Posts by tag: Kawasaki

Kawasaki April 10, 2017 posted by

Krazy Rare: 1989 Kawasaki KR-1

When it comes to quarter liter two stroke imports, the usual suspects are in (relatively) plentiful supply. While never officially available in the US, all sorts of fine, Japanese and Italian hardware make it to our shores thanks to creative individuals, and of course, our friends up in Canada. We usually don't go a month on RSBFS without highlighting a Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha or Aprilia smoker. What we do not see very often - as in maybe once a year - is Kawasaki's entry to the two-stroke wars: The KR-1. The KR-1 was developed with a familiar set of blueprints and without graphics could resemble any number of Japanese imports, both visually and in the performance department. But the KR-1 is a very rare little machine (not only in the US), and one that you should pay attention to when an example shows up.

1989 Kawasaki KR-1 for sale on eBay

With weight in the 270 pound range (dry), and a claimed 55hp when new, the KR-1 was good for a 130+ MPH terminal velocity. A six speed cassette tranny and triple disks all around put the KR-1 in the same competitive class as the NSRs, RGs and TZRs of the day, although the higher spec KR-1S was the real performer of the bunch. Performance aside, reliability is rumored to be slightly compromised with the Kawasaki; reports indicate that these motors tend to be less robust than those of its peers. Something to consider as parts availability raises its ugly head....

From the seller:
This bike is very clean. The motor has never been opened up. I have had this KR SINCE 1999. It comes with Jolly Moto pipes and has had the fork brace changed. Runs very strong. Looks good. It does have a few blemishes , at 6,850 mi not bad.This bike would be a great edition to your 2 stroke collection.

Given the rarity of this model, I long for more pictures and far more detail. The seller notes that the engine has not been opened up, so figure on a rebuild before riding in anger. Two strokes are notorious for air leaks at high RPM (i.e. air entering the engine other than through the carb), which creates a lean running condition which vastly increases internal temperatures while at the same time reducing the amount of lubricating oil. The end result is usually loud, messy, expensive, and potentially catastrophic to the rider (lesson #1: don't seize the motor mid-corner).

This bike is located in California. There is no mention or picture of a license plate, so no idea in which state this bike is titled - if at all. That would be a key question to the seller. Otherwise, should all else be copacetic, this KR-1 could be a real steal for your collection. There is no doubt that it looks quite clean. The price is set at $8k for this Buy It Now classified, although the seller is open to offers. This seller appears to have a few other bikes by the looks of the big Gamma and NSR400 parked alongside - maybe we'll see a couple more bikes available in time. If you ARE the seller, jump over to the Comments section and share some details with a KR hungry audience. Good Luck!!

MI

Krazy Rare: 1989 Kawasaki KR-1
Bimota March 28, 2017 posted by

Not Quite Stock: 1983 Bimota KB3

One of the all-time classic marriages of Japanese power plant technology with hand-built racing frame know how all wrapped up together in a tailored Italian suit is the little Rimini company of Bimota. Founded by three like-minded individuals who liked to go fast (and look good doing it), Bimota utilized donor engines and transmissions to power new, hybrid creations. During this time, the Japanese had the best engine technology, but their general frame design had not yet evolved beyond the 1960s. Bimota had exquisite frame building techniques, but were not a full-fledged manufacturer of complete motorcycles; they preferred to concentrate on the chassis and bodywork aspects. It is this approach that defined the KB lineup: Bimota frame and bodywork (and sourced suspension) motivated by a Kawasaki power plant. The KB1 was a Z1000 powered machine, the KB2 relied on the GPz550 motor, and the KB3 opted for the bigger, badder GPz1100 lump.

1983 Bimota KB3 for sale on eBay

Today's KB3 is not quite the showroom perfect example one could hope for - it has a highly modified motor and is not entirely in ship-shape condition. Seller notes that it has not been run in a few years, that the rear brake caliper has an issue, and that there are some other bits of concern. Photos are included, but the orientation does not make them easier to decipher the true condition of the bike. Pics have been modified here on RSBFS to help save that crick you get in your neck when trying to view posted photos that are orientated 90 degrees from upright.

From the seller:
Bike was built with one original Kawasaki GPz1100 motor come with bike but has a 1267cc Wiseco motor in it now. Needs rear Brembo caliper rebuilt master is new NOS part. Bike generally in very good condition has not been run for three years as brakes needed work in rear.Has parts to be offered with bike like carbs as well as general engine parts.

Original owner of one of 112 Bimota KB3's produced with a Kawasaki GPz1100 motor as well as an additional stock mostly complete engine. Needs side case on stattor side as well as small other bits clutch rod etc. Need rear caliper rebuilt, speedo working but mileage indicator not working.

The early KB models are rare, rare, rare. They command big bucks, because there were so few manufactured - only 112 were produced. This was likely a kit-built bike, meaning the original owner build it up from the frame kit and a donor GPz. As such, there will always be some variances between two bikes of the same model, and smaller issues like the odometer not working are really quite common. These early Bimotas are as much about the skill of the assembler as they are the quality of the components.

This bike is located in Ontario, Canada - meaning US buyers will need to deal with importation. This is a Buy It Now listing, with the seller looking for $18,000 USD, or best offer. That is big bucks indeed for a bike that cannot be ridden, yet represents fair (if not a little high) money for a KB3 if the anomalies could be rectified without great expense. Check it out here, and share your thoughts on the early Bimotas, KB bikes in general, or KB3s specifically.

MI

Not Quite Stock: 1983 Bimota KB3
Kawasaki March 18, 2017 posted by

Nearly New: 1984 Kawasaki GPz750

From the 30-something files comes the epitome of the quintessential 1980s sport bike: the Kawasaki GPz. Conceived during what was to become the eve of the classic sporting motorcyle, the GPz led the way right up to the next real era of technology and died out with the introduction of the hyper bike. Making the ultimate use of air cooling, two valves per cylinder, carburetors and a steel backbone frame, the GPz soldiered on in the face of advancements from Yamaha, Suzuki, and especially Honda. Successful on the track as well as the showroom, the GPz is a classic memory today. But for those that remember the glory, finding one worth shelling out cash for is a rare proposition. Hence today's RSBFS find: a cherry GPz750 with just over 1,000 miles on the clock.

From the seller:
1984 KAWASAKI GPz 750 1,058 original miles!

I am the 3rd owner of this bike. The first owner put the miles on the bike and the second owner purchased the bike in 1998 and never drove it.

During my ownership, I cleaned it up, rebuilt carbs and got it running (It had not run since 1st owner in the late 80's) I took it out and put 2 miles on it to verify operation. (I own 2 other GPz's). The factory exhaust is long gone & I just installed a fresh out of the box Supertrapp system and installed all the discs to keep it quiet. It sounds awesome!

More from the seller:
The carbs were rebuilt with new jets, pilot & mains, new needle & seats & new float bowl gaskets.
All gauges, lights, gas gauge, blinkers and horn works!
New battery last September.
New plugs and spark plug boots.
Original chain & sprockets, original tires! (You will be the first person to change the tires that Kawasaki put on 33 yrs ago!)

Do I know the front fender is mounted backwards in the pictures? Yes (See it the other way in the picture with the saddle bags!)

What is wrong with bike?
Right side mirror glass is missing, was when I purchased it... I have 7 bikes and did not get that far on this one. Very small nick on gas tank graphic and some nicks on left side upper fairing graphic, these graphics are available from RD Decals in Canada. Tank is rust free on inside but does have about a 10mm ding that you can barely make out in picture that shows the nick in tank! It is missing the factory center windscreen attachment bolt so I have a mismatched one in there (factory one is available for a couple of $'s).

Lastly, the outside carb on left side was dripping a little while the bike was running the other day... To cold to drive it outside to get some cobwebs out and may go away but just want to make sure it is in listing as I'm swamped at work and will not have time to look at it!

What is right with bike?

It is absolutely stunning! It looks better in person than it does in these pictures. All the finishes are wonderfully preserved. How many of these bikes do you see with just over 1K miles???

Lastly, I was going to list the matching Bagmann saddle bags separately but really want them to go with the bike... I have been a ebay member for 17 years and never once saw a set of these come up for auction, they go with bike and the 4 GPz test issues you see in picture!

It is always difficult to find a time-period piece in the type of condition that makes it worth your while. This is especially true when the bike in question was not especially rare to begin with. But time has a way of making certain things better, and in this case time has all but erased the supply side of the equation. Had this been a bottle of wine, it would likely have turned to vinegar long ago - but the vintage becomes rare for simply existing in excellent shape. The best part of a well-aged machine is the price: Few bids have been cast, and this retro icon sits at a mere $3,550 (no reserve). It may not be a smoker or some mega dollar collectible, but the knowing nods when you show up to bike night on this earlier generation super bike makes it well worth the price of admission. Only a couple of days left on this auction - check it out here and share your thoughts! Do you GPz?

MI

Kawasaki March 3, 2017 posted by

Superbike Daddy: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R

I know that for many of our readers, RSBFS is all about the import smokers. And while we do love our grey-market popcorn poppers, variety is - as they say - the spice of life. Two-strokes did not always dominate the sport bike scene, as evidenced by today's example of what ruled the streets in 1978. Our younger readers will be forgiven if this simply looks like a Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) from the period, but two-wheeled transport circa pre-1980 was a relatively simple affair. Air cooled, carburetor-fed Japanese multis were the hot ticket, and cubic centimeters made the world go 'round. Throughout the 1970s, the Big Four traded blows with big bikes, and the Kawasaki Z1-R (1978-1980) could go toe to toe with the best on the road.

1978 Kawasaki Z1-R for sale on eBay

Owing more to the KZ lineup than the original Z1 design, the Z1-R is pretty typical of this era: big motor (1,015cc over square inline four), tubular steel frame, simple un-adjustable front forks and twin shocks. Novelty items include the bikini fairing (variations to make a reappearance on the ELR model as well as early GPzs), four-into-one exhaust, low maintenance cast wheels, and triple disk brakes. Expect about 90 HP off the showroom floor, in a package tipping the scales at over 540 lbs. With a top speed in the 130s, the Z1-R was a powerhouse with subtle intent. In all, this was an evolutionary move by Kawasaki; the revolution would have to wait until 1984 and the introduction of the 900 Ninja.

From the seller:
OWNED THIS BIKE SINCE 1992 (SECOND OWNER),HAVE ALL THE SERVICE WORK RECORDS I HAVE DONE TO BIKE.VERY CLEAN & RUN STRONG. IT IS A TURN KEY BIKE. GARAGE KEPT. 33284 ACTUAL MILES.

There is nothing *particularly* special or rare about the Z1-R line, save for the fact that they didn't speed off the showroom floors at a sufficient rate. Not even bolting on a turbo and creating the first of the factory blower bikes could help move these models. As a result, staring down the barrel of a 40th birthday, not many of these exist in great condition. Laws of supply and demand govern all, and I would expect to see good examples fetching more over the coming years. This will not likely appreciate in the same manner of a RC30 or truly rare and iconic model, but it should fare respectably given the lower price of entry.

This well-loved Z1-R is located in Oklahoma. The seller claims to be the second owner, which helps explain the condition. There have been some minor, non-destructive mods which should lower maintenance and improve the riding experience, and the seller will include the original parts. This bike is listed with a BIN of $12,500 - a number that some may scoff at. It does appear a bit high for the model. But the challenge would be to find another in this level of condition. I'm sure there is some emotional equity included in that number by the seller - but can you blame him? Check it out here, and share your thoughts. Would you take this, or hold out for an ELR or early model GPz? Let us know!

MI

Superbike Daddy: 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R
Bimota February 10, 2017 posted by

1984 Bimota KB3 in Italy!

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Big Four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers appeared to know little about frame design and its effect on handling. Enter the small shop known as Bimota, formed as a hobby by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri and Massimo Tamburini. Using existing motorcycles as a jumping off point, the Rimini firm created stout new frames and sensuous bodywork made to accept a variety of Japanese engines. These were initially offered as kits; buyers received the chassis, bodywork and suspension, to which they affixed the engine, transmission and electrics from a donor cycle. Completed Bimota motorcycles were ridden to rave reviews; razor sharp handling (usually to the compromise of comfort and convenience) was the order of the day.

1984 Bimota KB3 for sale on eBay

This 1984 Bimota KB3 (the 3rd model in the series of Kawasaki-powered Bimotas), shows the company making a massive turning point. Unlike kit-built bikes assembled by amatuers or hired guns, by the early 1980s Bimota was starting to assemble them in their own factory. This tiny company from northern Italy near the Adriatic Sea was making the jump to become a full-fledged manufacturer of motorcycles. And whereas the kit-built bikes were all unique and custom - showing the nature (and skill level) of their builders - this move by Bimota to assemble in house leads to a more consistent offering across the model type. This KB3, powered by a Kawasaki KZ1000 engine, was one of the early Bimotas that could be considered "factory built."

From the seller:
Bimota KB3 1000cc - ONE OF ONLY 30 UNITS FACTORY BUILT
model year 1984
VIN 0051.

Fantastic original preserved shiny conditions, one of only 30 factory built kb3 (not a kit), just 15k kms from new. Perfectly working. Unique opportunity.

Ride and collect!

The KB3 came on the heels of the watershed bike for Bimota, the GPz550-powered KB2 Laser. And whereas the KB2 frame was created using short, straight sections of chrome moly tubing welded in a pyramid matrix to handle loads, the KB3 chassis incorporates longer sections of tubing and novel aluminum stress plates - all of which have been welded, bolted and epoxy bonded together. Billet aluminum sections join upper and lower sections, and provide a base for the swingarm pivot. The sleek bodywork is created from Kevlar - a magical substance of strength and lightweight in 1984. Maximizing stiffness to ensure optimum handling while shaving off an estimated 65 lbs from a standard KZ1000, the KB3 was perhaps the ultimate literbike in existence.

There were only 112 KB3s created, ensuring the rarity of these special bikes. We have seen a few on the pages of RSBFS, and they never fail to enchant. These are bikes that do not come around often, and never in such original condition. This bike is located in Italy (naturally!), appears to be in the best original condition we have seen, and is looking for a new home. When first offered by Bimota, these were very expensive machines ($13k and up). Collector status has done well for these incredible bikes, and while the opening ask on this one was a single US dollar, I expect the final auction result to include a few more zeros. No idea where the reserve is set, so this will be one to watch. Check it out here, and then share your thoughts on your favorite old-school Bimota in our comments section. Good Luck!!

MI

1984 Bimota KB3 in Italy!
Kawasaki February 7, 2017 posted by

More from Japan: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250R

Looking like its bigger brothers of the ZX7 family, you would be forgiven to mistake the ZXR250 for a larger displacement motorcycle. But as we all know, small bikes rule in Japan, and when it comes to small sport bikes, Japan really does rule. Built to work around restrictive licensing rules in the home market - as well as conform to standards in other Asian markets such as Malaysia - the Big Four poured significant resources into the quarter-liter category. From two strokes to four, model lines for larger displacement bikes were often ported to the lower classes, resulting in families of models from 50cc up to 1100cc, depending upon the market. This ZXR250 was the result of that effort, and is available directly from Japan.

1989 Kawasaki ZXR250R for sale on eBay

The similarity of looks between the ZXR250 and its larger siblings is not just cosmetics - Kawasaki packed this bike with some significant go-fast tech as well. The liquid-cooled inline four banger offers 45 HP and will rev up to 19,000 RPM thanks to a brace of four Keihin carbs feeding the four valve per cylinder heads via forced air induction. Power is delivered via a 6-speed tranny, and the whole package is wrapped in an aluminum perimeter box frame. Triple disks all around provide braking duties, an upside down fork holds up the front, and a Uni-Track mono shock rear end completes the picture. All in all, your standard, screaming, hyper-sensitive small bike perfect for the hooligan in you.

From the seller:
KAWASAKI ZXR250R
VIN:ZX250A-300532
Year: 1989
Mileage: 14,835km
Condition: Running very well. Very good condition. Body work has tiny scratches and repair mark for tiny crack. Front forks has No rusts on the chrome, No oil leaks. No rust inside of the gas tank.

Shipping : We'll put it into the wooden crate and ship by surface. We'll enclose Japanese original title, and also Sales Certificate and Bill of Sales issued by us in English. Shipping cost: The bid price includes shipping cost to overseas, and it's charged from our office in Japan to the nearest port to your address. We expect you'd pick it up at the port and arrange the land transport to your address by yourself.
The other cost, such as the handling cost, duty fee, tax, etc. which will be charged in your country, they're not included there.

We have seen a few other bikes being offered by this seller. They all suffer (to some degree) of life in the salty, ocean air of crowded Japan. Scuffs and minor cosmetic issues are par for the course when daily parking areas contain hundreds - if not thousands - of bikes at any given time. Some corrosion is to be expected due to the proximity of the sea. Still, for those outside of the home market, this 250 is a rare bird and a pretty neat piece of tech. Nothing in the pictures looks too terrible to me, but then the issue of registration for the road raises its ugly head. This bike will be sold with a bill of sale and importation paperwork, but it's up to you to get it registered. That may not be a problem depending upon your locale, but realize that home market bikes do not carry 17-digit VIN numbers which are often required in the US.

This is your chance to own a rare (in the US, at least), home market bike from Japan. This 250 will beat the snot out of any of the similar era 250s that meekly putted up to our shores, and is likely still competitive against the newer crop of small bike madness that is going on. The uniqueness in the US is undeniable; there is no point in having fun if you can't look cool doing it at the same time. This bike ticks a lot of boxes on the wish list, and deserves a good home in someone's garage. Check it out here, and then let us know what you think. Are you down with a 250 sport bike, and if so which is your favorite?

MI

More from Japan: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR250R