Posts by tag: GPZ550

Kawasaki September 18, 2020 posted by

Featured Listing: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550

The early 1980s were a bad time for speed. With a very few exceptions, cars had spent the previous decade becoming wheezy, lumbering and compromised. Motorcycles were yet to fully cross the Rubicon from being either quirky runabouts or the steeds of tattooed heathens to the mounts of true enthusiasts. And then in 1981, Kawasaki decided they had had enough, and unleashed the GPz550 on the public.

Just in time for Eddie Lawson to take home his first AMA Superbike title and second AMA 250cc road racing title, the GPz550 carried on the fine tradition of Kawi’s two-stroke triples with staggering speed, but added what at the time was laser-precise handling. Imagine crawling to your office job in some horrible, oversprung, Naugahyde-upholstered slug only to have one of these come screaming past.

The little air-cooled four-pot produced a stout 55-ish horsepower, and exhaled through an evil-looking set of blacked-out pipes. The bikini fairing was enough to set the thing apart from the sea of CB750s, but Kawi made sure the message landed with scarlet paint set off by a pair of navy and silver stripes.

The power meant 12-second quarter mile runs and a top end damn near 120 mph. To give you some context: It would be another nine (9) years before a stock Chevrolet Corvette would drop back into the 12s.

This 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 shows well, but carries some signs of its age and use. There are spots of corrosion here and there, some paint chips and the fork seals reportedly leak. The carburetors apparently were recently cleaned and the clutch adjusted, so with some minor fettling it should be ready to go.

For the full litany, check out the auction on BringATrailer.  The auction is no-reserve, which means the high bidder goes home with this piece of sportbike history. Get in line while you still can.

Featured Listing: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550
Kawasaki July 21, 2017 posted by

I Survived: 1983 Kawasaki GPZ550 in NY

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.

1983 Kawasaki GPZ550 for sale on eBay

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!


I Survived: 1983 Kawasaki GPZ550 in NY
Bimota June 5, 2015 posted by

Innovative – 1983 Bimota KB2 Laser S

One of the final Tamburini designs before he departed for Cagiva, the 2nd Kawasaki-powered Bimota delivers the company paradigm of chassis design and lighter weight using state-of-the-art powerplants.  Perhaps named for the laser the chassis fabricator wished he had when assembling the 44 frame members, which cradle the 543cc air-cooled Kawasaki inline four.  Because the engine is relatively narrow, the red frame holds both sides of the motor and allows the swingarm to pivot at the chain drive sprocket, keeping chain tension constant despite suspension movement.  Another innovation is the use of 16 inch wheels front and rear, reducing gyroscopic forces and turning in a little easier.

20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s right

1983 Bimota KB2 Laser S for sale on eBay

20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s left

Originally introduced with a 500cc engine, the “S” has the 550, delivering 65hp at 10,500 rpm.  A wet clutch is in the engine cases, and drives a 6-speed transmission.  Big 280mm disk brakes in front, with 210mm disk at the rear.  40mm front forks and rear monoshock are adjustable for preload and damping.  The full fairing is punctuated by small air openings and rounded edges, and uses flush fasteners.  Very neat cockpit has Brembo clip-ons and a full-featured instrument cluster courtesy of Kawasaki.

20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s binnacle  20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s right front wheel

20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s right rear wheel  20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s right grip

Seeming un-restored and very nice shape, this KB2 shows only a couple of nicks in the seat fairing.  Bimotas of any age are very rare, but the Kawasaki driveline can be comforting.  This example resides in England but is offered by a eBay dealer from Italy.

From the eBay auction:

Said to be Massimo Tamburinis personal favourite Bimota design and not without good reason with an excellent power to weight ratio and build quality second to none, due to its very high cost when new Bimota only managed to build and sell 177 of them so they very rarely reach the market this being the first we’ve ever seen in the shop, it’s an excellent un restored example with just under 14000 recorded KM’s believed to be genuine having had the same owner for the past 21 years.

20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s left front wheel  20150602 1983 bimota kb2 laser s right frame

This KB2 is a very neat design, very innovative, only 8,000 miles, appearing quite clean and original.  More of a TT than an envelope-pushing superbike, a rideable exotic ready for a look…


Innovative – 1983 Bimota KB2 Laser S
Bimota April 17, 2011 posted by

Laser Focus: 1982 Bimota Laser TT KB2

For Sale: 1982 Bimota Laser TT KB2

There are those that claim the NR750 oval piston Honda is the holy grail of collectable sportbikes. Still others point to Ducati superbikes (D16RR and 750SS, new and old), rare gray-market import bikes (insert two stroke of dreams here) or one-off manufacturers who have since come and gone from the scene (Britton, perhaps?). Whatever the stuff of your dreams, these early Bimotas must surely be near the top of the list.

The concept behind Bimota is simple: provide the customer with the finest, flex-free frame that engineering can design, bolt up the best components that money can buy, wrap it in hand-laid fiberglass that only an Italian designer could create, and stuff it full of reliable, Japanese power. And if this sounds like a recipe for a parts bike / kit bike experience, that is exactly how Bimota started life. Customers were shipped frame kits, suspension components and bodywork, the customer then supplied a donor bike from which to pilfer engine/trans/running gear, and then the customer put it all together.

This kit bike concept allowed Bimota to enter the motorcycle market without the pressures of becoming a full-fledged manufacturer. It also means that all early Bimotas such as this KB2 are hand-built and as indivudual as the customers who built them. This adds to the mystique, the rarity, and ultimately the desireability of these bikes. It certainly helped that any Bimota would flat out smoke contemporary Japanese hardware of the day – despite using the same powerplant. The level of handling was on another plane entirely.

From the seller:
Up for auction is a 1982 Bimota KB2 Laser TT. This is a very clean unrestored original motorcycle that I am selling for my Dad who is selling his collection.

The Vin# is 00134. The odometer shows 1,473 Kilometers (915 Miles).

The condition of the bike is fantastic and My dad is the second owner

For those readers who don’t know what a KB2, is, allow me to educate. The second major series of Bimotas to be powered by a Kawasaki engine (K=Kawasaki, B=Bimota, 2=Series of KB bikes), the Laser accepted the engine and running gear from a Kawasaki GPz550. Thus, the KB2 is one of the smallest bikes created by the Rimini firm. It is difficult to obtain accurate numbers, but production quantities for the KB2 were relatively small (some sources indicate only 177 units total). And while these bikes do come up for auction occasionally, it is a pretty rare occurrence – and pricey to boot.

This bike looks to be in exceptional condition, absolutely clean and without obvious damage. The listed mileage is low (less than 1,000 miles), although you cannot always trust the odometer in this case as this was one of the pieces pilfered from the donor bike when the kit was assembled. If you are serious about the bike, best to contact the seller and confirm.

A KB2 in average condition is a $15,000 purchase any day of the week. Exemplary bikes, like the one pictured here, are much more into the $20,000 territory. This auction started at .99 (!), and is currently sitting around $4k with reserve not yet met. For your opportunity to own this gem – or just to drool over more of the pictures as provided by the seller – . And while you’re at it, tell ’em you found it on RSBFS!