The seller of this early-run 1985 Kawasaki Ninja 600R recently completed a fastidious restoration of the bike, down to changing the aged rubber charcoal canister strap for an OEM replacement. He also sourced new gaskets for the anti-dive system in the forks, which took some parts hunting, elbow grease and careful planning. The forks got a new coat of paint and fresh seals when the rebuild was done.
The list goes on from there, including freshened carburetors and a couple invisible fairing repairs. The bike was evidently a solid rider before the current owner got ahold of it and made it into a running and riding museum piece. It has fewer than 7,000 miles on the odometer and was looked after properly over its life, so there shouldn’t be much cause to worry about engine internals.
These bikes were far ahead of their time when they were launched, and forecasted aggressive riding positions, handling-friendly 16-inch wheels, full fairings and weight savings. By the time the Honda Hurricane came along two years later, Kawasaki was already preparing to refresh the Ninja 600R. The early bikes, known as the GPZ600R in other markets, pushed out about 75 horsepower (some say 76), which was good for 135 mph. The engines responded to revs, and contemporary reviewers said the bikes felt a little flat until the party got going around 8,000 rpm. Keep the engine on the boil, though, and the 600R would sing, and was nimble, if not totally sure-footed, on the tiny 16-inch tires.
From the eBay listing:
Completely original 1985 Kawasaki Ninja ZX600A California.
This is the first year of the Ninja, this model is a first run #2460 made 12/84. It has just 6610 miles. It was purchased in California by the first owner (it has the CA vent box) . I am the second owner and have put no miles on the bike other than test rides.
This is a rare bike in original/collector condition. No resto-queen here, this is the real deal. You are not likely to find another in this condition, and if you do you’ll be faced with a great deal of work to get it into this ready to ride condition.
The bike starts and runs beautifully. I wouldn’t make it a daily rider, but if you’re a collector that likes to run your bikes – this is the one.
I found the bike in great condition, as the previous owner was an older rider who used the bike as a commuter and always stored it inside with proper storage habits.
The bike is in 99.9% original condition, with all original parts or updated OEM parts. It is the perfect survivor, the perfect collector (all original parts that were replaced are included).
This is my 4th nut-and-bolt restoration in the last 10 years (and likely my last). I’m moving to custom builds from here on out. In some ways it was the hardest restoration I’ve done, as I felt it was very important to keep the bike absolutely original and to be non-destructive instead of trying to reach “perfection”. I believe I’ve succeeded to the best of the situation – the following items have been addressed:
The previous owner dropped the bike in his garage, resulting in a the left turn signal hitting the wall, causing a silver dollar sized series of cracks around the mounting hole. The previous owner repaired the damage, but it was simply glued and the cracks were still visible.
I carefully grooved the cracks and seams, filled and repaired things properly with a professional plastic welding solution, I filled the area with vinyl body filler and sanded all things smooth.
It was professionally painted (only on the repaired spot) with perfectly matched paint and then clear coated to blend, and properly buffed. It is impossible to see the repair – except on the inside where you may see the weld seams when the fairing is off.
A similar process was followed on the nose cone, where a couple of scratches and rock dings necessitated proper attention. This repair is impossible to see as well.
First, the tank has a very small, dime-sized impression on the back/top/left side (see photos) and the blue ring has age cracks (normal for an original bike of this age).
I have replaced the cap and repainted the outer cap ring (old parts included and in near perfect shape). I have also sourced and replaced an EOM fuel-level sending unit from England, as the old one failed due to corrosion.
The tank was fairly clean on the inside, but it was beginning to gather some rust on the surface. It was cleaned with muriatic acid and flushed, but still needed further cleaning – so I recently did a round with OTC rust remover. It’s very clean now.
New OEM petcock was installed as the original was beyond repair.
If you are at all familiar with these bikes you know that they included a very complicated anti-dive system (known as ADVS) that used the front brake fluid pressure to dynamically control the compression dampening.
Great idea, but it was prone to leaking and corrosion over time – as there were many rubber parts inside. It is very common for the piston to corrode and leak out onto the fork – as was the case on the left fork of this bike.
As with the fairing, I carefully matched and repaired the paint on the fork, clear coated it, and completely overhauled the ADVS and fork seals with all new rubber (which is not easy to source BTW – OEM parts were found in England and Japan).
Everything was properly painted and overhauled – and all original fork stickers unaffected by the repairs. It is impossible to see the repair.
Just like all the other rubber on this bike, the brake calipers and levers were completely dried out and either seized or leaking.
I sourced all of the proper OEM seals for the calipers and primary/secondary cylinders and overhauled all, repainting a couple of items that showed corrosion.
The rotors were repainted and surfaces sanded and scuffed. Everything looks like new. New brake OEM brake pads have been installed on all three brakes as well (see photos).
The carbs were actually in perfect condition – but just like everything else, the rubber was dry. So, all new rubber gaskets were installed, and new fuel lines (I have placed a filter in-line as an insurance policy – not stock).
Plugs, oil, filter, battery, chain, new charcoal box rubber strap (OEM), windscreen is original – outer face was sanded and polished, windscreen trim tabs replaced (OEM), etc. – no detail left out, all parts OEM.
Any small rust/dings were eraser sanded and airbrushed or spot brushed with the correct paint. These repairs are also impossible to see.
As you can see by the photos, everything on this bike is in great shape and very clean. It’s hard to believe a bike this old can still look this clean and perfect under the hood after all these years. It was a bit dusty, so I’ve cleaned literally every nook and cranny on the bike – including the entire motor (which was cleaned with bio-degreaser and toothbrush).
Please feel free to message me with any questions.
If the description doesn’t convince you, the pictures will. If you’re looking for a pristine version of the ancestor of modern sport bikes, look no further.