count long ago. 

2 of my buddies had the 175's back in the day.  I remember one time we were playing chicken in a mud puddle in a gravel pit  after a flash rain. We didn't know how deep it was so we went in and went deeper with each half circle before turning around.  We got up to the fins of the engine until Mark just rode straight in slowly without turning back.  It burbled a bit when he got to the exhaust then quit.  He balanced it for a moment before it stopped and he laughed a bit when you know you did something stupid but had fun doing it.  Only he and the handlebars were visible.  Unfortunately we had to go in and help him push it out.  Got it on dry land, took the plug out, 3 of us held the bike straight up while another kicked it a few times.  Put it in back on 2 wheels, put the plug back in, kicked it maybe a half dozen times and we were back on our way. 

   It I recall they had optional expansion chambers and maybe rejetted for it.  They ran exceptionally well for the early 70's.  No one had cameras or video back then.  What a shame. Moments in time..

 

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9 hours ago, turbo dan said:

I almost bought one in lime green back in December. I think they look great.

The Gremlin or the bike ?      :- )

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