Posts by tag: Uni-Trak

Kawasaki March 7, 2020 posted by

Before Kris – 1988 Kawasaki KR-1

Update 3.7.2020: We first posted this KR-1 in September of last year. It’s back on eBay, this time with a buy-it-now of $8,400. Links updated. -dc

Kawasaki had a tiger by the tale in 1988, and for a season or two the KR-1 bested every RGV, TZR and NSR.  Coming out of a collection, this KR-1 looks to have missed the scrapes most 250cc two-strokes got caught up in.

1988 Kawasaki KR-1 for sale on eBay

Kawasaki’s 249cc two-stroke might have been furthest from a real race bike, as there wasn’t a factory presence in the 250 category.  Still the snappy parallel twin, with balance shaft, was eminently tuneable and the package very light.  The 55 hp produced by the Integrated Power Valve System worked beautifully with just 271 lbs. of dry weight.  The frame looked overbuilt but was a light alloy, and 41mm forks were up front with dual discs.  Out back there was the Uni-Trak monoshock and an 18-inch rear wheel.  Pillion accommodations put the lie to racey looking bodywork.

This Seattle owner has a few classic sportbike auctions going, and goes into detail about their KR-1:

Recently completely serviced and detailed with clear Washington state title. The KR-1 is considered to be the fastest and more lively two stroke 250 sports bike compared to all the other models in its class. The model was never imported in to the USA and is probably the rarest model in the 250cc two stroke sports bike category around the world. This particular Kawasaki KR-1 has just 8,298 miles, the bike is mostly all original and in exceptional preserved condition.

The body work is all original and is in very good condition, there are absolutely no cracks on any of the body panels but there are some minor nicks and scrapes. The wheels are perfect with no rock chips or scratches anywhere. The frame and engine have no major corrosion and are nice and clean. Overall cosmetically this bike is in very nice condition.

The bike runs and rides great, and shifts smoothly through all 6 gears. The carburetors were recently ultrasonically cleaned and adjusted, and a full service tune-up was performed which included new spark plugs, chain, air filter, brake pads, oil change, new tires, and fluids flushed. All of the lighting, switches, and electrical components work as they should.

These bikes were never imported into the USA, and very few were exported outside of Japan to any other countries so this is a very rare  Kawasaki model. 

Kawi and Suzuki traded the “fastest 250” back and forth a few times, with the KR-1S snatching it back before the factory decided to focus on their four stroke offerings.  Though Suzuki had staying power, the KR-1 stole the moment in the very late -80’s.  Early interest in the auction says the hammer might fall at a high price, but the new owner will have a sparkling and rare example.

-donn

Before Kris – 1988 Kawasaki KR-1
Kawasaki May 1, 2019 posted by

Beast of Boost: 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo

During the wild years of the decade known as the 1980s, there was a lot going on. Legwarmers were hot. The brat pack were hot. And most importantly, Turbos were hot. Every major Japanese manufacturer played with the puffer configuration at least once (Honda tried it twice) before giving up on induction-enhanced motorcycles. Honda built a pair of large, heavy sport touring bikes. Yamaha built a lazy Seca with futuristic fairing in a “me too” effort. Suzuki took the bonkers approach and built a no-apologies sport bike like a Katana on turbo steroids. And Kawasaki watched, learned, and eventually dipped their toes into the water with an updated GPz.

1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo for sale on eBay

The largest of the turbo bikes by displacement, the Kawasaki GPz was also the fastest. The only factory turbo bike to break into the 10s in the quarter mile, the GPz 750 Turbo was not only faster than all its forced-induction peers, it was the fastest street bike tested in 1984. With an estimated 112 HP on tap thanks to the Hitachi turbo unit sitting low down and in front of the inline four. With ideal turbo placement for short exhaust primaries, Kawasaki’s approach minimized lag and maximized horsepower. Even then, power windup changes suddenly as the engine builds boost – making for a fun ride, but a less than predictable mount for tight canyons. Like all but the Yamaha, the Kawasaki Turbo introduced fuel injection in an effort to better control engine operations and promote rideability and longevity.

From the seller:
1985 KAWASAKI GPZ750 TURBO

Here’s a real nice Kawasaki 750 Turbo for sale. Bike is in near perfect original condition except for 1 flaw/crack on right lower side of faring. Always stored inside and covered. Runs and rides excellent with fresh oil and filter change. It is all original with factory owners manual and tool kit and has 530 chain conversion to get rid of the factory heavy 630 chain, see last 2 pics. Newer tires and battery.

While the Kawasaki Turbo takes after the GPz models, it differs in many ways. Engine internals, chassis geometry and suspension, and custom factory lowers were all bespoke to the Turbo, although Kawasaki did raid the GPz750 and GPz1100 parts bins to keep costs down. The resultant looks made it familiar to the GPz, yet officially it was known as the ZX750E and referred to simply as the Kawasaki 750 Turbo. Lasting only a couple of years with no significant changes, the Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo shared a similar life cycle with the rest of the Turbo packing offerings. Expensive, complicated and generally unloved, they all failed to sell well in the showrooms – despite the flash and the speed.

Today’s Turbo example is a 1985 model, and it looks like a true survivor. It does not appear to be scuffed, dropped, hot rodded or significantly modified. The seller states that the chain was downsized; the 530 chain is pretty stout, and the factory 630 size was incorporated no doubt due to concerns over longevity. Other than that, this appears to be an honest machine presented to us by a turbo collector (notice the XN85 in the background). The opening ask is a fair $6,999 – but there do not appear to be many bidders as of yet. Not terrifically valuable when compared to more elite machinery (RC30s, OW01, MHe, etc), Turbo bikes are slowly gaining ground as well as the respect of riders and buyers. If you are in the market for one of these unique time pieces, this 10,000 mile machine might be your opportunity. Check it out here, and then jump to the Comments to share your Turbo thoughts. Good Luck!!

MI

Beast of Boost: 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo
Kawasaki January 28, 2018 posted by

Boosted Optimism: 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo

You are looking at what Cycle magazine dubbed the fastest motorcycle of 1985. Ripping off a quarter mile faster than liter bikes of the day, the Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo took the latest fad and turned it into a very sharp weapon indeed. Easily the most potent of the Turbo set, the GPZ750 Turbo pushed the boosted boundaries further than any of the Big Four. Yet despite the performance possible, Kawasaki failed to achieve success with their Turbo offering – much like the rest of the Big Four. Turbos screamed with graphics, torque and power, but generated few sales.

1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo for sale on eBay

Kawasaki bolted a Hitachi HT-10B turbocharger in front of the engine, positioned as close to the headers as possible to reduce lag. Utilizing digital fuel injection, the air-cooled, transverse four-stroke in-line four was otherwise comparatively simple in design. Kawasaki engineers raided the parts bin, adding some strengthening to the normally-aspirated GPz750 block handle the Turbo pressure. The top end came from the more conservative KZ650, lowering the compression ratio to a range more compatible with a turbo and pump gas. Expect approximately 95 unfettered horses from this combination.

From the seller:
YOU ARE LOOKING AT A 1985 KAWASAKI GPZ 750 TURBO THAT I HAVE OWNED SINCE NEW. THIS BIKE LIVED ALL OF ITS LIFE IN A CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT. THE BIKE HAS NEVER HAD FUEL IN ITS TANK, NEVER BEEN STARTED OR HAS HAD ANY ELECTROLYTE PUT INTO THE ORIGINAL BATTERY. MOTORCYCLE WAS PICKLED WHEN NEW AND MAINTAINED THAT WAY THROUGH OUT ITS LIFE. I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY ARE STILL OUT THERE IN THIS CONDITION, I’M THINKING VERY FEW IF ANY. BIKE IS STILL ON MSO, NEVER REGISTERED. I HAVE ORIGINAL OWNERS MANUAL AND BROCHURE. THIS IS A CHANCE TO OWN A BRAND NEW PIECE OF MOTORCYCLE HISTORY. I HAVE MORE PHOTOS IF NEEDED. TIRES ARE STARTING TO SHOW THEIR AGE WITH A LITTLE CRACKING ON THE SIDES, REMEMBER THEY ARE 33 YEARS OLD. PAINT IS FLAWLESS AS IS THE REST OF THE BIKE. PUT IT IN YOUR OFFICE OR MUSEUM , IT IS CURRENTLY IN ONE OF MY LIVING ROOMS.

The Turbo era has remained a relatively underperforming element of the collecting world. Sure, Turbo bikes are rare and unique – and slowly (glacially) gaining in value over the years. However they have failed to ignite the collector world just as they failed to ignite showroom fires back in the 1980s, and just as they failed to deliver on “literbike performance” from a smaller package. One might be willing to call the entire Turbo era a wholesale failure according to nearly every standard by which we compare motorcycles. Those might be harsh words, but the unfortunate reality of this particular segment of our two-wheeled universe. These words, by the way, come from an owner…

This particular Turbo GPz is perhaps the last “new” bike of its type in the world. Zero miles, never filled with fuel and original battery and tires make this a unique find for the right collector. And it would need to be a collector, as after sitting this many years unused, considerable care would need to be taken to turn this back into a rider. But riding it would destroy the value of this zero mile example, making this a museum piece at best. And what price does a brand new 1985 model go for? Would you believe six figures? Me neither. Props to the seller for asking a huge sum, but not riding the fastest quarter miler back in ’85 does not necessarily escalate the value tenfold. Yes, it can only be new once – but few bikes make it to the $100k milestone (and those are far more coveted models). Still, it is a cool time capsule worth looking at. Check it out here, and then jump to the comments and share your thoughts and experiences with Turbo bikes. Good luck!!

MI

Boosted Optimism: 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo
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!

MI

I Survived: 1983 Kawasaki GPZ550 in NY
Kawasaki June 26, 2017 posted by

Quandary: ZXR400R OR GSX-R400SP?

Our collector friend from Utah is at it again. If you’re not sure about whom I’m talking, check out this uber-rare Kawasaki KR-1R that he is selling from his collection. That is the caliber of model and condition that Gary brings to the table, and the two 400s pitted up against each other at auction today are no different. In one corner, you have a 1993 Kawasaki ZXR400R in original OEM condition. In the other corner, a rare 1989 Suzuki GSX-R400SP with exhaust. The problem is you can only pick one. I wouldn’t care which one I scored; both are simply gorgeous. Let’s meet the players:

1993 Kawasaki ZXR400R

When Kawasaki introduced the first ZXR400R model in 1989, it was the fastest of its peer group. With seemingly more grunt (although still adhering to Japanese home market power output limitations) and the highest top speed, it was the bad boy to have in the home market and in Europe. Interesting fact is that peak HP changed very little over the years of the model run; Kawasaki opting to bolster the torque curve in subsequent iterations rather than shooting for peak numbers. Again, this likely had more to do with home market regulations, but the result was a great all around mount: reasonably comfortable for commuting (or getting to the twisty bits), great handling due to small-ish size and weight (about 350 lbs dry), top-shelf components (upside down fork, Uni-trak, aluminum chassis, slipper clutch) and the ability to hit nearly 140 MPH on the straights. Here in the US, where the only real 400 we saw was the FZR, the Kawasaki reeked of performance in the sort of unobtainable way that made hardcore riders want them all the more. While this is not the rarest of the rare, finding a good clean example in the US is definitely not an everyday occurrence. That is the reason the last ZXR400 Gary listed was snapped up; good examples of rare bikes never last long at auction.

From the seller:
The first bike is a 1993 Kawasaki ZXR400R M model with only 3,318 kilometers (2,061miles). It is in mint condition and is completely stock. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM Kawasaki. Original tires, chain and sprockets along with factory warning labels. You NEVER see JDM bikes like this one.


1989 Suzuki GSX-R400SP

Suzuki was way ahead of the 400 game with the GSX-R; first released as a 1984 model, it had all the wonderful slab-sided uniqueness of its bigger brothers. And like the original GSX-R ideology, the 400 was light – undercutting the competition by several pounds (read: 20+ lbs); on a smaller bike, that is significant. As the model evolved, some of that weight came back. In 1988, the GXR-R400 gained a brand new (stiffer) chassis – known as the GK73A – accounting for some of that weight gain. In the end, the 400 Gixxer is on par with the Kawasaki in the weight department (approx 350 dry). This 1989 SP model was intended as a homologation unit for racing. Don’t get your hopes up on more power, however; home market bikes were all capped on HP, and in the end all reported about the same (or very similar) numbers: 59 HP. What the SP model got you was the solo accommodations, upgraded suspension (including a remote reservoir rear shock) and a close-ratio transmission. The 1989 model also introduced the braced swingarm, adding pounds but aiding handling – and looking super cool at the same time. Like the Kawasaki, this was a model never officially brought into the US. That makes it rare Stateside, but the SP model is also pretty rare in the rest of the world as well. Arguably, the GSX-R is the least common of the 400cc class and as SPs were intended for racing, finding a clean survivor is not easy.

From the seller:
The second choice is a very rare 1989 Suzuki GSX-R400 SP (Sports Production) with 8,690 kilometers (5400 miles). It is in mint condition also with only a few small scratches on the left side on the rear fairing from rubbing against another bike during shipping. All fairings and components are 100% genuine OEM Suzuki except for the Yoshimura Cyclone full exhaust. The original OEM factory Suzuki exhaust is included with the sale of this bike. This baby RK comes with brand new Bridgestone Battlax tires. The bike color looks black indoors. It is actually metallic dark blue when outside in the sunlight. The metallic blue sparkle really pops in the sun. Its gorgeous!


From the seller:
This is a “Your Choice” auction. The winning bidder will get their choice of bikes. You don’t get both, just one, for your high bid. These bikes are premium examples with extremely low miles, collector quality. Both bikes run like the day they were new. Both come with Utah titles and they are titled as street motorcycles for road use. These are rare premium bikes in premium condition for a premium price. Rare low mileage bikes like these don’t come around often. If you would like more pictures please contact me and I will send you all the photos you want. $500 deposit thru PayPal due immediately after auctions end. Bike to be paid in full within 5 business days. Again, Winning bidder gets their choice of bikes. You don’t get both, just one bike of your choice for your winning bid.

Well there you have it. Let the battle commence. Performance wise, the latter stages of bike development during this time was up against the Japanese power regulations; there is not too much to choose on that front. How each of these bikes delivers on that performance is a very unique experience, however. Drool over the pictures, and this pick your sides. Are you into Team Green and do you go for the ZXR based on brand loyalty? Do you lust after the GSX-R SP? Maybe it’s time to raid the 401k and the kid’s college fund and make Gary a serious offer on both (just don’t forget that KR-1R while your at it). Check both bikes out here, and Good Luck!!

MI