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Old 18th November 2021, 19:47   #1
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Default 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

The automotive industry, especially bikes have gone through a massive change from the time of Independence. Bikes like the Chetak put the masses on wheels for the first time, while there was the RD's, Jawa's and the ever-present Enfields to pull the heartstrings of the enthusiasts. But one of the most pivotal moments of Indian biking history would be the Japanese 2 Stroke onslaught, I would say that it was a moment where fun bikes were democratized, bikes meant for the masses is extremely possible.

This era has seen almost all Japanese companies try their hand, some bikes coming under almost legendary status, and some others being massively overshadowed. The RX series bikes, be it the RX100, 135 or the Z now have cult status, with people paying almost 80 - 1 Lakh for pristine examples of these bikes. The Shogun and Samurai are the other two giants of this segment, which also now have started to command the respect that they deserve.

But other than these bikes, there was another competitor, brought to India in collaboration with Bajaj, the Kawasaki KB100. This is easily one of the most underrated bikes in India which was sold.

One big standout point which the KB100 had over its competitors is that of features. It had so many stand out features when compared to all of its competitors. We may be used to seeing these features as standard even on the most basic commuters, but for almost 30 years ago, features such as that of an engine kill switch, and RPM Meter with fuel gauge, bike having the highest wheelbase are all impressive.

When we look into the engine, we see how there are 2 other distinguishing features. One is on how instead of having a reed valve, it uses a centrifugal valve, and the one feature for which KB100 is well known, the carburettor being inside the engine case. For a 30 + year old bike, these features are extremely impressive.

And these features are the exact reason why this bike was bought 30 years ago. My father owns this bike, and the reason for this bike was bought way back in 1990. He wanted a bike that was fast, yet distinct from the sea of RX's which almost everyone owned. The added technology was the cherry on the top. This led to a Black coloured KB100 entering our garage.

This bike has travelled over 40k kilometres in its 30 years, with most of it being spent either in Kerala or in the streets of Delhi. One of my earlier automobile memories comes from this bike. Every time my family used to go out, we would go on the bike, with me sitting on the fuel tank, enjoying the breeze as the bike cruises through Delhi streets, back when Delhi was a much cleaner place than what is today, almost 14 - 15 years ago. It is also the first bike I learnt to ride on, making it extra special for me.

The bike was generally reliable before it eventually suffered a problem related to its accelerator which could not be fixed for months. As time passed, I forgot about the bike, something which is still one of the biggest mistakes I had done. The Pandemic meant that I was not even stepping outside my house, so for a period of almost 1 1/2 years, the bike was sitting static at my earlier Mechanic's place. It was now a shell of a vehicle, not even starting properly.

As the pandemic life started to become our new normal, I decided to start restoring the bike, with the help of my Father. My previous mechanic managed to get the bike running, but certainly did not do a good job at it, with the vehicle having frequent power losses and abruptly stopping and never starting at the oddest of times.

But fate works in odd ways. Not even a day after my bike lets me down and me almost contemplating selling it, I get in touch with the mechanic who fixed this exact bike 30 years ago, till the time the bike left Kerala. He sees my bike and helps me fix it. The bike at this stage was not even in the best of condition but was way better than the mess which my previous mechanic made.

2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100-whatsapp-image-20211118-8.12.40-pm.jpeg

This is how the bike looked like after almost a year and a half without any use. The Bike, since it was not being used for a long time was kept indoors, so surprisingly did not suffer any rusting, but still was not in a drivable condition. This was taken during a time where its centrifugal valve was not available. I may have gone to almost all scrapyards in the city in an attempt to get this part, or if possible even the entire engine, as a lot of parts were required. A chance stop in the outskirts, at a scrapyard months later led to me finally getting the part.

2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100-whatsapp-image-20211118-8.18.22-pm.jpeg

This was the condition of the bike after I had managed to get the bike running. The bike at that time had a massive power loss, with even my humble Platina running laps around this bike easily. It was so underpowered that I could not even climb a slightly sloped area at 1st gear without chances of stalling.

2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100-whatsapp-image-20211118-9.04.36-pm.jpeg

Another view of the Bike, this time from the front. A timeless, retro square headlight with yellow lightbulbs, wrong indicators (Could not find a replacement, will be replaced with the original square ones if cash is in hand), and a Chrome mudguard, which still shines well with zero rust, despite being in a coastal area (Only if RE could have the same chrome quality in their bikes, I would not have to see the T - Bird be such a rust bucket)

After handing this bike over to my new mechanic, life has been much easier. Except for one major stalling issue, which was fixed within a week (Would have been earlier but parts availability is awful for this bike), the bike has now been running smoothly. It is a rev-happy vehicle, with an excellent exhaust note. The bike easily pulls till 60, beyond which I am not pushing for now till at least a few kilometres are complete. The bike is certainly noisier than the RX's, except for performance reasons, even an exhaust chamber may not be required, since it is already loud in stock format.
As for the effort put in restoring this, it has been a lot of effort. I have spent my free time scavenging scrapyard like a 2 - Stroke consuming automotive Vulture, spent time searching and ordering parts online but of no use (Ordered a CDI unit and ended up getting something else), and constant wait to get bike parts from Marthandam or Coimbatore, even having to ask my dad to search Karol Bagh for parts whenever he was in Delhi. It has been a slightly rough ride with the bike so far, but all of this in the hopes of having a proper 2 - Stroke Experience is worth it.

The riding experience can be described into a few pros and cons -

Pros -
1. Extremely high acceleration, the bike easily picks up speed. 0 - 50 comes up without breaking a sweat, provided there is no pillion.
2. Timeless looks, the bike looks straight out of the early '90s 2 - Stroke Era.
3. Technologically advanced, has more features than RX's and Suzuki's of the time. Most of these features are usable and are not mere gimmicks, which are also very good.
4. The bike has extremely high quality, as 90% of the parts on the bike are stock, except for the engine. There has been zero rust despite almost 2 decades on the coast, and even the paint held up with zero issues for almost 25 years. The quality of the chrome used in some areas is exceptional, the mudguard and the rear grabrail have 30-year-old chrome on it that still shines better than the Chrome on my Enfield, which rusted within a few years.
5. This bike is extremely loud, even in its stock format. The Exhaust Note is sweet and excellent to hear too but on the slightly louder side.


Cons -
1. Parts availability is pathetic. Finding parts for a 30-year-old bike with average sales is pretty difficult. I'm sure getting parts for a superbike would be easier than finding parts for this bike. Every 2 stroke bike, be it the Yamaha's, Suzuki's and even the rarer bikes such as the older Yezdi/Jawa have greater spare availability than this bike.
2. The clutch and gearing of this bike is its biggest Achilles heel. The bike on paper can easily catch up, if not beat the RX. But in reality, the RX will leave this bike to dust. The gearing is clunky, and the clutch is awful to use too. This is one problem I would certainly rectify if possible.
4. Lack of a 5th Gear is also a major con. I have not pushed the bike beyond 60 regularly since the engine was just recently fixed, but the one time I did, the bike felt extremely out of steam post 65. The bike is still revving, it still has the capacity to go to a higher speed, but it is not able to, just because of a lack of gear. The KH125, the bike on which this bike is based, has a 5-speed gear, but we got 4 gears due to the bike being Indianized.
5.
'
Currently, the bike has newer number plates put on it and is awaiting a paint job. So far, you all have seen the bike in what is essentially a WIP state. With this thread, I will be going through all the aspects of restoration, starting from painting the vehicle and other aesthetic mods, to possible even performance mods if the money allows for it.

Current Pending Mods Include -
  • New Paintjob (Black Color itself, existing paint has been peeling so a new coat of paint is needed)
  • Tyres - This bike has been on its stock tires for the past 30 years, and I certainly did not want to continue on the same set of tyres, this is a change that will be made ASAP.
  • Stickering and Badging of the bike - I may upset the purists here since I am not going for the stock sticker set, instead I am deciding to go for the classic 70's Kawasaki bike style stickers, for me, it personally looks better than stock
  • Changing of Rims - The bike currently runs on spoke wheels with drums on both front and rear. My immediate plan is to replace the rear rim with a fatter Yezdi rim (Seen this on other 2 stroke bikes such as the RX and Shogun, even on a KB online), and if money permits, a set of spoke and discs from the 1st gen Pulsar

These are the pending set of mods that are to be made, and each change that will be made will be recorded here. I am hoping to update the thread soon with the fully painted and badged bike, in its full glory, complemented with excellent pictures, and even an exhaust note video. All of these will be added to the thread soon as this resto-mod project proceeds.

Last edited by TorqueMonster : 19th November 2021 at 09:06.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 07:43   #2
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Motorcycle section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today
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Old 23rd November 2021, 08:04   #3
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Oh what a rush of memories this brings. The KB 100 RTZ in black was my first two wheeler - bought in 1995 when I just turned 18, from Kawasaki’s company showroom at Wakdewadi Pune. At the time, I used to love the odometer in particular which seemed a distinct step up from all the other competition at the time. So glad I got to experience the two stroke bike era when I had the chance.

I owned it till about 2002 when it got flipped for a Yamaha Enticer which was an absolutely rubbish bike in contrast. One of the worst decisions I have made.

Next to us selling our family 800, selling this bike was a decision I regret as well. Would have loved to hold on to it for nostalgia sake.

Good luck with holding on to this for many more years. I do hope to see more pics of the bike. I will try to find some age old pics I might have and upload it here on this thread.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 09:04   #4
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Quote:
Originally Posted by TorqueMonster View Post
Current Pending Mods Include -
If I may add - Fitness Certificate from RTO as well please

It isn't that difficult these days, especially if the motorcycle is owned by you for a long time, then RTO doesn't even want to inspect the motorcycle if approached through driving school.

So, pls do consider getting FC done as well. Tks
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Old 23rd November 2021, 09:20   #5
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axe77 View Post
Good luck with holding on to this for many more years. I do hope to see more pics of the bike. I will try to find some age old pics I might have and upload it here on this thread.
Thank you Axe77, this bike is also my first bike, that too at the age of 18, just 25 years later though. I do intend to keep this bike for a long time, I have managed to get the vehicle running after a long time, and I am slowly making the bike reach back its past glory.

And please do upload photos of your bike if you have them, my dad does not have any photos of the bike with him now, or else they could have been uploaded too

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
If I may add - Fitness Certificate from RTO as well please

It isn't that difficult these days, especially if the motorcycle is owned by you for a long time, then RTO doesn't even want to inspect the motorcycle if approached through driving school.

So, pls do consider getting FC done as well. Tks
I have ensured that the paperwork on the bike is complete, now the bike has its fitness certificate, insurance and all other required documents. It was very recently renewed, probably 2 - 3 months ago.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 09:57   #6
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Great to see another 2-stroke being resurrected and put back on the streets! Do let me know if you need any new/used parts for this bike, I keep making trips to various spare parts shops and to the scrapyard from time to time, and I'd love to help in any way possible since parts availability in Bangalore is probably slightly better than elsewhere.
Since the time I've put up my thread, I've also managed to sort out some major niggles on the bike and have completed two small road trips. Attaching a picture.
Looking forward to more updates on this thread!
2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100-cover.jpg
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Old 23rd November 2021, 12:00   #7
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

KB 100 has its own charm and I was really close to buying one but It was lying unused for 2-3 years and I couldn't get it started. That bike is still available but parts availablity remains a question.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 12:28   #8
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
Great to see another 2-stroke being resurrected and put back on the streets! Do let me know if you need any new/used parts for this bike, I keep making trips to various spare parts shops and to the scrapyard from time to time, and I'd love to help in any way possible since parts availability in Bangalore is probably slightly better than elsewhere.
Since the time I've put up my thread, I've also managed to sort out some major niggles on the bike and have completed two small road trips. Attaching a picture.
Looking forward to more updates on this thread!
Attachment 2236030
Thanks a lot, Boniver, and your Max 100 is also an extremely underrated 2 stroke bike.
And also a big thank you for offering to help with spares. But thankfully I do now have a source for spares, and I'm also close to procuring a scrap KB100, which will be used as a parts vehicle. So thankfully, I have no shortage of spares now.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 13:53   #9
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Not in line with the topic, but wanted to note here. I own a Hero Honda CD100 bought in dec 1987. Still on its ORIGINAL silencer and fuel tank, after 3,20,000km. Had to make some welds on the silencer at the end joining to the engine and on the tank where the seat souches it. Still in reasonable condition, though not used much after 2009.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 15:14   #10
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Quote:
Originally Posted by utkarshshukla92 View Post
KB 100 has its own charm and I was really close to buying one but It was lying unused for 2-3 years and I couldn't get it started. That bike is still available but parts availability remains a question.
Yes, the uniqueness which the KB has over other bikes is certainly very high. But, if you are unable to get parts for the bike, I think it is better if you indeed avoid it. This bike has often stayed idle for weeks on end, because of waits in parts, thankfully the bike is completely fixed now so I'm not facing such a problem.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 20:15   #11
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Quote:
Originally Posted by TorqueMonster View Post
But other than these bikes, there was another competitor, brought to India in collaboration with Bajaj, the Kawasaki KB100. This is easily one of the most underrated bikes in India which was sold.

One big standout point which the KB100 had over its competitors is that of features. It had so many stand out features when compared to all of its competitors. We may be used to seeing these features as standard even on the most basic commuters, but for almost 30 years ago, features such as that of an engine kill switch, and RPM Meter with fuel gauge, bike having the highest wheelbase are all impressive.

I had a newer version of this bike - KB125. That was my first bike - bought sometimes in 1997.
Production of RX100, RTZ100 and also Suzuki AX100 were stopped by that time due to newer emission norms and newer versions were out - RXG135, KB125 and Suzuki Samurai !

I was sold on KB125 after reading one rave review in Car and Bike Magazine by Mr Adil Jal Daruwala. And after doing a spec comparison of available new generation two stroke bikes, I picked up a red KB125 from a Bajaj showroom, which was a walking distance away from my residence!

My initial ownership was marred by lots of niggles like accelerator cable broke, continuous noise in from engine even after running in was done, sometimes knocking in the engine, electrical issues like light bulb getting fused, battery not charging etc. These many issues and with indifferent Bajaj service it was not a good experience.

However, after Bajaj shifted their service center far away from my residence, I could get one FNG, which was run by a mechanic who incidentally worked with Bajaj service center earlier. He took great care of my bike and I could really enjoy the riding. Some niggles never got fixed, but bike put a wide smile on my face at each green light and I could give run for money to all RXs and Shoguns

Surprisingly KB125 had a DC horn but headlight was connected to dynamo, and needed engine to be running to switch on the light.

My dad sold off the bike in 2003 while I was away in US as he could neither use it nor maintain it

I have mixed memory of the bike, but as time passes more of the fond memories remain.

Your thread helped me in recalling my earlier riding memories, thanks a lot

Wish you all the best in maintaining and retaining your machine.

JLS

Last edited by JLS : 23rd November 2021 at 20:20.
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Old 24th November 2021, 13:44   #12
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Ahh...Old memories of 2 stroke bikes. even before max 100, shogun & Samurai, there was the time of TVS Suzuki AX100. My father bought one in 1988 and I can still hear it's distinguished engine sound in my mind among all the Rajduts & Chetaks in my neighborhood. I learnt to ride first on it and used it as daily ride until my graduation. the power & acceleration was awesome though the top speed was limited. it had the 'IND Suzuki' engine, probably imported from Japan and was highly reliable.

However one bike which I always craved to ride right from my school days was Yamaha RXZ. It was equivalent to the modern day superbike in a small town where I lived. unfortunately 2 stroke bikes were phased in favor of 4 stroke engine & I never got to buy one when I crossed age of 18 so i never got to buy one.

Our AX100 was used by my father until the day it was sold to its new owner in 2017. but how I wish I had advised him against it. our bike was in pristine condition till the day it was in use & could have been a good bike to have fun on.
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2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100-ax100.jpg  

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Old 24th November 2021, 15:44   #13
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Default Re: 2-Stroke Fun | My Kawasaki KB100

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9216 View Post
Not in line with the topic, but wanted to note here. I own a Hero Honda CD100 bought in dec 1987. Still on its ORIGINAL silencer and fuel tank, after 3,20,000km. Had to make some welds on the silencer at the end joining to the engine and on the tank where the seat souches it. Still in reasonable condition, though not used much after 2009.
The CD100 was another classic of the time. It is not a 2 Stroke, but certainly an important vehicle as it was very fuel-efficient, making it excellent for the masses. Great to hear that your vehicle is still holding on for almost 30 years and 3.2 Lakh Kilometers (My entire garage total running would barely cross 1.5Lakh), a testament to how good your bike is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLS View Post
I had a newer version of this bike - KB125. That was my first bike - bought sometimes in 1997.
Production of RX100, RTZ100 and also Suzuki AX100 were stopped by that time due to newer emission norms and newer versions were out - RXG135, KB125 and Suzuki Samurai!

I was sold on KB125 after reading one rave review in Car and Bike Magazine by Mr Adil Jal Daruwala. And after doing a spec comparison of available new generation two stroke bikes, I picked up a red KB125 from a Bajaj showroom, which was a walking distance away from my residence!

Your thread helped me in recalling my earlier riding memories, thanks a lot

Wish you all the best in maintaining and retaining your machine.

JLS
Thank you JLS, and will certainly take care of this bike well. It's great to hear about the experiences which you had with the KB125.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strider24 View Post
Ahh...Old memories of 2 stroke bikes. even before max 100, shogun & Samurai, there was the time of TVS Suzuki AX100. My father bought one in 1988 and I can still hear it's distinguished engine sound in my mind among all the Rajduts & Chetaks in my neighborhood. I learnt to ride first on it and used it as daily ride until my graduation. the power & acceleration was awesome though the top speed was limited. it had the 'IND Suzuki' engine, probably imported from Japan and was highly reliable.

However one bike which I always craved to ride right from my school days was Yamaha RXZ. It was equivalent to the modern day superbike in a small town where I lived. unfortunately 2 stroke bikes were phased in favor of 4 stroke engine & I never got to buy one when I crossed age of 18 so i never got to buy one.

Our AX100 was used by my father until the day it was sold to its new owner in 2017. but how I wish I had advised him against it. our bike was in pristine condition till the day it was in use & could have been a good bike to have fun on.
Great to hear about your experiences with one of the most earliest 2 - Stroke bikes. The AX 100 is certainly a very rare bike now, its great to know that you owned this bike for a very long period of time.

And as for the RXZ, it is also one of my favourite bikes, if not for already having a KB, I would love to own an RXZ, but the prices for it are certainly high, even a barely running condition bike in Kerala will go upwards of a Lakh.
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