So this is my story.
July 27, 2008 I lost Tim, my friend, brother, buddy. Not "like" family, he was family.
He was doing what he loved, riding the bike with friends on a curvy country road, and then he was gone. Life is like that sometimes, a light switch that turns on and off.
After his accident and funeral, his father Don took the bike home, with plans to rebuild it the way Tim had it, and keep it put away so no one else would be hurt on it. Turned out it was more than he could handle, plus he was moving overseas to work for an oil company.
So Don and his wife Susan called me up out of the blue and offered it to me, on two conditions: I could part it out, or restore with the understanding I would never sell it. I jumped at the chance to have a part of Tim's life, and brought his wreck home.
The poor ZX-12R was in sorry shape. Tim never made these projects easy on me, so I knew what to expect. We had rebuilt the bike once already, after he laid it down Dec 2007, but this time around it was mangled in every way. Pretty much every part but the engine and wheels were broken, bent or scratched and cracked.
So I tore into it and started my list, and started scrounging parts and pieces to bring the beast back to life.
A little history on the ZX-12R. This was Kawasaki's answer to the Hayabusa. 2000 was the last year of the unrestricted bikes, meaning this one didn't have the 186 mph limiter. Tim had added a full Yoshimura exhaust with header, a Power Programmer, BMC filters, and went down a tooth in front. Meaning this thing is a screamer.
When we rebuilt it, he had gotten some of those famous Hong Kong fairings, which didn't fit well, and the color green he couldn't match. At that time he just painted the tank and rear fairing black, and said the heck with it.. once it got dinged and scratched up some, and the money got better, he would just paint the entire thing black anyhow.
Here is how it looked in early 2008, after we rebuilt it the last time around:
So the time to decide what I would do was here. I could go back to the original metallic green which he liked, redo the green HK fairings, or go all black. I chose black since that is where he was headed, but added my own twist. I had been searching for a fairing set and came across a beautiful black set, with some red ghost flames... something about them just said "yes".
The black is what he wanted,
The red flames remind me that the bike was like the Phoenix, back from the dead,
The red at the bottom is a little nod to his all time favorite bike, his ZRX1200..
I plan to add his little Pigpen screen character plus a note of how this is my tribute to him and all the other fallen riders, plus some lettering for the various online motorcycle forums he and I frequented.
I am trying to put it back the way he had it, and also the way we talked about he was planning to change some things, like the all black paint. I am also "upgrading" some pieces and parts, since my buddy was more often than not strapped for cash (aren't we all?) and had to settle occasionally on something he just couldn't afford. We often talked about "if only", so as I go I'll try and honor his wishes as much as I can.
Follow along as I do my best to bring this bike back from the scrap heap and honor my fallen friend and all his brothers.
And for those of you who are addicted to this sport/passion of riding, please ride safe. Remember to tell your family you love them every chance you get.
ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time).. Pigpen was passionate about his protective gear.. it was a chance thing that got him, 1 in a million; the gear did everything it was supposed to...
Think this guy was serious about his gear? (that was coming out of the office!!!)