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Kawasaki posted by

Blast from the past: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550

For sale: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550

Anybody remember these? This used to be top dog of the sportbike world before multi-piston, radial mount brakes, 4-valves per cylinder, liquid cooling, single-shock rear suspension, aluminum frames and radial tires. Given, these were not very rare in the day, having been churned out and sold at low prices - but finding a clean and original example today is becoming more and more difficult. Fortunately, clean and (nearly) original is exactly what RSBFS is bringing you today!

From the seller:
Very clean and original 1981 Gpz 550 with low miles. Straight frame, never wrecked, with very nice paint on the tank, fairing and side covers. The clear coat on the tailpiece is looking a little cruddy. No appreciable dents in the tank, and absolutely no rust in the tank. There is a NOS petcock. It has a NOS Kawasaki KZ550 seat that is a little different than the original Gpz seat. Initially I did not like it but it really makes the bike look much nicer.

There is a couple scratches on the front fender and one on the fairing that are not that distracting. Normal wear on the bike as to be expected for a 30 year old bike. Turn signals all look pretty good.

I was a Kawasaki mechanic many years ago and have been very slowly cleaning this bike up over the past 3 years. The forks have been rebuilt with new seals and new fork oil, the fork head bearings have been cleaned and greased. The swing arm has been removed cleaned and regreased, needle bearings are nice and tight. It has new clutch plates and a NOS clutch cable, new speedo and tachometer cables, new oil and filter, new K&N air filter. Carbs were recently removed and cleaned, all the flappers on the choke are there. The brakes have been bleed, brake pads are all good.

This is my fourth 1981 Gpz550 and this model was my first "Real" motorcycle way back in 1983. The 81 model has been one of my favorite motorcycles since I first saw one on the cover of Cycle World. It is a great all around bike with classic looks and very good performance for it's era. Honestly I never thought it was a fast bike until I rode this one. It really goes well and will pull the front wheel off the ground or wheelie without too much coaxing, something I do not remember any of my other 81's doing. This bike is very nice riding and is very smooth; almost having the feel of a new bike.

Pretty every part except for the engine has been removed, cleaned, and then put back on the bike. The chain and sprockets are still good, the battery is a couple of years old, the tires have great tread. The exhaust still has it's original finish that is looking a bit tired and I have not wanted to attempt but it is something that will need attention eventually. Compression is great on all cylinders but I cannot remember exactly what it is, but I will post later. The base and head gasket weep some oil, but the bike runs so well and is so fast that I have not wanted to mess with it. Everything on the bike works, turn signals, headlight, horn, brake light. Starts right up cold or hot.

As these mass-market bikes age (and some not so gracefully), their ability to define a moment escalates. This bike is still a head-turner after nearly 30 years, and is a collectable classic that can be ridden and enjoyed. and enjoy the affordability of a value collectable!


[AffomaticEbay]Kawasaki GPZ[/AffomaticEbay]


  • single shock… aluminum frame… you must be talking about a different bike than the one shown

  • Hi Joe – you are so right. This was “high-tech” in the days before all that other great stuff!

  • I love gpz550’s. my buddy who is a decent CCS racer took one out to our local track day a couple of years ago and it was cool to see it passing a ton of the newer bikes.

  • This is my bike that I am reluctant to sell, but it is pretty cool to have it listed on one of my favorite blogs. Thanks, for the recognition, Mike

  • NOT IN THE LEAST BIT RARE, only good for Motor and some of frame to transform into cafe or something cool, But NOT rare. I’m looking to buy one they are very abundant, VERY.

  • Hi Marc – thanks for the comments. You are correct in that these are not particularly rare…although finding one in good condition can be difficult these days.

    We have recently re-launched http://www.classicsportbikesforsale.com and now post gems like this one over on that site. Be sure and take a look when you get a chance!

  • I own one, an 83′, still in good shape, needing a little clean up, had it on the track this last summer and surprised some of the other riders, just how fast it really still is


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