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Old 25th June 2014, 10:23   #1
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Default My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

This is the untold restoration story of my 2002 Yamaha RXZ 5 speed, whom I have lovingly named Fantazee.

It all started one fine Sunday afternoon, just over a year ago

"I think I will go for an RXZ"
"What?"
"RXZ"
"Why? How is it different from your RX135?"
"My 135 is a 4 speed. It makes 12 bhp. I want to buy an RXZ 5 speed. It makes 14 bhp. It looks different."
"What is 4 speed?"
"Well, 4 speed means it has 4 gears, and 5 speed means it has 5 gears".
"So you mean to say you want to buy another RX because it has one more gear?"

<Uncomfortable pause>

"Well, and it looks different. The styling is totally different." (desperation setting in)
"But don't you have your RD and 135 already? Why do you need another bike?"
"I just want to 'complete' my Yamaha 2 stroke garage you know."

"OK, and why this sudden love for RXZ? You never ever mentioned about it before."
"Well, I never had any fondness for it. I just started liking it now."
"Whatever! Does your collection end with this? I am really fed up you see. These expenses are never going to end and you keep buying spares and...."

<MUTE ON>

I cannot recollect what happened in the next 5 minutes as my ears were subconsciously closed and I was probably nodding my head vigorously in extreme submission to whatever wifey was going on about.

With that, I logged onto OLX and started my search for an RXZ. 3 months and many calls later, I found a decent bike, for an okay price.

Not wanting to go into the details, it turned out to be quite an expensive decision (like most hasty decisions) and the bike, a truly unloved one which was crying for some TLC. Well, that, I had in dollops to give.

After scouring the net, old dealerships and where not for finding new old stock Z parts (coming fresh from an RD350 restoration, it wasn't too bad really), I found everything I needed. Well, not all really. Some things like the front disc brake rotor, caliper, brake hose and master cylinder had to be imported from Indonesia at atrocious prices (paid in USD). Collecting parts over 18 months, there were moments when I questioned myself if it was all going to be worth it in the end.

Why would anyone put so much money, effort, time and love into a simple, single cylinder ring-a-ding-a-ding 2 stroke Yamaha which puts out 12 or 13 horses on its best day? Well, some things we do are truly inexplicable I believe.

Here are some pictures of how the bike looked on OLX.
Attached Images
    

Last edited by Viju : 26th June 2014 at 08:55.
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Old 25th June 2014, 10:30   #2
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Not too bad, right?
Wrong!!

For the umpti-millionth time, I told myself "Never ever buy a motorcycle just by looking at some pictures online". A week later, the bike arrived from Hyderabad to my home-town, Cochin, where I intended to get it re-registered, transferred to my name and completely rebuilt. The bonus of transporting a "plastic bike" in India is a guaranteed set of broken panels!

When I finally started dismantling the bike, the horrors which lurked beneath started unraveling themselves.

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0270.jpg

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0271.jpg

The front disc rotor could put the surface of the moon to shame with its deep pits and grooves
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0272.jpg

Broken / missing headlight fairing and visor (thank you GATI!)
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0273.jpg

Faded plastics all around. The odo showed 20,000 km more than what the owner had claimed in the advertisement.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0274.jpg

Engine needed a complete rebuild with a rebore. There were many leaks to sort out.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0275.jpg

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0278.jpg

Most of the panels were broken. In fact, the flimsy body panels are a curse of the Z.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0276.jpg

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0277.jpg

Most of the exposed / coated metal was rusted.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0279.jpg

Last edited by Viju : 25th June 2014 at 16:53.
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Old 25th June 2014, 11:29   #3
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

The cat-con silencer had broken baffles and the bike sounded truly horrible.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0280.jpg

The after-market seat cover was hiding this.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0281.jpg

Luckily, the rust on the tank was only on the surface. Making a quick trip to Mars is slightly easier than finding a new RXZ tank.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0282.jpg

All over, the bike reeked of neglect and it was clearly an unloved example. All the under-seat plastics were scratched and faded. Everything was covered in years and years of dirt.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0283.jpg

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0284.jpg

How can someone continue riding their motorcycle knowing that the crash-guard is damaging the front mudguard? Knowing now what kind of a primitive ape the previous owner is, I am not surprised at all.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0286.jpg

I was not sure how old the brake fluid was or when the bike was serviced last. For sure, the owner wasn't the type who checked the brake fluid level every morning.
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0287.jpg

Last edited by Viju : 25th June 2014 at 16:54.
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Old 25th June 2014, 11:49   #4
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

I sat through the dismantling with my trusted mechanic.

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0289.jpg

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0290.jpg

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0291.jpg

And these are a few of the parts I had collected over a period of 18 months. The front disc brake components were the hardest to source. Luckily, the Indonesian RX-King (mid 90's version) came with the exact same set-up. Even then, it was really difficult to find a seller who had these new old stock parts.

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-cimg_0292.jpg

The owner was decent enough to get the NOC from Hyderabad RTO and the necessary police clearance certificates. I had to wait 5 long months for that though. In the mean time, I was bugging him for the partial refund he promised for some of the "discrepancies" in the claims he had made in his OLX ad. The money never came through, and finally we ended up having a heated argument. And then, he changed his Whatsapp profile pic, after which I stopped troubling the gentleman.

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Last edited by Viju : 25th June 2014 at 11:59.
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Old 25th June 2014, 12:31   #5
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Wikipedia says:

"Automobile restoration is the process of repairing the degraded aspect of an automobile to return it to an overall "authentic" condition. Restorations should be historically accurate as a representative example of the production model."

I remember quoting these lines on my Facebook page a few months ago. I am one of those uptight fellows who like everything stock. But then, I make subtle exceptions where I have strong liking towards something "unoriginal".

Nevertheless, I wanted to do a tasteful restoration. It took exactly 3 months from the date of disassembly to completion (completion being a relative term, as I never really stop tinkering with my bikes, or at least that's what wifey tells me!). In the meantime, the three of us - me, my RX135 2T and my RD350 (Rusty) - waited patiently for the Zee's arrival.
Attached Thumbnails
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-img_9790.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-rusty2.jpg  


Last edited by Viju : 26th June 2014 at 08:50.
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Old 25th June 2014, 14:22   #6
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Plan for restoration:
(1) Engine & Drive-train: The engine needed a full rebuild. Since it is a 2 stroke single, a full rebuild basically means a rebore, a new crank and a clutch rebuild. Change the carburetor internals, seals, bearings, gaskets, fluids, plug, all disintegrated rubber parts (manifold, absorbers) and you are ready with an engine which will last you another 50,000 km. Oh, and also, replace clutch plates, springs, chain sprockets etc etc.- Done.

(2) Chassis: Since the idea was to restore the bike as close to stock as possible, I was not planning to do any modifications. But since the bike was ill-maintained, most of the chassis components like front fork tubes and inner parts, rear shock absorbers, swing arm bushes needed replacement. Also, basic things like the centre stand and side stand were bent and had welds on them. Replace everything that needed replacement. - Done.

(3) Body: I was not sure which colour to go for. As a purist, I wanted to retain the stock blue colour. But it is just too common. Everyone who rebuilds an RXZ (4 speed or 5 speed) blindly goes for the blue (God knows why, since the 4 speed Z came in 4 colours which I find even better looking). Z 5 speed came in blue and red - out of which the red is relatively rare. So out went the blue, in came the red. Since the panels, I had to source all new OE panels and getting the originals were a massive pain in the wrong places. Procured and painted - Done.

(4) Accessories: If you noticed how I have decked up my RX135 and RD350, you know I like my accessories. But not just any accessories - only the OE ones. Oh boy - and only God and I know how hard it was to find a pair of original Alpha Toyo mirrors for the Z (took a full year!). Saree guard, crash guard, rear mud flap (ultra rare) - all took their own sweet time and lots of $$$ to come by. Yamaha did us Z lovers a big favour by making a thousand unique parts for the Z and then discontinuing their production almost overnight. My heart sank when I paid 250/- for two small rubber grommets! Yes Yamaha! Sigh!

Just to convey the pain of procuring the small unique parts for the restoration, I am just adding pictures of a few examples of such parts!

2T oil funnel - used to pour 2T oil into the tank since it has a tilted entry hole from the side. Yamaha supplied it along with the tool kit.
Old MRP: 35/-, Current going rate: 350 - 1000/-
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-2t_funnel.jpg

2T oil level switches - for lighting up the low oil warning indicator on the cluster.
Old MRP: 120/-, Current going rate: 500 - 1000/-
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Headlight rain guard - fixed inside the headlight visor to make sure water doesn't run directly over the headlight and accumulate over it.
Old MRP: 80/-, Current going rate: 400 - 800/-
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-1014231_10201952219793703_1703520642_n.jpg

Brake lever rubber boot - a special boot was present on the front brake lever of RXZ 5 speed model (to cover up the master cylinder for the front disc set-up). A small piece of rubber, but it was very hard to find.
Old MRP: 110/-, Current going rate: 350 - 550/-
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Front brake disc rotor
Old MRP: 1800/-, Current going rate: 10000/-
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Front brake caliper
Old MRP: 2000/-, Current going rate: 7000/-
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Front wheel hub
Old MRP: 1200/-, Current going rate: 3000/-
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Rear mud flap
Old MRP: 30/-, Current going rate: 300/-
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-rear_fender_flap.jpg

Tool box & lid
Old MRP: 300/-, Current going rate: 1100/-
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-tool_box.jpg
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-tool_box_lid.jpg

Visor rubber beading
Old MRP: 35/-, Current going rate: 500/-
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-visor_beading.jpg

Last edited by Viju : 2nd July 2014 at 11:29.
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Old 7th July 2014, 10:12   #7
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

After the dis-assembly, I gave a clear list to my mechanic as to what I want to be done with each nut and bolt of the vehicle - whether to reuse after refurbishment, whether to replace with new, whether I have already supplied it along with the bike, or whether he has to buy new.

Even after this, we had daily discussions, follow-ups, fights for nearly 3 months at the end of which I got the call from my mechanic to go down to my home-town (in Kerala where I restore my bikes) to pick up the bike. So off I went 550km from Bangalore, spent a day fixing up whatever small details I wanted fixed up - and rode back those 550km.

What a blissful ride that was!

18 months of crazy search for parts and information, and then those 3 months of nervously waiting to see how she would turn up. I guess this is as close I will ever get to giving birth to a child.

This one made my RD350 restoration look like a walk in the park. For the RD, I could go to EBay, Yambits and all those international sites and just order whatever parts I wanted to. Just that they were expensive. But for the Z, where do I go except hoping some obsolete dealer in Haryana or Punjab would have some precious parts lying for me in his godown which was locked up 5 years ago?

And of course, for a few parts, I had no option but to turn to dealers in Indoensia, Malaysia and Singapore.

But words cannot describe the joy of watching, polishing and riding my Fantazee after this long wait and relentless pursuit for perfection. I came no where close to perfection, but I am a firm believer that God is in the details - and details I did pay attention to.

Many of my friends asked me why I was being fuzzy about all the details. Well then, where is the joy of restoration if I wasn't fuzzy about the details! There is still 5% to go as far as I am concerned about the final product I have in hand. But I believe I can wait a bit and get those micro details sorted out.

For now, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Hope you guys like watching them as much as I loved clicking them.

Last edited by Viju : 7th July 2014 at 10:16.
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Old 7th July 2014, 10:21   #8
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Here we go. An all-around view of the bike before going into the details.
Attached Thumbnails
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c23.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c24.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c25.jpg  

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My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c30.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c31.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c32.jpg  

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Old 7th July 2014, 10:29   #9
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

A look at some of the accessories, finer details and tool kit.
Attached Thumbnails
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c33.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c34.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c35.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c36.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c37.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c38.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c39.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c40.jpg  

My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c41.jpg  


Last edited by Viju : 7th July 2014 at 10:33.
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Old 9th July 2014, 14:59   #10
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Motorbikes. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th July 2014, 15:06   #11
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Thanks a lot GTO for the approval!

I will be very grateful if any of my fellow bikers can look at the pictures critically and give some suggestions for improvement. Looking at my own pictures, I already noticed a flaw. Forgot to fix the grommet for the neutral light switch!
Attached Thumbnails
My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!-c36.jpg  

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Old 9th July 2014, 15:13   #12
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Hi Viju
Congrats on your purchase and this tasteful restoration. I still remember, RXZ was one of most sought after bikes back in those days. My friend had one and I used to exchange my Fiero with him. Sweet sweet ride, congrats once again and wishing you many troublefree, blissful miles with this beauty.
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Old 9th July 2014, 15:29   #13
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Speechless!! :O

Just one question - Can I see this bike in person sometime? I have seen and drooled over your rx135 when you brought it for the go kart g2g at ramnagara. But this beauty is something else altogether!

cheers!
sai
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Old 9th July 2014, 15:48   #14
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

Outstanding restoration work Viju. Hats off to your efforts and attention to minor details. Only if the previous owner felt 1/10th of what you feel for this beauty, it would have been much easier to restore to its original state. Nevertheless, it looks fresh off the production line, ready to be transported to a showroom. Keep up the amazing work. CHEERS.
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Old 9th July 2014, 15:50   #15
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Default re: My 2002 Yamaha RXZ - Update: Now Sold!

I am also speechless! End result is fantabulous! You have great attention to detail and perseverance Viju! You will be keeping this bike forever right?


If you don't mind, can you tell how much you spent on the restoration?

PS: That profile pic of the seller which silenced you from bugging him further is epic. Had me in splits

Last edited by sagarpadaki : 9th July 2014 at 15:51.
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