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The Tourer Transformation Continues

Blog Date 11 March 2024

The next present to arrive for the Kawasaki Z400 tourer transformation are crash bars. I have crash bobbins on Envy because that's all I could get for her. But not only do I have the option of a crash bars for Etsuko - once again I have a choice! This is really new to me this choice thing when it comes to bike accessories.  

On offer is a choice between SW Motech and Hepco & Becker. Both are a similar price of around £170 so it really is down to preference. Now if you have read my blog for a long time you may recall I didn't fare well with Hepco & Becker in the past. Their name still creates some discomfort to my inner being. The lack of promised C-Bows for the Z250SL still haunts me. Admittedly without their failure to produce proper luggage the wonder that is Tour-A-Plank would not exist but Hepco & Becker did let me down.
For that reason I am more drawn to SW Motech. However closer inspection shows that the SW Motech consists of two separate bars. The Hepco & Becker bars appear to be joined together between the 2 sides. This would suggest the Hepko & Becker bars may have greater strength and less likelihood of twisting if the bike went for a long hard slide. So if Hepco & Becker appear to be the better choice then maybe it is time to let bygones be bygones. Best not to cut off my nose to spite my face or in this case not to sacrifice my engine, so the Hepco and Becker crash bars are purchased.
Well at least I thought I had ordered the crash bars. Subsequent inspection of my order showed I had ordered the wrong part. Dooh! For a digital support officer I sure can be inept by clicking on the wrong button. Fortunately I managed to speak to a human being via the distributor Motor Legends and the guys there were just fab. All bikers themselves, the staff were really friendly and sorted out my error straight away and reordered the correct part for me. As these parts come all the way from Germany it would have been a timely delay and possibly also a costly one to have received the wrong part and had to return due to user error.
The crash bars duly arrived. It was good to see a Hepco & Becker product in the flesh and they lived up to the German engineering reputation for excellence. Beautifully crafted, easily installed and a perfect fit for the Z400 - I was impressed. Ok Hepco & Becker all is forgiven. 

The black bars from Hepco & Becker seen from the right of the Z400
On the left of the bike the bars and fixings can be seen
We can see the bars join each other across the front of the engine
There's an old joke that you know you're in heaven if the cooks are Italian and the engineering is German.

The next week more wonderful parcels continued to arrive, all for ME. I was just having the best of times trotting to the front door to then discover what delights were contained in the various brown boxed parcels. Bike transformation is GO.  

One such present included a new helmet at a cost of £185. It is a touring accessory ok just accept it. My present helmet mists up badly in the rain and refuses to stay open even a crack to aid in demisting so you know I needed a new one. Come on folks I am on a roll here keep with me ok.
Other parcels contained such delights of BarkBusters handguards, with extra wind deflecting extenders - £115. A Puig screen same again at £115. Pyramid Plastics fender extenders, front and rear £57, and new tank pads £25.  

The tank pads were the easiest of the new accessories to fit, no surprise there.
The fenders extenders were easy enough to install but were just a little fiddly. A case of sticking on the supplied sticky pads in the correct places, getting the extender to align with the original mudguard, clamping and waiting for the sticky pads to stick it all together overnight. 

The screen initially confused us both but once we learned our right from our left and our up from our down we got that in place just fine. The only bespoke Z400 screen available for my bike was the Puig. Alas no other choice here and the only one in stock was a green one. 

Initially I thought the green screen would be a good nod to Kawasaki and add a bit more green to the bike. After installing it I am none too sure it was the correct choice. Ok admittedly I had no choice but I would if I possessed something akin to patience, maybe waiting until other colour options were available? But fully committed to the not overthinking and obsessing over everything new way of thinking then I didn't wait around. Maybe I will learn to repent at leisure but for now it is fitted. 

I may grow to like it more. I don't hate it but neither do I love it. That said I don't like any screens, they are another UGLY accessory. And yet they are one that makes a world of difference when riding at motorway speeds on a naked bike. In the winter with a good gale force wind hitting you with all its might you just might get to stay sat on the bike with a screen fitted. Comfort over beauty once again. Oh dear, I'm getting old. 

The screen on the Z400 attaches from the clocks and rises to protect the rider
Well at least the squashed greenflies wont show up

The handguards prove the most challenging. We found it difficult to actually remove the original bar end weights. Once we realise that you just have to damage the plastic inserts/retainers within the bars and apply brute force rather than try to ease the ends out carefully well then the job was a lot easier. Gentle folks we are, it is not natural for to us to bash and break, but there is no preserving the inserts. They are made in such a way that they have to be broken to be removed and so they were.
Once the inserts were removed fitting the handguards proved relatively easy. Luckily no wires or other equipment was in the way to hinder the attachments. Having two attachment points. one to the bar end the other to the bars themselves give a very robust protection.

The barkbusters are metal protection with plastic deflectors around the levers on the bike
We can see the metal wrap around protecting the levers
Sturdy piece of kit.

To be continued - that's right, we're not finished yet folks.

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Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
She looks a beaut and those bars and the Barkbusters look the bizz.
Screen, meh, I'd have to see it in the flesh. It certainly wouldn't keep me awake at night. Nothing does though.
If you are a fan of a clean pipe Sharon then Silvo from Sainsburys or Asda brings them up quite nice and it makes them easier to keep clean afterwards. It takes a bit of effort but is was probably easier than I thought it would be on the STrom. It's effectively what we all knew as Duraglit. I think one tin will last a lifetime. Unless you own a Harley.
I know some handlebars have a hole in them where you have to do some'at to release the end weights, but you've solved that problem already.
Keep us posted.

20/03/2024 10:08:36 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Interesting how our tastes differ. I think modern bikes look awful - all sharp edges, acute angles, bits apparently stuck on anywhere, seats way up in the air. Not to mention colour schemes that fry my eyeballs. But it is good that no-one else likes the bikes I do so I can get them cheap(ish). One I came across on my current search was this SWM (pic below) which I think looks very attractive. But I imagine many would find it bland and boring.

I have to say that the BSA/Zuke is a trifle "bitty" but as it is made out of 2 bikes with 40 years and 12,000 miles between them possibly not surprising.

Just had news that my insurance claim has been approved so that's good. It will more than cover the 2 bikes I've gone for, and both are old enough to be covered under the same policy with agreed value. And RH, my insurers, don't charge for amendments to the policy which is a good thing!

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20/03/2024 17:07:07 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I think that's a beaut too, although the fuel tank shows a lot of the headstock, like you've put a 125 tank on a 400....which is probably exactly what they did.
I think most bikes for me are "growers", they have to earn my respect in all situations over a period of time. The looks are probably a little unimportant, it's more the end result.
Someone asked me recently what I thought of my new (Sept 23) 4 wheeled contrivance. My reply....ask me in 5 years, it's just a car, if it costs me little and carries out its duties with aplomb there'll be no complaints from me.
20/03/2024 18:43:48 UTC
Bogger said :-
Keep spending Sharon. I bet Ren is like quivering wreck.

20/03/2024 21:02:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Upt' - we've added some more images of the barkbusters for your perusing pleasure.

Bogger - yes I am quite traumatised.
20/03/2024 21:23:38 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
They look decent, like something that will actually save your bacon if or when a tumble occurs.
Mine are just the normal oem plastic whatsamythingymabobs, and although they keep your hands toasty and out of the way of errant stones I would anticipate little tip over protection.
You kids and money, ya know how to spend it.
21/03/2024 09:15:49 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ Sharon , a nice range of useful accessories you've added there, I always reckon the cost is irrelevant because if / when the time comes to sell the bike the items can be removed without really affecting the bikes value and sold separately or in the case of the handguards fitted to another bike.
I've never used puig screens but they seem to have a good reputation aerodynamically and the green colour will induce Zen like levels of calmness leading to a more enjoyable biking experience....

@ Ian , I never really heard of SWM before but they're an Italian manufacturer? Looks good to me in an Enfield HNTR 350 sort of way
21/03/2024 11:33:24 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
SWM were a very successful competition manufaturer back in the day specialising in scramblers. This is another mainly Chinese bike - not sure about the basis of the engine (400cc single I believe) but it's not an XBR copy. That example is on ebay for £2995 with only a few hundred miles on the clock. Seems cheap to me.
21/03/2024 12:01:21 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ian just seen this, the " New US built Janus Gryffin 450".... is the engine familiar?
Only £10.5k.

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21/03/2024 15:36:43 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
According to Janus' own website -
"The Gryffin weighs 330 pounds, and our single-cylinder 445cc motor provides the ample get-up-and-go. Derived from the famous XR400 enduro motor, the SWM-designed powerplant shines off-pavement with good torque and joy-inspiring accelration."
22/03/2024 07:49:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Prices start around $13,500. I could have 2 brand new CB500Xs for that. I think I'll pass thanks.
22/03/2024 07:52:07 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Not to mention the fact that it's hideous (to my eyes anyway) and you'd burn your leg every time you rode it. The SWM looks a far better bet. Interesting design choices however with the leading link front fork.

I think there must be a lot of people out there who just want something different to make them seem like interesting people. I'll probably be able to flog them the Buzuki when I'm tired of it.
22/03/2024 10:09:05 UTC
Lesrev said :-
The SWM looks like my kind of bike.. but I haven’t got the money!

Remember SWM when they were a ‘proper’ British comp bike manufacturer.
29/05/2024 20:04:13 UTC

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