Make new bikes, but keep the old.
While I’m sure many of us spent time in 2020 reliving great memories of happier times, most of us aren’t also Allen Millyard. As such, we don’t have all kinds of personal memories of building the Millyard Kawasaki Z1 1600 V8 back in the early 2000s. Luckily, the one and only Allen Millyard just released a video taking all the rest of us through the process.
Now, if you’re at all familiar with Millyard’s work, you already know that his builds are in a class of their own. Without exception, the man decides what extreme changes he wants to make to an engine, and then he strips them down to all their constituent parts to figure out his road maps. Need to shave a few millimeters off of stock connecting rods to make everything fit together nicely? It’s all just a bit of simple math and machining to Millyard.
Got a stock carburetor you want to shorten up, and it’s a Mikuni slide unit, so you’ll need to adjust the slide length accordingly, too? More math, more machining (including thread machining, of course), and it’s as tidy as anyone could ask for. Have Sharpie, will modify engine internals! There’s a whole lot of magic in his brain, and it’s an absolute thrill that he’s happy to share it with the world in such detail.
While it’s true that most of what you’ll see in this video are build photos taken during various stages of this process, it’s probably one of the most interesting slideshows you’ll ever see. The completed bike now sits in the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama, and the one regret Millyard has is that he doesn’t have any great running videos of it. He did include one brief clip from a TV show back right after he’d built it, but it’s extremely short, and you don’t get the joy of hearing it run for very long.