Some years ago I bought myself a Kawasaki motorbike.


How come?

That a bought such a thing in my fifties never being interested in motorbikes at all?
Well it's all on the account of my oldest son. When he is enthusiast about things, he seeds it out and takes action to get the other people within the club. About 10 years ago, he was seventeen then, he came home from one of the villages pubs within the interesting message that "when I, his father, were a man, had to buy a motorbike". My reply that I would rather not be a man in his eyes or those of the pub's owner, seemed to make very little impression on him. We both knew there was a motorbike club in that bar and that he, my son, would soon be 18 years, an age tot get driving licenses in this country. This son was the first to enjoy with the starting - not very rare- tradition in our family, that you can have your drivers licence for cars paid by the parents. So he quickly took his driving lessons and failed the exam. Although he is very intelligent and sure was not underdeveloped he had the strange idea the he could show the examinator that he could drive very fast and sharp. He practiced it. I do not remember if we paid for the trial..
After he got his first divers license he went on for a motorbike license, which he surely paid for himself. When he got that license, he asked me-as usual- to accompany him in the looking for an buying of a second hand motorbike. He could not wait. He bought himself a 1982 Kawasaki 550 s, the first time a saw such a thing. We as parents took our part in the financial adventure at least in helmet and other gear. As usual that was only the smallest part. We did not ask for the motorbike.
Our son did have a lot of fun and riding with the bike that was always in my shed. When he saw there was some minor oil leakage from the cylinder head he undertook to fix that not knowing that was rather normal on the kawa. It did cost him a lot of money, time and worry to get the motor all together again. He learned to live with it. He did also some spraying, which taught him that that too is not all too easy. I did some minor repairs and maintenance while/because the thing was in my shed.
When I had my first birthday after the bus I got a card for paying my first motorbike lesson. I thanked him and put it somewhere in a drawer. When we had our national gift day "sinterklaas" on the fifth of december the same year a got the second card. On my next birthday he took a more draconic action. I had to come along and he brought me to a waiting motorbike, instructor and so on. I was forced on the motorbike and I did not like it. When I start with thing I mostly end them with success, so I got my licence within a short time. I still did not like it. I do have a rather stabile and high level of psychomotoric anxiety, so I don't like new and dangerous activities: I see and sense the danger..
So I was a very bad driver, which I did not like. So I made the commitment with myself to take a ride on my son's bike until I had killed my anxiety and I had some kind of control: not be a danger on the road for others and myself. After a year or so I concluded to be in that stadium. I nearly stopped the tours. Once a month for 45 minutes was about enough. A year later my son was doing a bicycle tour with his girlfriend, recently his wife, in the Ardennes. They frequently blown off the road by groups Harley Davidson riders. He decided that a motorbike was anti peace and did cost him, a poor student, to much money. Het let me sell the bike, which I did. I got some more space in the shed. A year later, when I was back form a holiday in Andalusia; I had still a week vacation. Suddenly I went to a motor shop, bought myself a kawa kz 750 and started driving again.
Once a month for about 45 minutes.

I thank my son for this part of my education.

Sometimes I do some maintenance
My eldest son, just back from the United States, says I do look like the standard American. In the way that I am not very active in the maintenance of my Kawa, he is right.
Last year, on some moment the clutch was becoming slippery in the fifth gear. Most of the times it went well with some manipulation. But on other moments it was again slippery. An oil change seemed to have some positive influence but that was no more then wishful thinking. I started thinking of a clutch overhaul and started reading in the Haynes manual that I bought. This year I only made a few rides. The weather went very hot and the clutch was progressively disfunctioning. It started to make noises and the manipulation was very hard. So finally I became optimistic. It could be the cable. I started oiling the cable, which was not easy. I had to take it off. To do that also the engine sprocket cover has to be removed. Indeed the cable was blocking caused by rust. With a lot (hours) of manipulation and a lot of different kinds of lubricants, I got the cable going again. After cleaning the inside of the sprocket I started to assemble again following Haynes "clutch adjustment". There are very clear pictures, so no mistake is possible. Page 38 says "turn the clutch adjuster screw in until it becomes hard to turn. Then turn the screw out turn. Hold the screw in position and tighten the locknut"
Having seen the parts and the construction it could impossible work. I also have some experience in the relation of my construction ideas in relation to those of the engineers at citroen, Volvo, rover, peugeot. Most of the time the official engineers won the battle. So I have come to the insight to follow instruction manuals. This time however it did not work at all: no more clutch. Another disassembly to inspect if I had done something wrong. This was repeated some ten times. So I left the procedure of the instruction manual and started to measure up all distances. Perhaps I lost a part. I did not finish that because it was very late. After cleaning myself I could not resist thinking about this misadventure and started reading in the Haynes manual again. At once I looked for a supplement- I know the system- and found immediately the following instruction concerning the revised clutch mechanism on 1982 models: mine thus. Page 1 of the supplement says: "turn the screw out until some resistance is felt. This indicates the clutch mechanism is just starting to release. Turn the adjuster screw in turn. Hold the adjuster screw and tighten the locknut to secure the adjustment"
I went to bed very quietly.. Tonight I did assemble conform the later instruction and immediately also the periferal parts. Testing in the shed was positive. I did clean myself somewhat, put on the helmet and the safety coat, and I went for a ride.
I never felt a better clutch on the kawa: not slippery at all.

Some years ago I sold my Kawasaki, and my dad bought one