One of the most iconic sporting motorcycles ever made - and by most standards one of the most archaic - is the Kawasaki GPz lineup. Built during a time of massive experimentation, the pedestrian GPz was more akin to an appliance than a bike that would be fondly remembered by future generations. There is nothing groundbreaking here, and it wasn't particularly special back then. Kawasaki stamped these out by the thousands, making them about as un-rare as you can get. But once in a while we see bikes that have somehow survived the ravages of time, teens, tracks and thrashings. While not a perfect museum specimen, this does look to be in great shape for a 30-something UJM.
Back in the early 1980s the middleweight class was considered capped below 600cc, and manufacturers were scrambling to produce something better than the competition. While Honda looked to technology for a solution (liquid cooled, 500cc V-4 Interceptor, for example) and Yamaha looked to the past (cubic inches with the FJ600 and two-stroke power with the RZ350), Kawasaki soldiered on with the tried and true: an air cooled, inline four with bright paint and a bikini fairing. Triple disks all around, the novel Uni-Trak rear suspension which phased out the use of twin-shocks, and painted mag wheels rounded out the "it looks like it should go fast" package. Overall, it worked quite well. The GPz was one of those all-arounder types of motorcycles; comfortable enough to ride up to the canyons, yet sporty enough to hold its own once you got there. With about 54 HP on tap, this would get eaten alive by the current crop of 300cc offerings, but it was a solid platform in its day and likely a decent rider today.
From the seller:
A very rare 1983 Kawasaki GPZ-550 in very god condition.All original except for grips and mirrors.Runs and drives excellent. Has a few flaws as shown in the pictures. Side cover has a crack. A ding in one exhaust pipe, and a very slight indentation in the tank. New battery and fresh service.
No reserve auction.
The fun thing about GPz collecting is that they are cheap to acquire and parts are readily available. No, this will NOT appreciate like a homologated special, an ELR, a K1 or any other truly rare bike produced by the Big K. However I suspect you will receive a great deal of appreciation from riders of a certain age when you show up with this retro red rod at your local bike night. Who cares if performance is not up to snuff with today's hyper-middleweights (and sub-middleweights)? If the only reason you ride is to ensure you are on the best/fastest/flashiest bike on the planet, you will need to update your wheels every 30 seconds or so. If you ride to enjoy the experience, then here is a cost effective way to indulge your senses.
Only a few days left on this one, with no takers as of yet. The opening ask is $1,500, which may well be the problem. A decent GPz is definitely in that ballpark money-wise, but it may be too much to ask potential buyers to start there. Auctions are funny that way; you may end up at the same final price either way, but when the opening ask is below market value you will always get more attention and more bidders. Given this is a NO RESERVE auction, you might just be able to snipe it for the opening ask. Besides, it has fewer than 10k miles! Check it out here, and jump back to the Comments section and share your thoughts. Are you of a certain age where a GPz lurks in your past? Let us know!