Kawasaki is of the most influential motorcycle brands in the world, and I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Ninja name. I’m sure that at some point we’ve sat on at least one Ninja. Failing that, I’m sure that we’ve at least seen a few to a dozen Ninjas around town, in the twisties, or on the race track, but you probably have never seen a Ninja in this state, or not.
Unless you restore motorcycles for a living or you have a friend that’s really bad at taking care of his bike, or for whatever reason, one must question just how much neglect did this 1989 Kawasaki ZX-4R go through just to get it to rot as bad as this. Rust is everywhere and the whole bike is dyed with oxidation from head to tail, and it’s in a very sorry state. Luckily, The Restorator was there to help bring back this historic sportbike from the Green Team, back to life.
It all starts with a crate. It was a bit of an unboxing experience, to say the least, and the box was in a ton better shape compared to the motorcycle. It appears that the bike actually was ridden for a while, and it’s likely that the previous owner had a bit of fun turning it into a streetfighter before he eventually left it out in the open to rot. There was no trace of the old sportbike's original fairings at all, so a workaround had to be figured out by The Restorator.
There’s a round headlight, the engine is way beyond its exterior factory finish, and there’s no battery in sight. It’s quite shocking that the motorcycle’s starter and wiring harness was still working and all it took to get it cranking was a new battery. Even with a little starter fluid, the bike still refused to start and turn over all the way. There were a few signs of life, but more work needed to be done before the ZX-4R was to breathe freely.
After checking the state of the engine, it is time to get to work to fully disassemble the motorcycle. Derusting every single bolt, unbending every radiator fin, polishing and refreshing every part took the better part of an hour, and to think that the video was already sped up.
The rest of the video is pretty straightforward. All the parts get sanded down, blasted with primer, and sprayed with paint, and everything finds its way back together and on the bike. New fluids are loaded up into their reservoirs and voila we have a restored and running motorcycle. It’s not the most perfect restoration job in the world, but getting all that rust off and getting the bike running was indeed quite the journey for The Restorator.