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Origainally published in International Motorcycle, January 2003 Vol.13/Iss.1

The 'Second' Hindle Bike

By Steve Bond


One of the more famous motorcycles to wear the coveted Canadian Superbike Number One plate is Lang Hindle’s Kawasaki KZ1000. Not many people know it but Lang actually had two identical Kawasakis that shared the burden of being Numero Uno. Both equipped with the legendary Eddie Lawson S-1 Factory racing engine.

Bar Hodgson, Chairman of the Canadian Motorcycle Heritage Museum, through a long involved process, tracked down and resurrected both of the Hindle Superbikes, making them a unique addition to the museum’s competition collection. One Kawasaki was virtually a time capsule in running order, but the second KZ finally breathed life again just last summer.

Lang Hindle and his former Superbike
"Lang prepares his former Superbike for another test run."

"The plan was for Lang Hindle to actually race this machine at the Vintage Road Racing Association (VRRA) festival at Mosport in August', adds Hodgson. 'But he was called away for an important meeting in the US at the last minute. Peter Derry, Supershow's Vice President of Sales raced Kawasaki Superbikes in the early 1980s, so I thought it was appropriate that Peter ride the newest 'Hindle' restoration for his Vintage Racing debut."

Toronto resident Bob McLea, who held an Expert roadracing license himself in the 1970s, got the second bike after Hindle had turned it into the 'ultimate' street bike. I actually saw this motorcycle several years ago in McLea's back yard, sandwiched between a pair of modified CBXs and had no idea of its pedigree.

Bar made it a priority project to get the second motorcycle operating and committed all of the museum’s substantial resources into accomplishing this goal. ‘I had to chase a lot of the stuff down myself,’ says Hodgson. "McLea had taken the rear wheel off the Superbike and grafted it onto one of his CBXs. The motor was in storage with a damaged head and many of the special parts were in unlabeled boxes. I’ve got to give Bob a lot of credit though, if guys like him hadn’t kept this stuff, it wouldn’t be here today."

The Hindle bikes are not pristine restorations but retain the delightful patina of working motorcycles; thoroughbreds destined for the racetrack wars, not for lounging around a sterile showroom. Both bikes are outfitted with Morris mag wheels on the back and Dymags on the front. Lang explained, "The Morris rear handled the horsepower better and was much more crash resistant."

The second bike required a substantial amount of re & re before it was trackworthy. Supershow's Competition Manager Ken Livingstone explains. "We tore the engine down and discovered that everything was in pretty good shape except the cam chain and cylinder head. We replaced the cam chain and threw in a new set of rings as well. I replaced a few seals and small parts in the bottom end and Steve Crover did a great job finalizing the repair of the damaged head for us."

The Second Hindle Bike
"Not bad for a guy who hasn’t raced in twenty years."

Ken says the ultra rare factory S-1 motor is surprisingly stock. "It has the twin-plug, full race cylinder head, but it's still only 998cc - not the 1015cc mill. When Peter rode the bike at Mosport, it even had the original 33mm Mikuni Smooth Bore carbs with 31mm restrictor sleeves as mandated by period Superbike rules. After the event we strapped it onto the Hindle Exhaust Systems dyno and got 104 rear wheel horsepower. We then mounted some identical, but un-restricted carbs and got another 5 hp. But there’s probably another six or eight available if when we fiddle with timing and jetting."

The only 'modern' part on this motorcycle is the exhaust. "Lang was very supportive and made a modern 4-into-1 stainless steel system with aluminum canister for it. He also duplicated the original tach bracket and fork tube ears to mount the number plate."

VRRA rules prohibit slick tires so Avon AM22 and AM23 vintage-racing rubber was fitted, the rear in a 150-section. "I was impressed with the tires," Derry says. "I had a few slides but they were predictable and very easily controlled."

Both Superbikes have close-ratio 5 speed boxes with a tall first gear requiring some clutch slipping to get going from a standstill. Peter notes, "This bike has a VERY tall first gear, which made it difficult to get off the line."

"At first I thought the suspension felt very soft," says Derry. "Especially for Mosport but then I figured that Lang knew what he was doing so I left it alone and rode it the way it was. They feel tippy until you ride them hard, and then the harder you ride them, the better they work."

Front brakes are Lockheed two piston calipers gripping cast iron discs made by Hindle himself. Lang said the slots cut in the disc were from trial and error. When the brakes got hot, one side of the disc would get hotter than the other and the discs would warp. After he machined the slots, it allowed the rotors to expand at their own rates and the warping stopped.

VRRA rules allow motorcycles up to 1982 in Period 3 and the scene was set for a ding-dong battle in the final. Derry was aboard the Museums S-1 Kawasaki 'Hindle' bike and Livingstone was riding the Museum’s ex 'Eric Buell' Yamaha TZ750, the same bike I rode to a win in the Master's class.

Ken and Peter quickly checked out from the rest of the field and the two battled tooth and nail for the lead. 'The TZ had quite a bit of motor on the KZ up the backstraight,' Derry notes. 'But I started concentrating on getting a good drive out of the hairpin as Ken was having trouble keeping the Yamaha’s front wheel on the ground coming out of turn 5b and then spinning up the rear wheel in turn 6, causing him to back off a little.

They were neck and neck coming out of turn ten on the last lap and Derry and Livingstone squirted through lappers to a dead heat. A review call by the VRRA Officials announced that Peter had won the race by inches.

Peter was thrilled. "I had one huge moment when I touched the sidestand lug down in the chute but it's a tribute to the bike’s stability that it didn’t do anything drastic. (Note - the offending lug that had been welded on when the bike was streetable has since been removed) I hadn’t raced since 1983 and it felt pretty good. My lap timer showed my best lap as 1:36.57, which is a new unofficial Mosport vintage lap record."

It was a fairy tale finish for Peter and for the museum's legendary race bikes and Hodgson adds, "To see Lang’s bike win another race after almost 20 years made the entire effort worthwhile."



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