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1981 Z50R Rescue

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I picked up this 1981 Z50R for a 100 bucks.

z50_2.JPG

z50_1.JPG

It's in really rough condition. I really don't know where to start. My plan is to rescue it using a combination of NOS and used OEM Honda parts although I'm not above using some aftermarket parts.

It will be a kids bike, not a adult mini. Any advice is appreciated. It looks like it's been beat on at the hands of flat billers. Somebody must have put a XR70 fork on it at some point and did a pretty bad job.

I want to either find OEM Z50R forks or am wondering if OEM CRF50 forks are a direct bolt on. Anybody know? I don't want to alter the suspension travel, or rake out the bike. Like I said, this will be a kid's bike.

I'm going to pull the engine and take it to the guy who works on my big bikes. I'm hoping the engine can be rebuilt. I want to clean it up and assume I need to find someone who can repaint engine cases.

Frame and swingarm appear to be salvageable so I assume I will tear the bike down and take the frame and swingarm to a painter who has the code for Honda's Red back in 1981. Again, any advice is appreciated.

I also wouldn't be above bolting on any Honda 50cc engine as well. Will all of the Honda Z, XR, and CRF 50cc engines bolt onto the frame?

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Cool little Z50R! Looks like a straight bike that needs some TLC. The exhaust definitely isn't stock - looks like a modified XR/CRF exhaust. If the fork works and look OK (couldn't tell by the photos) I would try to keep it - the stock Z50 forks are pretty bad. Stock 50 forks are available (used and new) from eBay or DrATV.com or Classic Honda or Fast 50's or Honda. I think the only difference between the Z50R and CRF50 fork is the CRF has an attachment for the fork guards that were added at some point. The front wheel is definitely not an original Z50/CRF70/CRF50 wheel from what I could tell by the photo but the forks do look like XR/CRF 70 versions but there is quite a bit of Chinese junk out there that looks like OEM but isn't.

It's amazing how many of the OEM parts are still available for these neat little machines. Some of the upgraded aftermarket parts, like rear shocks, are cheaper and better than the OEM parts in my humble opinion.

I've restored/modified two of these little bikes (still have them) and the first minibike I ever owned was a 1972 Z50. One of my 50's has a 1998 XR 70 engine (bored to 80cc with a Powroll kit) and the other has the stock 50 engine rebuilt with a 80cc Powroll kit that used the stock 50 head (this is a torquey engine, too bad Powroll quit making this special piston that worked with the 50cc head). So you can do about anything you want to the engine - rebuild it stock or go bigger.

Keep in mind that Honda made a change to the engines in 1982 - different rod length, piston, cam design, etc. I would check you engine ID# to find out exactly what you have before buying parts.

Best of luck!

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Hi IA,

Thanks for the reply and all the good information. Regarding the forks, whoever put the forks on the bike did a hatchet job and they are hammered. I really have no plan to ride the bike myself and it will be 'around' for my kids to ride diligently (they have Osets and other little CRFs to beat on if they want). Do you know if the CRF50 forks are a direct bolt on to the Z50? This would be ideal.

Anybody have advice on having the frame painted? I've never had experience having something painted. I'd really like to have the frame and the gas tank painted Honda's Red during that era.

Regarding the tank. It has a couple of good dents in it. Have people had success with dent repair? I guess this is a question for the powdercoater.

Engine - again. Since it's a kids bike I just want my engine guy to tear it down and freshen it up. The engine is dirty, beat looking, and faded. This may sound like a really dumb question but how do I freshen up the appearance of the engine? Are there people who paint the cases?

Hey, btw, IA... where are you from? I'm from Iowa Falls, have family there still as well as in Nevada. Lived there until I was 9 (36 now).

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Check out www.planetminis.com forum, there is a TON of information on the Z50's.

I've got an 82 that I'm just about finished on, and a 69 that's my rider for now. There's a KLX fork upgrade you can do on them, but it gives you some length that you won't get with stock swingers and 265 shocks. tbparts.com has chromolly replacement forks and HD springs, but that won't really get you anywhere if kids are riding it. CHP has a whole replacement front end that will give you disk brakes up front.

CHP USA has replacement covers, or you have have your case dipped and it'll look pretty close to new. Or you can paint it. TBparts has all kinds of rebuild stuff, and they ship FAST!

as far as paint goes, check out http://www.vintagehondapaint.com/SITE/VINTAGEHONDAPAINT.html

www.tbparts.com

www.chpusa.net

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ive got a set of xr/crf forks, brand new, $75.00 if you are interested. There are cheaper units available on ebay, however made in china out of metal that bends waaaay to easy.

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ive got a set of xr/crf forks, brand new, $75.00 if you are interested. There are cheaper units available on ebay, however made in china out of metal that bends waaaay to easy.

Hey, I'm interested. Can you PM me your email address and we can go from there.

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Check out www.planetminis.com forum, there is a TON of information on the Z50's.

I've got an 82 that I'm just about finished on, and a 69 that's my rider for now. There's a KLX fork upgrade you can do on them, but it gives you some length that you won't get with stock swingers and 265 shocks. tbparts.com has chromolly replacement forks and HD springs, but that won't really get you anywhere if kids are riding it. CHP has a whole replacement front end that will give you disk brakes up front.

CHP USA has replacement covers, or you have have your case dipped and it'll look pretty close to new. Or you can paint it. TBparts has all kinds of rebuild stuff, and they ship FAST!

as far as paint goes, check out http://www.vintageho...HONDAPAINT.html

www.tbparts.com

www.chpusa.net

Thanks for all the info. Especially on the paint and the planetminis site. Do you have photos of your 82 Z50 up anywhere?

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Awesome. That looks like you stayed with all original parts except for big handlebars.

Thanks for showing the photos. I got your PM. But I decided to look for OEM Z50R forks.

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The '79 models had the bar clamps and the bars pictured, Honda then reverted to the fixed bars with the two studs that bolt to the top triple, making the bars unadjustable.

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You will want to go with z50 forks as they are wider than the xr/crf50 and the z50 wheel will not work on the newer forks. Also looks like you have the front wheel off a qr50 or something but stock z50 wheels are pretty widely avaliable. It looks like you have a pretty good start to your resto and know what you are doing, good luck with the build.

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