Grand Designs part five - flying speedos and profitable exhausts

ZZR600 speedo

In the latest instalment of our 'Grand Designs' project, Scott makes a few quid by selling the ZZR600's old exhausts and then tries to fix the speedo on the cheap. Beam me up Scotty... 

With the Micron exhaust fitted and upgraded brakes to stop me, I had no excuse not to get out and rack up some miles on the ZZR600. My search for some replacement discs remains fruitless but on the plus side, the warping hasn’t got any worse.

I have done quite a few miles at night and the ZZR600 is blessed with a decent headlight. I’m not sure if a previous keeper fitted a brighter bulb or maybe they are all this good? The bright ideas keep coming. The old style clocks emit their own charm in the hours of darkness and each dial stares back at me with a comfortingly warm orange glow.


The speedo was the next part to send me shopping on the internet. With the miles racking up I noticed on one ride that the speedo had packed up. Unlike modern bikes, the ZZR uses a speedo cable to get its data from the speedo drive. A new one cost me £8.

Having left the fairing sides off, it was pretty easy to undo the old cable, which had snapped down by the speedo drive feed. With the new cable in place I was good to go again, except the new cable lasted for just over four miles before it died. When I did a post mortem, I noticed that it had snapped in the same area that the last one. This points to a knackered speedo drive.

Off to eBay I went again, but for some reason there appears to be a shortage of decent used speedo drives on the market. The solution? Modernise the ZZRs hardware! For less than the price of a speedo cable I had found a digital speedo suitable for use on a motorcycle. Result. It arrived about a week later! Oh how I’d wished that I’d opted for the more expensive postal option! With the magnet placed on the wheel rim, the sensor is fitted on the fork leg. So far so good. I stuck the digital display up on the handle bar and to my amazement it actually worked. How accurate it was after I’d set it up was anyone's guess though.

With a trip to Corby looming I was looking forward to road testing my quick fix. All of this attention had stopped me focusing on finding brake discs and with the judder occurring at speeds over 50mph, it wasn’t a surprise when I arrived at my destination to find that my new speedo had left the scene. It is currently residing somewhere between Peterborough and Corby.


The ZZR and I are starting to have a 'one step forward, one step back' relationship. I had also forgotten to order the exhaust gaskets. I found a set for £4 and even paid the postage premium, even though they are still sat in the jiffy bag awaiting my attention.

Other than these niggles, the ZZR600 is proving to be a good solid motorcycle. I’ve seen plenty of other ZZRs when out on my travels, some much better than mine, others a lot worse. I can’t fault its engine and with the Micron fitted it feels more alert. It’s a great little motor.

I am trying to block out the fact that the rear shock looks like it shouldn’t actually work, but it still does its job. I am aware that if I poke and change the shock, our 'one step forward, one step back' theme could well continue. There’s several components that make up the suspension linkage but I’m guessing none of them are in tip top condition. I have added about a 1,000 miles to the mileage since buying it and it’ll do about 100 miles to a tenner's worth of unleaded. Frugal it isn’t but I’m still happy with the ZZR, it’s comfort is just one of its charms.

With another stint on eBay on the cards, in search of the elusive discs and a decent speedo drive, it was handy to sell the exhaust that I had taken off. A chap from Luton popped up and purchased the Delkevic headers and Kawasaki silencers. He gave me £100 for the lot which was a bit of a result when you consider that I paid £50 for the Micron. Let’s see if my £50 ‘profit’ can sort my brakes and speedo issue? Here’s hoping...

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