Gunners Garage

HOPALONG HANDLEBARS

With gas prices going through the roof, just before the Iola Old Car Show I decided that a two-wheeler would come in handy at times. Now, you have to understand that I still like old thing and — as a kid — Hopalong Cassidy was my hero. So I went on eBay and bid on a jet black 1940 Indian motorcycle with a fringed seat and a set of Kaiser baags that look like they came from Hopalong’s white pony.It’s unrestored and about as nice as a 68-year-old unrestored bike could be expected to be.

Next, we hit the Iola Show and there were bikes everywhere. We decided to look for one for my son Jesse. After finding lots of taped up wires, rusty frames and missing titles, we found a ’77 Kawasaki KZ200 that a vendor was getting ready to take home. Jesse had $30 and I dug up $100 in my wallet, then we both dug into our pockets and found an additional $20. It was honestly all we had at that point, but the vendor didn’t want to drag the bike home, so he sold it to us for the grand sum of $150.

Since that day in early July, the handsome Indian has been sitting. But every night we do a kittle sprucing up on the KZ200. So far we got a shop manual, an assembly manual, a missing side cover and a correct chrome front fender. We have cleaned lots of mud, painted the frame, polished the engine and even had it running. Which goes to show that classics are great, but a cheap fix-me-up bike can be lots more fun.

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