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Old 10-07-2009, 11:11 PM   #16
markjenn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Oel
There are tons of UJMs out there.

Get one with a title.

Get one with relatively low miles, only one or two owners and decent maintenance records.

Shaft drive is very nice.

Make sure it has at least one disc on the front. Two would be even better. Drum brakes- no bueno.

Check everything made of rubber on it, and expect to at least replace the brake lines with stainless. Carb boots go bad, as well.

Get something that isn't beat half to death.


Take your time. UJMs are everywhere for dirt cheap. This isn't a singles bar, and there is no last call. You'll find the right one to jump on if you wait for it.
Sorry, have to disagree with much of this advice.

Low miles on a 35-yo bike often mean its been sitting for long periods. Probably barely runs now if at all. I'd much rather have a higher-miles bike with some regular use and is a daily (or at least weekly) driver rather than a barn bike with 2K miles on it that hasn't run in ten years.

And how many 35-yo bikes have complete maintenance records and one or two owners? Less than 1%, I'd guess. Nice if a bike has a history like this, but its not really a realistic expectation when buying old/cheap bikes.

Shaft drive? Fine if you want it, but 80% of the bikes shipping today don't have it and find owners, so I have no idea why you'd make this a general desire for an old bike. While I have two shaft-drive bikes in my stable, in this application, I'd prefer the simplicity and easy-to-replace nature of a chain. Shafts are for high-mileage tourers, not hack-around Sunday driver vintage bikes.

Dual discs? Not very common with old Japanese bikes. Even dual discs weren't very good twenty+ years ago. You're buying an old bike here and drum or single disc brakes are often part of the program. If you want great brakes, get a newer bike. And hydraulic brake systems are one of the big maintenance bugaboos on old bikes. I've rebuilt too many master and slave cylinders in my time.

Anyway, that's my $0.02. Do look for something that isn't beat and is in good shape, but don't limit your choices by wanting new technology on your old bike. If you want great brakes, low miles, not many owners, etc., then best just to buy a five-year or newer bike.

- Mark

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Old 10-07-2009, 11:21 PM   #17
El_Oel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn
Sorry, have to disagree with much of this advice.

Low miles on a 35-yo bike often mean its been sitting for long periods. Probably barely runs now if at all. I'd much rather have a higher-miles bike with some regular use and is a daily (or at least weekly) driver rather than a barn bike with 2K miles on it that hasn't run in ten years.

And how many 35-yo bikes have complete maintenance records and one or two owners? Less than 1%, I'd guess. Nice if a bike has a history like this, but its not really a realistic expectation when buying old/cheap bikes.

Shaft drive? Fine if you want it, but 80% of the bikes shipping today don't have it and find owners, so I have no idea why you'd make this a general desire for an old bike. While I have two shaft-drive bikes in my stable, in this application, I'd prefer the simplicity and easy-to-replace nature of a chain.

Dual discs? Not very common with old Japanese bikes. Even dual discs weren't very good twenty+ years ago. You're buying an old bike here and drum or single disc brakes are often part of the program. If you want great brakes, get a newer bike. And hydraulic brake systems are one of the big maintenance bugaboos on old bikes. I've rebuilt too many master and slave cylinders in my time.

Anyway, that's my $0.02. Do look for something that isn't beat and is in good shape, but don't limit your choices by wanting new technology on your old bike. If you want new technology, buy new.

- Mark
I present to you my UJM.




11K mi, original owner, bought new in '84, ridden every year, (sparingly), dual front discs, shaft drive @ 11K mi doesn't need replacing, and has no hassles, especially with the original owner keeping up on service, bought it, and rode it 120 miles home. Have since put well over 1,000 miles on it, grabbing the Central tag almost 400 miles into Iowa on a whim (picture is from the trip), and the bike has been as reliable as a stone axe.

Oh yeah. Paid $800 for it.

And CL is loaded with these deals, if you just pay attention. Have you been actually shopping for an UJM, or are you just talking?
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:34 PM   #18
markjenn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Oel
And CL is loaded with these deals, if you just pay attention. Have you been actually shopping for an UJM, or are you just talking?
I'm looking all the time. I own two. My CL isn't "loaded" with such bikes and I doubt yours is either. And my guess is that if you were to sell yours, you'd want more than $800. I'll also note that your bike is on the much-more-recent end of UJM's and as such, yes, you get more recent systems.

Let's leave it at that.

- Mark
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:57 PM   #19
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Actually, my CL is. It is finally tapering off for the fall, but bike prices plummeted towards the end of summer. Bikes are pretty cheap here in the Flea Market, as well. You are free to check Chicago, Milwaukee, and Rockford's CL ads, just like me. No need to doubt. In the middle of summer, there would be 4 or 5 pages of Motorcycles for sale each day. Plenty to choose from, and everyone was selling, due to the economy.

I really wanted a Seca 650, so I passed on $800-1100 CB750 and 900Fs, Plenty of Suzi GSs, but not too many Kaws besides the 440s, which don't count as what the OP called UJMs. I bought one for my last GF, though. Second owner for $800 last year in the middle of the height of overpriced scoots.

And if you actually read what you quoted, you would have realized I never said to get a 2K mile bike, I never said you had to have dual front discs, and never said to get a 35 year old bike. Drum brakes would get me killed in Chicago traffic, and I know I have no need to adjust or pay $100 replace a chain and sprockets. The fact that my UJM is newer is the whole point. Get as much as you can for the price. Why would I want drum brakes for something ridden regularly?


Oh, and my Seca is not for sale. I wanted one since 80-81 when all the cycle mags cried that we couldn't get it here, but Europe had it. Yamaha brought here, and it bombed. I didn't have the coin to buy one, and bought an FT500 instead. I hated that bike.
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:01 AM   #20
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Howdy all thanks for the continued advice. There are a lot of bikes out there that vaguely fit this category and the plan is to get an overview so I know vaguely what I am looking at as I start searching for the right one. Keep em coming!
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:04 AM   #21
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I see as I reread your posts that you wouldn't mind a 2 cylinder. What size bike are you looking for? That will help narrow it down. My Seca really wouldn't be what you would want, being a one year only deal in the states.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:03 AM   #22
markjenn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Oel
Why would I want drum brakes for something ridden regularly?
The OP didn't ask for a commuter for Chicago traffic, he said he wanted to get into a classic Japanese bike. All I'm saying is that when you desire a classic bike, you are signing up the technology of that era. If you main objective is to have a bike with modern brakes and shaft drive, then maybe you'd be better served by buying a newer bike. ABS brakes are better still, so one could just as easily make ABS brakes a requirement and you'd start reducing your number of 80's options to perhaps one ridiculously expensive BMW.

You decided it was a priority for you to have shaft drive and dual discs in your older bike. Great. Nothing wrong with that. But as general advice for someone wanting to buy an old UJM BECAUSE he likes old UJM's? Not that useful advice IMHO and unnecessarily limiting. Mostly I see it saying "buy what I decided to buy because my priorities are the right ones". And you aren't selling. As but one example, a 1971 CB350 is a very cool bike and great fun to ride. Yes, it has drum brakes and chain drive. As well as crappy suspension, points ignition, and a lot of vibration. You buy one for these things, not in spite of them.

- Mark

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Old 10-08-2009, 12:26 PM   #23
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I think a great bike for someone experienced with motorcycles, but just not with the 70's UJMs, is the Kawasaki KZ1000. Fairly affordable, many different variations (even a shaft drive), and the beautiful thing is that even though they were discontinued for the civilian marketplace back in 1982, they continued to be made for the police market as the KZ-P until 1998. Which means if you pick wisely, you can have a nice 70's "UJM" that is only actually 11 years old. Some police bikes are wore out early, some are not. Try to find one from a local department that shifted to HD or BMW in the late 90's and therefore early surplused their KZ-P's, you should be able to find low mileage bikes. Most of the KZ-P owners advertising on CL seem to know what PD their bike belonged to.

Regardless of whatever UJM you find, you'll want to put Z1 Enterprises' website on your favorites. They stock parts not just for old Kawi UJMs, but also UJMs from all four Japanese manufacturers. And, customer service is top-notch.

http://www.z1enterprises.com/catalog.aspx?pid=TOP
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:44 PM   #24
markjenn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamakura Kid
Regardless of whatever UJM you find, you'll want to put Z1 Enterprises' website on your favorites. They stock parts not just for old Kawi UJMs, but also UJMs from all four Japanese manufacturers. And, customer service is top-notch.

http://www.z1enterprises.com/catalog.aspx?pid=TOP
+1. Z1 is a great place and the prices are excellent.

- Mark
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:11 PM   #25
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Found this on Nashville CL!

http://nashville.craigslist.org/mcy/1378020799.html

Although personally I would jump all over this, first:

http://nashville.craigslist.org/mcy/1412743547.html

EDIT: Wierd, can't get hyperlinks to work. Anyway the first is a 2002(?. Didn't know they made 'em that late) KZ-P for $4K, the second is a 1973 Z-1 for $1.5K.
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:21 PM   #26
markjenn
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Although personally I would jump all over this, first....
That's essentially a basket case as are most early Z1's that are less than $5K. When a CL ad says "project bike", katie bar the door. Go ahead and jump - we'll watch.

- Mark
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:46 PM   #27
hobbes23
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I loved my CL350 and then the engine seized. I will rebuilt it! You should get a UJM! I found drum brakes fine even for quick stops in traffic. Plus, you really don't need to worry about locking the breaks up! The suspension worked fine.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:18 PM   #28
Kamakura Kid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn
That's essentially a basket case as are most early Z1's that are less than $5K. When a CL ad says "project bike", katie bar the door. Go ahead and jump - we'll watch.

- Mark
You mistakenly assume I think rationally when it comes to Z-1's.

A mostly there 73 Z-1 in that condition I would get just so long as I can turn the crank by hand. Actually running would be icing on the cake.

That said, you do have a good point. Someone not used to dealing with older UJM's would be better off going for some other bike that is in better shape to begin with. Like a late 90's KZ-P, perhaps?
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:11 PM   #29
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some asked if I was into 2 cylinder bikes the answer is yes!

everything I have now is one or two cylinders
not opposed to more but unsure if 4 is twice the work of 2 (which would make some sense)

generally I am in into lighter bikes. I got my 70 bonneville resorted today and I LOVE it. Everytime I ride it I say this is a motorcycle! I'd ride the wheels off it but it is a real sentimental thing. My uncle had it since I was 3 and it means way more to me than an object should.

But really I want something vaguely relaible and relatively cheap to get into that can be mine to love but without the danger on an heirloom.

maybe I can ask questions about bikes that catch my eye. I'll report back.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:29 PM   #30
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Me being an everyday-rider and a dedicated fan of UJMs and some of it's variants would give you the following tipps:

1) Try out some of the rides that were suggested, most of these bikes ride like a hippopotamus in a shopping trolley, although the gear can be vastly improved.

From there on there are two possibilities: you catch the bug or you don't. If you do, read on:

2) Pick something that is common. Examples: Kawa Z, Suzuki GS/GSX, Honda Bol d'Or, Yamaha XS

3) The engines (roller-bearing-cranks) on Z1-900-1000s, Suzuki GS750-850-1000s, GSX1100/1150 are near on indestructible

4) The worst thing that those beasties suffer from is a disease called pre-owners, just expect the worst and be happy, if you ended up a little better.

5) Both Zeds and GSes can be retrofitted quite easily with more modern carbs and uprated electrics

6) Be aware, that you will have to get your hands dirty.

7) The Yamaha Triples are overweight and overengineered (just what makes them perfect everyday-rides with a sidecar attached, I am a little biased here), the Yam XS11 is on big MOTHER.... and heavy but hey...

I am sure you will pick something nice.

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