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August 2013 Acquisitions

After getting the 1976 XL250 K3 Honda, I set about searching for (and found) a spare frame to build my XL250 Chopper.  The frame I found was a rolling frame from a 1972 XL250 K0 Motosport.  It has the wheels, guards, lights and gauges, so there was some potential there to create the Chopper. 

The idea was to build two bikes, swapping the motor between the restored bike and the Chopper. By using a frame like the one I got, I didn't feel bad about chopping it up because it was too far gone to attempt a restoration of a '72 K0 Motosport.

While scanning eBay for parts for the project, I found a listing for three XL250 parts bikes.  It never ceases to amaze me when I see that the poor quality of photographs people use on eBay and the lack of information they use to describe what they are selling.  

I mean, it works for us buyers but they could be getting top dollar for their stuff if they took the time to take good photos and write some descriptive detail about what they are selling.

Red 1977 XL250 K3This listing had three poor quality photographs of one side of the bike only, the heading was:

The wording for the description was:-

(and a Mobile Phone Number)"

Two of the bikes were K3 XL250's and they truly were "parts bikes!!".  They were basically frames, engines, wheels and forks.  They were perfect for what I wanted to do. Chop them up and make custom bikes !! 

The K3's would provide a solid basis for my Chopper without having to swap engines between two rolling frames. 

Plus, there would be plenty of spare parts to keep both a restored K3 XL250 and a Chopper going.

There was a 1977 XL250 K3 with a red front mudguard that would be just perfect for my project.  The seller told me it had plenty of compression and seemed to be in good internal nick.

The other bike, a 1975 XL250 K3 was a bit sadder and is the one shown with a blue front guard.

It was missing a fair amount of bits plus it had some really weird stuff welded to it.  Wire was used to tie the carry rack to the back of it and it had a two strange mudguards and a small Honda Ag-Postie Bike muffler welded onto it.  This muffler was a smaller diameter than the engine pipe.

There could be some potential for this bike if I can source some of the missing bit to get it running (not restored).  If my chopping ideas work, it will be a bloody good base to build on.

Remembering that my main focus was to build my small capacity Town Chopper that was to be a unique bike, I rang the seller and began talking a deal for just the two K3's. 

At that point I didn't want the third bike because, well, it was not a K3 even though it would still be a source of parts for the K3's.

Because the other bike was a 1972 XL250 K0 Motosport, I tried to tell the seller he would be better off selling the Motosport separately.  That didn't work so I had to work out an offer for all three bikes. 

I had to factor the '72 Motosport's potential to bring some money back into the project when I sold it.

1972 XL250 K0 MotosportA 1972 XL250 K0 Motosport has a fairly strong demand by a lot of people who are crazy about these bikes and want to restore one. 

BUT, it looked like it had just been released from 40 years of hard labour on a farm.  It was not only a survivor but it was also a victim of long term farm abuse.

I didn't bother checking things like compression on this bike because my thinking was more along the lines of on-selling the Motosport and getting some of my money back on the purchase of all three bikes.

When I got the bikes to Albury, NSW, where I was staying for a few days, I unloaded the '72 Motosport to have a better look at it.   There was no compression at all.  My first thought was great, it's totally stuffed and I'll have to strip it and sell the parts to get my money back. 

Later that night I pulled the tank, seat and rocker cover off.  As I started to remove the cover I heard the cam chain fall down into the sump.  With that, I started to take the head off thinking I would see a blown head gasket, broken piston, or worse. 

1972 Honda XL250 K0 MotosportThe 40 years of farm abuse was also showing with wrong sized bolts forced into incorrect threads and rounded nuts and bolt heads from where an imperial farmer tried to do  repairs on a metric bike. 

To my surprise though, there was no wire holding bits on! 

However, I had to use the angle grinder to remove the nut under the back part of the head to get the head free.

Lifting the head off revealed the cam chain had indeed broken.  It must have broken at a low speed or during idle because the only damage done, from what I can see so far, was a bent exhaust valve. 

Luckily, I have a spare head that is in good working order so all I need to do is replace the cam chain and put the other head on this bike and it could be a goer.  

The big decision is going to be, do I keep this bike and do a total restoration on it or, do I get it going, paint it in its original colours, clean it up (a lot) and sell it?

I have to keep in mind that my original idea was to build a small capacity Town Chopper and not get into restoration of Farm/Dirt bikes.  If I want to restore anything I have my two 1957 BSA D3 Bantam Majors and a 1955 plunger frame BSA D3 Bantam Major.  Plus, I would sooner restore an old English bike that has a longer stroke than the bore diameter so it revs slower and has more low end torque.  That's a true "Thumper" in my books.