Posts by Category: Kawasaki

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We have 15 years of archives. Please note that posts over a year old may have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.
Kawasaki January 10, 2023 posted by

Once A Champion – 1989 Kawasaki ZX-10 “Tomcat”

 

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1989 Kawasaki ZX-10 “Tomcat” 

With a trophy in the cabinet for the GPZ lineup, Kawasaki was likely feeling very good about their successes in the late 80s. There was no shortage of publicity and it only made sense to try and use the same formula to sell bikes while all the eyes were on them. The ZX10 “Tomcat” was the successor to the GPZ 1000RX, which was the GPZ 900’s bigger brother. While the 900 always overshadowed the 1000 due its role in the cinema, there was no doubt about a growing thirst for faster and faster bikes in the American market.

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The ZX-10 was known mainly for it’s top speed. The motor was largely similar to that of the outgoing GPZ 1000 but one of the main differences included angled intake ports that called for a semi-downdraft carb. Improved aero and a lighter curb weight along with the engine is what ultimately allowed this bike to use all of its 131 hp to propel it to 165 mph. The frame was coined as an “e-box” frame as denoted on the front fairing. The use of aluminum was starting to really take off and was one of the major sources of stiffness and weight-savings in the era.

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Evolution of the motorcycle during the 1980’s was elevated to new heights. Manufactures were taking the leap and pushing the limits of performance, speed and style and Kawasaki was at the forefront of this movement. The ZX10 was hailed as the new flagship performance bike for Kawasaki and took the world by storm in 1988 by building the world’s fastest production motorcycle for the 1988 model year. 135hp, 165mph top speed, quarter mile under 11 seconds, the ZX10 “Tomcat” was the bike everyone wanted to own, but never wanted to line up against. Cycle World Reported in 1988, “A motorcycle visually, mechanically and functionally awash in velocity, it is the new Sultan of Speed, a sportbike insuperable…. Nothing else mass-produced on two wheels even comes close. Now we have entered the Starship Enterprise era: “So radical is the engine’s intake-port angle that the tops of its canted Keihin carbs actually sit higher than the uppermost part of the cylinder head…” That engine’s now confined inside Kawasaki’s first aluminum perimeter frame, proclaimed “e-box” on the fairing because of “its egg-like oval shape when viewed from above.” Radial tires-17 inch front, 18 rear-and twin-piston brakes let the big Ninja stop in 107 feet from 60 mph, the shortest we’d ever recorded.”
This example with under 5k miles is an extremely nice example for any collector, rider or enthusiast. Bang for the buck and appreciating classics like this don’t last long, you won’t want to miss this one.

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The GPZ and ZX-10 led to the battle between Honda, Kawasaki, and eventually Suzuki for the top speed crown. The Blackbird, ZX-11/12/14, and Hayabusa all traded heavy punches throughout the ’90s and early ’00s. While the Blackbird and GPZs have cemented their status, some of the Kawasakis have been lagging slightly but that doesn’t take away from their credibility as actual sport bikes. They were market pioneers and leaders in the segment with this bike. The example today has extremely low miles for a 1986 and seems to be in fantastic condition. The seller mentions there was a repaint done a while back but it is certainly hard to tell from the pictures. A Vance and Hines slip on and upgraded seat are mentioned as well.

The bike is listed at $5.9K but I suspect there would be some room for negotiation if you make an offer. The price is such that you can collect it or ride it without much worry. It’s no secret that bikes we can buy today aren’t the same as the 80s and 90s in terms of feel and emotion. The retro-inspired options offered today are nice to look at but lack some of the character provided by the motors and chassis of the decades past.

Thanks for reading!

Norm

 

Once A Champion – 1989 Kawasaki ZX-10 “Tomcat”
Kawasaki January 1, 2023 posted by

Starting Off with a Bang ! – 1994 Kawasaki ZXR-400R

“Wouldn’t that be neat to try”, is all the response a bike that was never sold here could want of those with the motorbike affliction.  The ZXR-400R has that in buckets, and while the ask might be irrationally exuberant, at least this owner presents an excellent example.

1994 Kawasaki ZXR-400R for sale on eBay

Never seen down at your local Green dealer, the 400R was focused on the home market and a few progressive license countries.  Small bore but high tech, it used four valve heads, 12.0-to-1 compression and 30mm carbs to come up with 59 hp.  The carefully shaped twin spars hold things steady for 41mm USD forks and Uni-Trak monoshock.  300mm brakes are seen on much larger supersports, but 17-inch tires were sized for the 390 lb. full tank weight.

Bargains in the 400cc market are way off in the rear view mirror, but it’s hard to call this buy-it-now from an eBayer with no history anything more than a conversation starter.  The bike itself looks great, with just 3,564 miles, a largely stock appearance, super clean, and even an intact rear mudguard.  One photo shows a license plate, but title status isn’t mentioned in the eBay auction –

Super clean vintage classic Kawasaki.. extremely rare to be found in US for sale.
It’s never been down, it has Kilometers odometer, 
It has a steering dampener. 

 

The ZXR400R reviewed as fairly roomy for a smaller sport, and handled better than average, but the power was mostly in the upper half of the rev range.  Might be something to find a way to try and see if you’ll enjoy, before spending sports car money on one, even as nice as this.  Hopefully the seller is for real and the make offer button can talk them out of the stratosphere.

– donn

Starting Off with a Bang ! – 1994 Kawasaki ZXR-400R
Kawasaki December 12, 2022 posted by

What’s Old Is New – 1983 Kawasaki GPz550

With apologies to RSBFS readers nearing, at, or possibly over the ripe age of this pristine GPz550 (did I cover everyone?), 40 years old in the sport bike business might as well be 80. And yet in the early 1980s (that’s right – depending on your musical preference it was the same era Ozzy bit the head off of a bat, Michael Jackson released Thriller, and Olivia Newton-John’s Physical hit #1) this mundane Kawasaki was as close to the pinnacle of middleweight performance madness as could be. Today there are few survivors that present this well. And despite Kawasaki’s attempt to produce more of these bikes than the competing examples from the other Big Four, this is a rightfully rare find today.

1983 Kawasaki GPz550 for sale on eBay

With DNA solidly rooted in the KZ550, Kawasaki breathed life into the air-cooled, two-valve mill with bumpier bump sticks and higher compression. New technology in the form of solid state ignition juiced up the spark, and Kawasaki added an oil cooler to help keep rising temps at bay. The net result was a respectable 57 HP. On the chassis side, the new bike was fitted with beefier, adjustable forks, and triple disk brakes were added all around (replacing the KZ’s single front disk and drum rear brake). The ’82 onward bikes enjoyed a new single-shock rear suspension. Signifying the sporting intent of the new model – now known as the GPz – a bikini fairing was fitted. And with that, Kawasaki invented an icon that would live on for generations.

From the seller:
1983 Kawasaki GPZ550. Very rare find in unmolested condition. Only non original parts are tires, battery and o ring chain. Fresh out of 18 year storage from original owner. Will come with original title filled out by original owner but not assigned. Video is available on YouTube under my username theoriginalmungaman. Starts and runs as new. This is a legitimate #2 bike. Could be displayed in a museum. You can text me for specific questions or photos. 774-246-9884. I have a shipper who is cheaper than anyone and will assist.

The seller has noted a start-up video of the bike, which is shown below:



It is incredible to think that this (by today’s standards) humble bike could spark off such a fierce middleweight arms battle, but that is exactly what occurred. Honda upped the sport bike ante the same year with the VFR (initially a 750, then necked down to 500cc to create the mini-ceptor), and Yamaha and Suzuki followed suit. But lost in the intense battles for mid-sized supremacy were the machines themselves; time has not been kind to hand-me-down motorcycles, anything that was fast and cheap, or miles of black chrome (a key Kawasaki ingredient during this time period). Yet this one survived.

Today’s example is a 1983 model GPz550. It shows a tick over 12,000 miles on the odometer, but otherwise looks clean and original, right down to the dual exhaust pipes, bench seat, stickers and turn signals. Recently brought out of storage, this nicely aged beauty is looking for a new home. Check out all of the details here, and be sure and jump back to the comments and share your experiences with this model. Did you have one? Good Luck!!

MI

What’s Old Is New – 1983 Kawasaki GPz550
Kawasaki November 25, 2022 posted by

Featured Listing – Restored 1993 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R M1 #141

Update 12.3.2022: This bike has SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

1993 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R M1 with 13K miles

Someone call Bring a Trailer and put them on notice because this Kawasaki ZX-7R is our 5th Featured Listing for the month! We just need to adopt a bland writing style and we’re there. Helping us on our ascent to the top are many enthusiasts and frequent patrons of the industry. Today, a returning supporter, Andy has allowed us to showcase his rare 1993 ZX-7R M1. The seller is running the auction on Iconic Motorbikes Auctions and you can follow the bidding there.

When I think of the origin story for this icon, I think of a boy picking dandelions in the outfield while the hitter pops one out into left field. In this case, the boy is Kawasaki and the raging tee ball game is the newly minted World Superbike Championship. Other teams like Honda came out of the gate shooting with their RC30 while Kawasaki was dicking around with a steel frame GPX750. Of course this was no regular GPX and Kawasaki did secure one win in the opening season in Hungary but they only managed to reach 4th in the constructor’s championship. They had brought a knife to a gunfight. As we know Kawasaki didn’t become the kid who got bullied on the playground because of the whole dandelion thing. Instead they studied the other manufacturer’s designs and released the ZXR750 in 1989. That bike ultimately helped them clinch the WSBK championship over a Ducati piloted by Carl Fogarty in 1993. This 1993 ZX-7R M1 Homologation is as close as you can get to that.

The 1993 model was the most advanced ZX-7 to ever be released. The first generation bike used a souped up GPX750 engine and actually ended up weighing more than the GPX750 itself which is crazy considering it was made from Aluminum. In a field littered with lightweight Bimotas and Hondas the ZXR never stood a chance. By the time 1993 rolled around. Kawasaki had redesigned the engine, added upside down forks, shortened the wheelbase, installed ram air intakes and cut some weight off the bike.

This M1 Homologation special got two extra bits that the rest of the regular “L” models did not receive: a close ratio gearbox and 39mm Keihin FCR flat slide carbs. It’s a race bike.

The keys to collector quality are low production, race pedigree, and an engaging experience. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention condition and that is really the highlight of this bike. The seller has completed a full restoration over the course of his ownership. Overhauls to the engine, bodywork, suspension, brakes, and pretty much every major assembly were done to this bike. The condition of the bike prior to the resto is unclear but the seller mentions it remained in storage for a number of years. It’s only got 13K mi so it clearly wasn’t ridden much. There’s a picture in the gallery below of the tank and the paint looks so good I’m not sure I would ever be comfortable going into full tuck.

There’s really not much else to say about this bike. It’s great to see these classic machines get revived and enjoyed. Everything that we as enthusiasts and collectors love about the hobby is really embodied by this ZX-7R. It’s analog. It’s racy. It’s got an iconic 90s color scheme. This is the kind of stuff we’re talking about when we say we miss the old days.

The auction can be found here and has reached $8,100 before the close of day 1 of 6. Good luck on the bids!

Thanks for reading!

Norm

Featured Listing – Restored 1993 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R M1 #141
Kawasaki November 23, 2022 posted by

Featured Listing – 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1F

Featured Listing – 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1F asking $29,500 – RSBFS Exclusive!

I’m no salesman. The craft has always puzzled me but I gather my lack of patience and lack of empathy are two main culprits. However, I have learned a couple things over the years and one of them are that the easiest sales are those when you don’t really have to do any selling. Today’s RSBFS exclusive featured listing fortunately won’t require me to flex any of those muscles because I don’t think it’ll take much else other than the pictures for our readers to visualize themselves at the helm of this stunning machine.

The Kawasaki 900 Z1F is one of the more decorated bikes to come across RSBFS as of late. Admittedly it does’t align perfectly with our niche but many consider it to the be precursor to many of the superbikes that followed in the 80s and 90s. In addition to the superbike lineage that followed, the 900’s seed is responsible for another spectacular, enthusiast-driven, category of motorcycle: Muscle Cruisers. The 900 LTD paved the way for Suzuki’s “L” models and the Honda’s Magnas. Good enough for us.

The 900’s Ghengis Khan-esque history isn’t the only reason it maintains the status it does today. One must understand that Ol’ Ghengis wasn’t just known for his power and expansive genealogy. Some say he was quite good looking as well and that’s yet another trait the he shares with the 900. All UJMs are pretty similar (hence the name Universal Japanese Motorcycle) but the 900’s profile managed to stand apart while still being wildly attractive to buyers. If the Mongol Empire had made it to the the 1980s, it’s undeniable that the Ghengis would have ruled on a 900 Z1.

After spending the better part of the early 70s boosting casket sales with their two stroke machines, Kawasaki had another crackingly fast bike on their hands in the 900 Z1. As innovative as Kawasaki had been in the past they weren’t first to the market with a big bore 4 cyl. Honda landed the first shot with the famed CB750 and Kawasaki merely countered with the 900. A counter that landed squarely on Honda’s chin.

It’s no mystery that the Kawi had another 150cc behind their strike on the CB750 but what is more important to the history books is that the 900’s motor propelled it to 131 mph which, at the time, was the fastest top speed ever recorded for a production motorcycle. It also grabbed a top speed record at Daytona by hitting 160 mph around the 2 mi circuit. That stock + bike had fairings but check out the story here. That banking is no joke and it takes a serious bike to get that record. With the extra displacement and an 8,500k red line, the 900cc needed to breathe. An extra valve made possible by a DOHC setup gave the 900 the lung capacity it needed. That is relatively menial today but it gave Kawi a leg up over the reigning CB750 of the time

At some point during ownership, the 2nd owner must’ve have gotten used to the power as they opted to add a 1,105cc Wiseco big bore kit. The power numbers today are unclear but it is probably safe to assume it’s plenty good. The motor was also completely refreshed in 2010 and the bike has had ~10k mi put on it since then. The 900 was always under braked and this definitely would be the case with the big bore kit. The seller has installed an additional rotor and a steering damper to keep this machine away from any trees, guard rails, or ditches.

The Kawi design and engineering teams knew that if this bike were to succeed at the level they wanted in the American market, they had to think like Americans. There are only a few aspects of life that are easily deciphered and understood by most everyone on the planet. Booze is the first one that comes to mind. A strong second is food. In this case, a New York Steak. The New York Steak was the codename used for this project as that was the top item on the menu at any American restaurant from their perspective.

All this is to say a good motor was not enough to KO Honda. The bike had to be visually pleasing similar to the many well-plated New York Sirloins a few Kawi employees must’vee encountered at multiple points in the 60s and 70s. The teardrop tank and and ducktail fender give the eye a continuous line to track. The narrow, sleek figure also add to the visual length and when combined with the wide set bars result in a profile similar to a flat track bike that invites the rider to move around and sit up on the tank.

However, the design team is only partly responsible for the appearance of a motorcycle. The owners also play a big part and by some miracle this bike has remained in phenomenal shape under 3 owners. All the paint seems to be in great condition. The exhaust tips, fender, and cases all look great as well. On any air-cooled bike, the absence of road grime or oil around the cooling fins is the tell for an OCD owner. Nothing to be seen here! I’m sure that wasn’t ideal for the seller’s mental health but should be great for yours. Want more proof the owner is crazy? The paint was inspected and restored in 2004 along with fresh powder coat for the frame.

There aren’t many companies that can distill a motorcycle from a steak. I doubt many have tried either but the 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1 was certainly a storied success regardless of its ideological origins. Certainly enough for Kawasaki to tap the 900 Z1’s aesthetic as a starting and ending point for their current neo-cafe offering, the Z900 RS.

With 40k mi this bike is not a low-mile example. However, it was ridden, maintained, and cared for over it’s life. The seller has all the service records and has refreshed the carb gaskets and fluids prior to sale. I think it’s safe to assume the quality of the machinery is top notch here. We’re certainly excited to see the interest in the bike not only because of the condition and pedigree but also due to modifications. Its got a lot of interesting upgrades that move the performance envelope while not hampering reliability.

We’ve covered most of the big items but the seller, Shaun (sennaducati79@gmail.com), can help with all the finer details and any questions. Shaun has the title in hand and is asking $29,500. Worldwide shipping can be arranged as well.

 

Thanks for reading!

Norm

 

 

 

 

Featured Listing – 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1F
Kawasaki November 3, 2022 posted by

Looks the Part – 1999 Kawasaki ZRX-1100 Eddie Lawson Commemorative

Team Green had their own take on the retro revolution, and offered a look back to the early 1980’s AMA championships.  Despite the resemblance, the ZRX1100 was thoroughly up to date for the mission.  Today’s has lower mileage, and looks excellent even in the bright sun.

1999 Kawasaki ZRX-1100 for sale on eBay

Kawasaki designers wanted to keep as many elements of the ELR as possible, and saved the bikini fairing, finned engine, low seat and dual shocks at least.  The polished cooling fins are largely cosmetic, since the 106 hp mill is water cooled, but the cam profile combines with the 36mm carburetor size to maximize the torque curve.  A budget steel frame and 5-speed transmission are more modern designs, and the tubular fabricated swingarm echoes the chassis.  42mm right-side-up forks and remote reservoir KYB shocks offer full adjustment, and the 6-pot Tokico brakes got raves.

The long term owner has added a few gold highlights to the usual brake carriers and shock reservoirs, and deleted the rear fender and a good portion of the muffler.  Might just be the sun, but the tire dates could be verified before taking a big handful of right wrist.  Otherwise it’s very tidy and seems to be ready for a late afternoon blast out of suburbia.  Comments from the eBay auction –

Time to let her go, I have owned it for 10 years, stored in a heated garage and typically only a Sunday driver. Super clean, not a scratch on it and well maintained, low miles for a 23 year old bike (13,000). I’m sure if you are looking at this you know the history of the Eddie Lawson replica and significance of the features on this bike. Looks great in the garage, I always get tons of complements, if you are looking to add a ZRX to your collection this is a good one.

No real surprise that even without considering the commemorative paint, the ZRX looks almost as good and rides rather better than the ELR from fifteen years earlier.  It pays homage in many ways, but acknowledges the march of time in others.  Not sure their race engineer – Rob Muzzy – from the early championship days, would have it any other way.

-donn

Looks the Part – 1999 Kawasaki ZRX-1100 Eddie Lawson Commemorative
Kawasaki September 28, 2022 posted by

20,000 Reasons – 1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250

Today’s find is an absolute gem that is overlooked and likely relatively unknown in the United States. American riders tend to dismiss smaller capacity motorcycles as starter bikes or scooters. But in many markets the quarter liter sport bike was the real competitive ground zero, and the machinery on offer was as technologically advanced as any other capacity, and in some cases even more so. As proof, I offer you this beautiful 1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250.

1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250 for sale on eBay

Unlike the more recent crop of twin cylinder 250 Ninjas (or even the more recent Yamaha YZF-R3), and far removed from the Honda 300cc thumper fighting for the same class of rider, the ZX-R250R looks like a hypersport 600 that has been shrunk in the laundry. Let’s look at some of the specs that set it apart. For starters, we are talking about a full four cylinders in this bad boy, complete with four valves per cylinder. Redline starts at 19,000 (!) but the party doesn’t stop until well over that. Liquid cooling is an obvious performance boost, and the wrappings are straight up Ninja; fully enclosed plastics with dual headlamps. So, too is the frame – a double beam affair in aluminum, just like it’s racier siblings. Upside down front forks, an adjustable Uni-Trak rear suspension arrangement and triple disk brakes complete the impressive package. Estimate 45 HP pushing 311 pounds (dry), and you get the idea.

From the seller:
1990 Kawasaki ZXR250 R Old School ZX-25R…
Originally from Japan (grey market import) with Japanese VIN. ZX250A001421

Clear title CALIFORNIA Registered Current tags.
(“Miles” Are KM on the ODO)
YES, BIKE HAS A FRONT FENDER.

Judging by the Black and Gold and De-Restricted Motor it’s the R, BUT SHOCK DOES NOT HAVE EXTERNAL RESERVOIR.
Rides Well with adult-sized pilots.

Some Scratches/Cracks in OEM bodywork. Ding in front of fuel tank But no interior rust.

Factory Original. Exceptions:
Purple (painted) Tail Light (Paint Removable)
Polished the sides of the wheels and re-painted head pipes.
Carbon Exhaust. Excellent Condition. Sounds absurdly happy anywhere above 5 K (It’s always above 5k)

The seller has included two different videos for this bike, both showing the idling and quick revving nature of the tiny motor:


These little ZX-R250 models are quite rare in the United States – as they were only ever a gray market import here. To find one alive and well and living in sunny California is pretty incredible. The bike looks to be in pretty serviceable condition, although scouring through the included photos is encouraged as I would not put this one into the “mint” category due to some bodywork blemishes that are pointed out by the seller. But this is a bike that would be worth the effort to put some time into. This could be an awesome track day bike, or interesting weekend canyon screamer just for fun – and you’d be unlikely to ever see another like it on the road. The only real reasons to not look at this magnificent little screamer are those of larger build and stature, or those living in an emissions choked state such as California. BUT WAIT! This rare little overachiever is actually titled in the great State of CA – meaning there are even fewer excuses! The Buy It Now price for this rare little morsel of forbidden fruit is $6,758 USD. That is not as much cash as a 20,000 RPM foreign exotic might suggest. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

20,000 Reasons – 1990 Kawasaki ZX-R250
Kawasaki September 13, 2022 posted by

40 Years Later…Kawasaki GPZ900R

1984 Kawasaki GPZ900R/ZX900 A1

Today’s find is almost legendary. Just one year later, the GPZ900R was rocketed to a superstar status as it was blessed to be straddled by the infamous Scientologist extraordinaire, TC. While TC has ebbed and flowed throughout the years, the GPZ has remained one of the more significant bikes and marks an important time in sport bike history. While this example is just 1 year shy of being one of the most recognizable bikes of the 80s, it still has the same mechanicals that brought folks directly from movie theaters to showroom floors.

Of course, the raw speed of the GPZ900 is the highlight of the bike. In 1984, this motorcycle was pumping out 115hp which could take you up to 151 mph. 40 years later, the current gen Z900 makes 111hp. It’s not that Kawasaki can’t make a more powerful 900cc bike as there really is a limit to what makes a bike usable on the street while also making the entire package make sense. Big power means more cost in the chassis to make a bike really work and feel right. The funny thing is that in 1984 Kawasaki decided to say screw it and tried it anyway by bringing a GPZ900 while their unsuspecting 750 sat quietly on showroom floors.

Making the 900 work was not as simple as just taking a cylinder hone to the bore of the 750 for a few hours. The 900 brought liquid cooling and 4 valves per cylinder with a higher compression ratio as well. Furthermore, the engine became a stressed member of the chassis which allowed Kawasaki to axe the downtubes on the steel frame. While the GPZ used a simple steel frame, it did come with triple drilled disc brakes and an anti dive suspension. Check out how their system works here.

 “…I have tried to detail in the pictures the worst places on the bike. It is actually beautiful original paint bike that could be wet sanded and be awesome. Fun to ride. I have ridden the bike three or four times and it runs wonderfully. Thanks to Kaplan. The bike is now 38 years old and there are some scratches and chips through life. I would expect that. Please let the pictures tell you what you need to know. I feel I’m a little too old to ride the bike now. I live on a dirt road. I would guess the bike has been dropped but not significantly just a few little scratches here and there which I have tried to point out in the pictures to the best of my ability. You could just about take it anywhere and it stops the show. You can read about top gun. I have a cold start video that I can send upon request. I have and can take additional pictures upon request.”

The owner seems to have got this one from Captain America, Ken Kaplan, which means it should be in pretty good working condition. Kaplan Cycles has an in house mechanic who tidies up everything that comes through the door before it hits the floor. I definitely appreciate the seller’s honesty towards the cosmetic condition and willingness to detail that out in photos. Not a show piece but an opportunity to get a deal for sure.

There seems to some action with 13 bids up to $3,750 and the reserve has not yet been met. Good luck!

 

-Norm

40 Years Later…Kawasaki GPZ900R