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Bringing back my Kat1100

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  • Bringing back my Kat1100

    I thought I'd post here as this can be pertinent to all.
    I bought my '91 Kat 1100 back in '98 for $3200. It had 4100miles, original Metzlers were still on it. I'll skip ahead to '4/2011...
    That was a bad time for that kat, I bought my new '11 Concours 14.
    The Kat had vacuum leaks and other issues. The C14 was vastly superior in every way (power, mpg, comfort, luggage, handling, etc).
    The kat sat in the garage, collecting dust.

    I recently decided to either fix it up or get rid of it. I decided to fix it up.
    This bike will never be as a good as a modern bike. But, it can make it better than it was new. And new, it was the world's fastest bike!
    So here's what I have done:
    I want this bike to run better, handle better, be more responsive, ride better than new. Not by a lot, just a little better all around. That's my objective. And, keep under $1000. Here's what I have done:

    Suspension: it was totally beat! For suspension stuff, there is not much for the big kat. I got a yss set of new fork springs/new shock with matching spring. Yes, it didn't have the piggy back cartridge that the stocker had. But it was matching stuff, brand new, properly valved. The stock springs are half the thickness they should be for a bike this weight, plus they have a 2" spacer! Yuck. The stock shock had no gas in it. FWIW, I found this in UK, it was $482 delivered.

    Tires- It killed me to replace the radials on there; they don't make them anymore in these sizes. The tires on the bike were super hard, one was 8 years old, the other 10. I replaced them with Metzler lasertecs. When they bike came out, reviews made big hay on how it was the first suzi bike since the x85 to have non japanese tires. They worked well then and now... well, back in '09, they improved them with a silica infused rubber compound. On they went!


    Carbs: Run FP kit. I live at 4700' so I run one size jet smaller. The bike tends to be buzzy so I installed motion pro permanent vacuum port nozzles on it. Doing a carb synch can be done easily and quickly. Carb was turned to 49 state specs. Stock air filter.

    Exhaust: I run a Kerker 4-1. Yes, they made one. Back when I got this bike, Dennis Kirk sold three systems for this bike- a gorgeous ss Yoshimura 4-2-1 system, Kerker and V&H. The Yosh was over $600 so I got the $400 and something kerker.

    Ignition: Got an advancer and 49 state ingniter. Have dyna coils, powered by relays for more voltage. Use iridium spark plugs, gap widened to .9

    Headlight- 80/100w non coated, got relays going to it for an extra 3volts.

    Handlebars- Gel grips with grip puppies (I hate vibrations!).

    Body- I had it repainted in honda milano red a long time ago, with tapeworks
    decals. One area is cracking down on the fairing, I'll repaint in spring. I repainted the forks stainless steel, covered with vinyl protectant film.

    Windscreen- lubed it, still works!!!

    Chain- I have tried lower sprocket in rear and didn't like it, have RK chain/sprocket set, stock gearing.
    Here's something ALL should look into!!!
    The stock rubber hub spacers were so worn/shrunken that I could move the sprockett with my finger. I replaced them with sensai poly spacers.WOW!!!
    Before, it felt like the bike had a chain was too loose, very jerky. Now, power feels more instant, yet it doesn't feel harsh at all.Hub bushings are like tetnus shots; if you don't know when you last changed them, you need them!

    Oil- Lubrimoly 10-50. I like the thick stuff as it sounds smoother. Its a real syn (not fake group III stuff), better for summer driving.

    Seat- Use a corbin, much more comfy than stock.

    Brakes- run ss lines, high temp Redline brake fluid, and organic pads. Brake feel is really good.

    I took it for ride- awful! The preload up front was off, the front tire had 55lbs of air, the rear had 35lbs (I should have checked them when I got them back).
    The bike's rear was high in the air, but yss claimed that they set it for my bike. I guess with the stock spring, it was so worn it just sagged. When I turned the nut on the resovoir, no air came out. I rode again, with less preload in front, proper air pressure

    Initial findings- bike runs great. I'll confess that I won't ride it much in the near future. The tires are new, it has been in the low 40's here lately, might snow tues and combined with me leaving for Australia this fri, I don't want to jinx things.
    I will say it looks like it will find use as an enjoyable around town bike and maybe an occasional day trip.

    Future mods- I feel that the main jets are too lean, the size below are too rich. A new gas station will be opening new near my house that has alcohol free regular gas, that might be what I need, plus could give an extra 4 hp!

    I like how this bike has lots of motor noises not muted by H20 cooling. I also like how it is narrow, a breeze to split lanes. And, in the morning, the smell of exhaust, not sanitized by a catalytic convertor, greets me!
    Last edited by DClark; 12-22-2018, 10:49 PM.

  • #2
    What, no porn ?
    You spam bot !
    My Katana-1100 17" wheel swap


    • #3
      Sorry, I think my bike is more worthy to ride.
      I did a little read of the Ninja 1000. With bags , itís around $14k, 1/4 mile in 10.6.
      While my kat 1100 doesnít have all the driving modes and electronic gizmos, it has the same luggage ( or better) capacity as the ninja with my chase Harper soft bags.
      And in the 1/4, my bike might match or beat it. bike is looking better already!9


      • #4
        Fix it up and ride it, great to see another 1100 on the road.


        • #5
          I rode it briefly before Xmas for an errand, road again for longer time.
          At first I thought the yss shock was a little too stiff, now I think itís perfect . Bumps are felt but they are muted. It feels like a much newer bike now. I recommend this setup, and hey, it was $482 for new shock/springs and fork springs . The rear shock lacks remote resovoir and compression adj like stocker, but itís setup well and should outlast a rebuilt shock ( in case I went that route)
          I had an issue in pass where if entered a freeway real hard, bike would pop out of first and into neutral. It didnít do that at all today. I donít know if itís the oil or, maybe those new hub bushings . The old ones were so shot that you turn the sprocket with a finger while it sat in wheel.
          The new poly ones I got are great. Feels like a better connection between motor and rear wheel. I recommend them.
          I drove the bike to get another mod that should give 4% better mpg and hp. A new gas station opened that carries ethanol free gas! My bike was running ok, despite having Stabil treated two month old e10 regular in it. I put 3 gallons of ďpure gasĒ in it and it seems to like it. I noticed the idle dropped a little then went back up at a stop so Iíll lean it a bit. Iím at 2.25 turns , but Iíll try 2.0. It was 38 degrees too.


          • #6
            Good to kniw the shock is working out, I might go that route at some point.
            also - you still in CA? And found ethanol free fuel??
            1998 Katana 750
            1992 Katana 1100
            2006 Ninja 250

            2006 Katana 600 RIP - 130k miles


            • #7
              California? I left that state 26 years ago. I live in Sparks,NV.
              There are a couple of stations in the area that sell it. Itís called ďpure gasĒ, the pump handle is blue. Itís 87 oct, costs almost
              as much as 91 e10.