The KX420 that never was
I bought a KX420 parts bike from Ebay a couple years back. It was mostly complete so I was looking at it as a project bike. I got it home, tore it apart, assessed it and put it away. I got as far as painting the frame up and repairing the front rim. Then I figured I would keep an eye out for a top end. The top end was on this bike, but there’s no way it ever ran in the condition that it was in. Someone had torn it down and cleaned it up and put it together loosely so that it would look complete, but the electrofusion plating was all gone, and the piston was a dinged up mess. Useless.
Then, I found out how impossible it is to get pistons for it. They only made it two years, and thanks to the stupid miserable coating issue, Kawasaki only ever made one size piston. You couldn’t bore the damn thing. I saw a piston go by on Ebay for over 300 dollars with no rings. One option was to sleeve the cylinder, but then you still have the problem finding pistons. I guess if money had been no object, I could have gotten it done but as always with me, money IS an object. Some dude on Ebay figured out that a snow mobile piston rings would work so you can get cheap rings. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what weird piston might fit.
The suspension was clapped out as well. The linkage bearings were all hammered. Non existant. I actually found the stupid spherox bearings in Japan for $95 a piece. That would have been 300 to fix the LINKAGE.
I sat on the damn thing for 3 years hoping to luck upon some parts, but it was not to be. When I got the YZ465, I promptly sold some of the KX parts, and I threw the rest away. (What is WRONG with me?) Nah, this KX420 was a piece of crap. Im convinced the guy who sold it to me put it together out of the worst parts he could find. When I went to sell the parts on Ebay, almost everything had issues as I looked closely to give good descriptions. The cases were all dinged up and broken, the rear shock was busted out, the foot pegs were shredded, the rear axle was seized….I should have looked at it closer when I went to pick it up years ago---then kicked the guy in the nuts and left. Yeah, I'm somewhat bitter. I think because I spent a couple years agonizing about how to get this thing going. It was actually a great mental relief when i got rid of most of it. A little sour grapes? Maybe.
Ive seen KX400 pistons break 300 dollars on Ebay as well. Some guy used to have them made somehow by Wiseco and then he would sell them but I think he died or something. I have emailed Wiseco several times to tell them what a market there is for vintage pistons but they never even bothered to respond. No, they wouldn’t sell a million KX400 or 420 pistons, but they could sell them for $300 Id bet. Help us old timers out, you know, Wiseco, the ones who have been buying your pistons faithfully all these years!
All in all, I made my money back from the 420, and I kept the aluminum rims for my Bighorn!UPDATE: In a 'typical for my life' fashion, the fellow who has the pistons answered a 3 YEAR OLD email like 2 weeks after my web page update here and tells me he has the pistons for the 420. LOL!!! If I had gotten that email a month earlier, I would not have bought the YZ465. Oh well. I sort of think he saw my update on this page about throwing the 420 away and decided to have some fun with me. Well played. Well played. ;-) I'll call you when I need a 400 piston! LOL!