Prepping Z50R's for show and racing at the Land of the Pines Norton Rallye.

A first year 1979 Z50R spruced up for the annual Land of the Pines Norton Owners Rallye. It came to the shop for some paint, an engine rebuild, new bars and shocks. In a super busy year, I have passed on most all of the other shows, big and small, but always try to make this one where there are a number of friends that usually attend. A friends bike here that was promised for this event, and delivered early with what was supposed to be a rattle-can job, but ended up with PPG color matched acrylic. Though the original Tahitian Red was a shade different from this Blaze Red, the fenders were already Blaze, so I went with it. The tank is an aftermarket HondaTB piece that came on the bike. Taller BBR bars and some heavier duty HondaTB shocks make it more adult friendly.

A first year 1979 Z50R spruced up for the annual Land of the Pines Norton Owners Rallye. It came to the shop for some paint, an engine rebuild, new bars and shocks. In a super busy year, I have passed on most all of the other shows, big and small, but always try to make this one where there are a number of friends that usually attend. A friends bike here that was promised for this event, and delivered early with what was supposed to be a rattle-can job, but ended up with PPG color matched acrylic. Though the original Tahitian Red was a shade different from this Blaze Red, the fenders were already Blaze, so I went with it. The tank is an aftermarket HondaTB piece that came on the bike. Taller BBR bars and some heavier duty HondaTB shocks make it more adult friendly.

A 1984 Z50R with the yellow number plates came in for new tires and tubes, a heavy duty clutch, and an 88cc bore kit with a race head. Also belonging to a friend, I was edged out of first place in the minibike race at the rallye by this bike. Not the worst thing to be beat by the engine you just built.

A 1984 Z50R with the yellow number plates came in for new tires and tubes, a heavy duty clutch, and an 88cc bore kit with a race head. Also belonging to a friend, I was edged out of first place in the minibike race at the rallye by this bike. Not the worst thing to be beat by the engine you just built.

Though I didn’t touch the wheels, pretty much everything else got the treatment, with a lot of correct zinc plated hardware replacing the mix of screws the bike came with. Someone patched this bike together, with a crankshaft from a later bike, and stator and flywheel from an earlier bike. The stator has a lighting coil that can support 6V lights.

Though I didn’t touch the wheels, pretty much everything else got the treatment, with a lot of correct zinc plated hardware replacing the mix of screws the bike came with. Someone patched this bike together, with a crankshaft from a later bike, and stator and flywheel from an earlier bike. The stator has a lighting coil that can support 6V lights.

The bike broken down for paint. I had the acrylic enamel on hand for another tank painted a while back.

The bike broken down for paint. I had the acrylic enamel on hand for another tank painted a while back.

The Blaze Red would be considered orange by most standards, but either way, the color-match is spot on between the 1984 in the foreground and the 1979.

The Blaze Red would be considered orange by most standards, but either way, the color-match is spot on between the 1984 in the foreground and the 1979.

The 1979 clutch basket was the worst I have ever seen, with the center oil slinger filled with a crunchy grunge and signs of burning. Usually I can salvage something from one of these units, but this one was useless. The signs of hammer whacks on the clutch basket tell some of the story, but not all. I was told the bike was started and taken around a track till it started making a screeching noise and was discovered to be completely dry in the crankcase! That does not however explain this level of destruction, with quite a long time necessary to get this level of damage. Oddly enough, the bike started easily and shifted fine, and I was asked to just go over it and make sure everything was okay. The plan was to do a new piston and rings with a cylinder hone, and change out the clutch plates, but when I saw this, I suspected the damage was done before the oil-free ride.

The 1979 clutch basket was the worst I have ever seen, with the center oil slinger filled with a crunchy grunge and signs of burning. Usually I can salvage something from one of these units, but this one was useless. The signs of hammer whacks on the clutch basket tell some of the story, but not all. I was told the bike was started and taken around a track till it started making a screeching noise and was discovered to be completely dry in the crankcase! That does not however explain this level of destruction, with quite a long time necessary to get this level of damage. Oddly enough, the bike started easily and shifted fine, and I was asked to just go over it and make sure everything was okay. The plan was to do a new piston and rings with a cylinder hone, and change out the clutch plates, but when I saw this, I suspected the damage was done before the oil-free ride.

This is the oil pump drive shaft. On the right is a correct used one compared to the one in the engine with the teeth on the end of the shaft sheared off. They were broken off by a rust-frozen oil pump impeller.

This is the oil pump drive shaft. On the right is a correct used one compared to the one in the engine with the teeth on the end of the shaft sheared off. They were broken off by a rust-frozen oil pump impeller.

The 1979 Z5R engine was completely broken down and rebuilt with some low-milage OEM pieces from the same era, and a new piston and rings. Because of the questionable condition of the parts, everything aside from the engine case, transmission, and stator/flywheel was replaced.

The 1979 Z5R engine was completely broken down and rebuilt with some low-milage OEM pieces from the same era, and a new piston and rings. Because of the questionable condition of the parts, everything aside from the engine case, transmission, and stator/flywheel was replaced.

The 1979 is a transition year. The very first Z50R, but retaining some gear from the 1972-1978 early soft tails like the wheels and hubs, the rear brake pedal (painted black) and rod, and a similar muffler to the 72-78, leaving off the number plate on the right side that the later 1980-1987 Z50R models had. The muffler guard appears to be from a 1988-1999 model, but it is fine with the owner for now. The original seat would have had no logos on the sides, this one appears to be a repop. The bike took third place in the minibike category at the Land of the Pines rallye,

The 1979 is a transition year. The very first Z50R, but retaining some gear from the 1972-1978 early soft tails like the wheels and hubs, the rear brake pedal (painted black) and rod, and a similar muffler to the 72-78, leaving off the number plate on the right side that the later 1980-1987 Z50R models had. The muffler guard appears to be from a 1988-1999 model, but it is fine with the owner for now. The original seat would have had no logos on the sides, this one appears to be a repop. The bike took third place in the minibike category at the Land of the Pines rallye,

The Red Baron took second place,

The Red Baron took second place,

and first place went to the 1971 Super 50 Cafe. This bike had not been run in a while and was brought back to good running shape.

and first place went to the 1971 Super 50 Cafe. This bike had not been run in a while and was brought back to good running shape.

One last thing, this 1969 Z50A left the shop with a new owner. The very first Z50 I ever bought, built, or revived. The bike came to me as just an engine and frame, without wheels, a tank, or seat. The engine was given a stock rebuild years ago and all the missing parts were located. A solid running and fairly complete bike looking to be a rider or taken to the next level by its new owner.

One last thing, this 1969 Z50A left the shop with a new owner. The very first Z50 I ever bought, built, or revived. The bike came to me as just an engine and frame, without wheels, a tank, or seat. The engine was given a stock rebuild years ago and all the missing parts were located. A solid running and fairly complete bike looking to be a rider or taken to the next level by its new owner.