Recently I had a chance to pick up an unrestored Kuwahara KZ-1 from a very nice lady called Sara who lives in Florida. She had listed the bike on vintagebmx.com asking to know how much it was worth. Remarkably nobody took the time to give her an opinion on what they thought it should be valued at. I came across the post in April and contacted her to see if it was for sale. It was, and by May, the bike arrived at my place in Los Angeles.
I had a white frame and fork KZ-1 with blue components back in day, and loved that bike. I foolishly got rid of it once I got a Garelli as my main mode of transportation. I can't even remember who I sold it to. But I think I got about 40 bucks for it. So when the chance came to get another one, I had to jump on it.
Sara was a great person to deal with and made all the shipping arrangements to insure that the bike arrived to me in the best shape possible. It's true, there are still some really nice people out there, if you just know where to find them.
The KZ-1 appears to me mostly all original with the exception of the tires, brake clamp, seat post, seat, headset and chain. The frame and fork are very straight with no cracks, dents, or rewelds. All the original decals are still there, but they are completely shot. They now have an interesting marble finish to them. It still has the original Redline V-bars, which have some surface rust, but are otherwise in very good shape. The front Suntour hub is really faded and is now more silver in appearance. It's a pretty complete bike, and should clean up quite nicely. I am not going to restore it back to show quality, but rather just clean it up, replace some parts, and keep it as original as possible.
And the best news is that the serial number is still intact, unlike some of them that have been filed off by bike thieves a long time ago. This one is an authentic Kuwahara. Serial number KGA7 1176.
I will be posting more pictures of the restoration process as I dip the frame, fork and hadlebars in an Oxalic Acid bath to get rid of the surface rust. I will also be putting on new tires, seat, seat post, chain, grips, and decals. Stay tuned!