Posts by tag: Uni-Trak

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Kawasaki May 2, 2022 posted by

Start Me Up: 1983 Kawasaki GPz1100

Up for grabs in it’s second trip around the eBay galaxy is a very pretty 1983 Kawasaki GPz1100. This was the mainstay of the Kawasaki big bore lineup – going toe to to with the likes of the Suzuki GS1100 and Katana – before being soundly replaced by the stunning “next gen” 900 Ninja. As rare bikes go, this is less rare than most, and not a model that was coveted for its exclusivity. But we have seen time and again that the condition of a bike has much to do with how coveted it is. And when it comes to 40 year old mass produced bikes that have been hooned, rashed and virtually disposed of, the better examples will always stand out.

1983 Kawasaki GPz1100 for sale on eBay

From the seller:
Rare 1983 Kawasaki GPZ 1100: Stored for many years in a California collection; original paint; excellent original condition. We purchased this bike along with a collection of rare cars and motorcycles. It has not been ridden in several years, needs a battery. All the cars and motorcycles in this collection were in nice condition as this one is a good example.

This bike has nearly 40 years and 28,000 miles to brag about. But it does so with some pretty vivid paint and amazingly shiny black chrome engine cases and exhaust. As most know, these are areas of this vintage Kawasaki that quickly show wear and corrosion. The plus side is that it all appears stock and in reasonable nick. The potential downside to that condition is that it was stored for many years (thereby saving it from possible weather-related damage), but has not been recommissioned. The seller states that it needs a battery, but nothing in the way of how it was stored. If it was drained of fuel and fogged, that may well be all that is needed to light the fires. If not, there may be a lot more work needed to make this big beast run in anger again.

The condition of this old-school GPz warrants inclusion on these pages, even if the collector value remains low. Prices are slowly increasing for models in excellent condition, and this particular bike was bid up over $4,100 in the previous auction (not meeting reserve). It has since been relisted here in a Buy It Now format with the price set at $7,995. Although the bike looks great, the price might be a bit too steep for the model and the level of interest. I think we all wish for this bike to find a loving new home and owner that will recommission it into a runner, as these older GPz1100s are rock solid reliable and a fantastic – if aging – platform. Check out all the pics and details, and Good Luck!!

MI

Start Me Up: 1983 Kawasaki GPz1100
Kawasaki February 18, 2022 posted by

Was (Not Was): 1985 Kawasaki GPz750

With apologies to David Weiss and Don Fagenson, it’s time to walk the dinosaur – the 1985 Kawasaki GPz750. The younger generation reading this – who did not grow up with cassette tapes, never had a mobile that didn’t have a camera, and has never watched ALF (no loss there, really) – probably won’t understand how cutting edge this bike was in the day. The older generation, who cut teeth on RDs and H2s realize that this was likely the last gasp of a particular era of sport bikes. And the numbers show that this was never rare then, and is still not in that collectible category today. But time wages its inexorable battle with elements, abuse and damage, dwindling the supply of good examples of everything, making even a very mass-produced Japanese sport bike rare by circumstance.

1985 Kawasaki GPz750 for sale on eBay

The 1985 model of the GPz was completely evolutionary, with DNA stretching back to the KZ models of the late 1970s, and even some hints of the great Z1. Bodywork grew from the original bikini fairing in 1982 to the larger main fairing with lowers as seen on this 1985 model. The inline four cylinder displaced an actual 738cc, was air cooled and breathed through two valve heads. Power was a modest 87 HP at the crank, utilizing a 5-speed transmission and chain final drive to propel the 530-ish pound (wet) GPz to a mid-12 second quarter mile time. But the GPz was no drag bike; this was a do it all, drag your knee on Sunday, commute to work on Monday motor scooter.

From the seller:
1985 Kawasaki GPZ 750 (ZX750A3)
USED item, near mint condition.

Clean title. 5,200 Miles.
Extremely low miles. All shown on pictures. Runs and drives great.

Around $1,000 spent on the carbs: fully disassembled, powder coated, reassembled, and synchronized.
Front and rear master cylinders rebuilt. The three calipers also rebuilt with new brake pads (EBC).

The GPz existed from 1982 – 1985. But by the time the 1985 model bowed, the revolutionary GPz900R Ninja obliterated the category of bigger bore sport bikes. This made the GPz750 outdated as it sat on the showroom floor. It became a victim of the very performance arms race it helped to create. Resale prices dropped, and most GPz examples were used, abused and sold, with rinse and repeat the order of the day. The bikes were reliable and robust, and held up well mechanically to these antics. But cosmetically the black chrome look did not hold up well to neglect, meaning that an old GPz usually looks like an old GPz.

Today’s example is a 5,200 mile specimen that looks amazing. We are talking about a 37 year old sport bike here, potentially older than many of our readers. That condition is what makes this bike worthy of the “rare” moniker, as despite the numbers of bikes produced by Kawasaki Heavy Industries during this time period, few remain in this sort of shape. So if you lived through this era and are mired in some serious nostalgia, this might just be the bike for you. New in showrooms the GPz750 was listed for approximately $5,600. This beauty is being listed for slightly more in a Buy It Now format, with the seller open to offers. Check out all of the details here, then grab that Swatch watch, jump into the DeLorean and head back to the future! You’ll be walking on sunshine. Thank you for your support!

MI

Was (Not Was): 1985 Kawasaki GPz750
Kawasaki December 2, 2021 posted by

Somewhere in Time: 1985 Kawasaki GPz550

Rare (adjective)
1. (of an event, situation, or condition) not occurring very often.
2. (of a thing) not found in large numbers and consequently of interest or value.
3. unusually good or remarkable.

Before the flaming starts, I thought I’d hit up the olde Oxford Dictionary and set the ground rules for discussion. Nobody in their right mind (or even their left one) would confuse the scarcity of a model – say an oval piston NR750 – with a mass-produced, run of the mill middleweight such as a GPz550. But if RSBFS was simply about listing model names, we could accomplish the goal without photos and just publish a spreadsheet. Not much fun in that! Instead we search for the best of what’s out there on any given week, and try to highlight things that jump out at us. And what jumped out at me is one of several tens of thousands of a not so rare model belting out it’s best Gloria Gaynor: I will survive.

1985 Kawasaki GPz550 for sale on eBay

I know that many RSBFS readers are of an age when the GPz was the shiz. Maybe you had one (or several). Maybe you simply lusted after one from the pages of Cycle or the seat of a moped. For our younger readers, the GPz550 was mainstay of the middleweight battles in the early 1980s, and represented a serious sport bike for the masses. Kawasaki brought out the big guns when it came to the most popular GPz, providing the basic 2-valve, aircooled inline four with a competent chassis and cutting edge Uni-Trak rear suspension and anti-dive front forks. With bodywork and styling that mimicked the treatments offered to the GPz1100 and GPz750, the 550 included the same swoopy graphics, a similar racy fairing, miles of black chrome accents and new techo gadgetry such as the LCD display on the tank.

From the seller:
1985 Kawasaki GPZ550. A super low mile original survivor almost impossible to find in this condition.
A real collectors item. It has stood unused for many years on display so will need recommissioning if you want to actually ride It.

While the basic platform of the GPz550 was fairly bulletproof, the nearly disposable nature of the market did the overall model no favors. These were not the most expensive bikes in the showroom, making them popular with riders – especially the younger set. Countless examples have been thrashed and trashed from inner city exposure to track adventures. Many of the cutting edge features did not hold up well either (i.e. partially functioning LCD displays), and the black chrome finish was always on the verge of being one day away from looking faded and tarnished. To find a mid-’80s example of the vaunted GPz550 in fully stock condition without the accumulated battle scars of a daily commuter or canyon squid simply must fit into the Oxford definition of rare. Did you notice the mileage? Yup, that is fewer than 1,500 miles of asphalt under the keel of this time capsule. The lower bar work is the only item that looks like an add-on – any GPz aficionados online to comment?

We at RSBFS have often highlighted how the condition of a bike – of any bike – will help it rise above the financial station of its peers. This 1985 GPz550 is no exception to that rule, although as this has spent most of its life as a static display it may not be a simple “ride off into the sunset” affair for the new owner. Additionally, while it will continue to be worth more than the clapped out mongrels we often see on eBay, CL, etc, this remains a mass-market bike that will never have the collector appeal (i.e. price bubble) of something like an RC30. But it is the best GPz we have seen in a long time, and it is worth checking out here. Did you dream of a GPz – or did you ride one back in the day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Good Luck!!

MI

Somewhere in Time: 1985 Kawasaki GPz550
Kawasaki August 16, 2021 posted by

Past Present Future Classic – 1982 Kawasaki GPz550

A blast from the past, the GPz was perhaps the ultimate expression of sport bike back when Olivia Newton‑John was getting physical, Rocky had the eye of the tiger, and Tommy Tutone was trying to remember Jenny’s number. This was an era before liquid cooling, before fuel injection, and long before computers had anything to do with motorcycles, preferring to spend their time printing out “hello world” messages. Pre-FaceBook, pre-Twitter, and before internet-streamed content because it was pre-internet, the GPz 550 exudes old tech, old-school cool.

That is not to say that the middleweight GPz did not contain some tech. For the day, it was an evolution of the KZs that came before: 58-ish HP from the air-cooled, 2-valve inline four breathing through Constant Velocity (CV) carbs. But the real trickery was in the suspension. Air-assisted front forks allowed for some degree of tuning, but out back was the first appearance of Kawasaki’s Uni-Trak – a rising-rate, single shock linkage that finally but the twin-shock concept to bed. Fitted with triple disks (of modest proportions by today’s standards) and a bikini fairing, the GPz was the embodiment of the modern era sportbike.

From the seller:
1982 Kawasaki GPZ 550. 20,172 miles on the odometer. Not a dent in the tank and the paint is excellent. Carbs will need to be cleaned and I have 4 carb kits for the bike (K&L). New battery, rebuilt front calipers and rear caliper. Factory manual comes with the bike. This is truly a beautiful motorcycle. Come with 2 new tires that will come with the bike….they will need to be put on the bike

The GPz line was mass produced and there were no special, limited edition models within a size range. Therefore one GPz550 of a given year is very much like any other GPz550 of the same year – no S model, no R spec, and no homologation examples. As a massively produced motorcycle, the GPz550 was not rare – nor where they expensive, nor were they hard to come by (unless you were teenage dreamer living at home spending hours pouring through Cycle magazine… but I digress). Today, a clean and original GPz is becoming a rare find. These were picked up, traded hands, tracked, commuted, parked wherever, and most languish in that nether world of potentially great, but not in great enough shape to care about. That is what makes today’s find special.

This one has been on the block for a while, and the Buy It Now price is a pretty rational $4,500 OBO. Yes, that is more than what it cost when new. But much less than it would cost to bring a rat bike back to former glory. And the seller is open to offers. If you have a collection in your stable and you don’t have a GPz, you should definitely find some room somewhere to sneak one in. For the early eighties, the GPz was the motorcycling pin up equivalent of Bo Derek or the Lamborghini Countach. Check out all of the details here, and then jump to the comments and share your GPz experiences. Good Luck!!

MI

Past Present Future Classic – 1982 Kawasaki GPz550
Kawasaki February 9, 2021 posted by

Poor Man’s RC30: 1989 Kawasaki ZX750 H1

In the 1980s all the major Big Four manufacturers were geared up to go racing. This was a massive boon to the consumer; not only did racing improve the overall breed, race-ready bikes showed up in the showrooms as homologation models. And while Honda and Yamaha produced actual race bikes with street concessions (read: RC30 and OW01, respectively), Kawasaki brought an excellent street bike to the party. Capable of being tuned into a fire-breathing racer by privateers, the H1 was an upper echelon sport bike for the masses.

1989 Kawasaki ZX750 H1 for sale on eBay

The ZX750 H1 has all the basics that make it an excellent platform – but without the super exclusivity of the Honda and Yamaha specials. That did not make the Kawi any less special, just less pricey. Yet all the goods were there from the beginning with the twin spar aluminum frame tying together multi-adjustable suspension front and rear with a jewel of a 108-ish HP inline four and 6-speed tranny mounted in the middle. All this was draped with endurance racer bodywork (including elephant snorkels to bring fresh air into the airbox) and drenched in gallons of lime green paint. The effect was significant, and hooligans everywhere were mesmerized. Aspiring professionals could obtain a race kit to unleash the inner beast and turn this street machine into a racetrack razor.

From the seller:
An original low mileage ZX750 H1. Very hard to find one In this condition. It’s like new a true time capsule.
Please feel free to message me if you have any questions. Thank you very much.

Because ZX750s were more accessible than other 750 superbike-class offerings – but only slightly less capable – Kawasaki cranked out a significant number of them. This invariably meant that while OWs and RCs were headed for collector stables, ZX750s found their way into garages and street parking everywhere. Today it is the passage of time and overall condition that make these nostalgia machines valuable.

Today’s example of the ZX750 H1 is about a clean as we’ve seen for a while. Located in California and from the stable of our new favorite collector, this 1989 mean green machine is looking for a new home. If the condition of some of his other bikes is any indication, this one should be very minty indeed. The Buy It Now price is a rather lofty $18k, however that is far below the asking prices for some of the aforementioned homologation racers and reinforces Kawasaki’s design goal criterion. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!

MI

Poor Man’s RC30: 1989 Kawasaki ZX750 H1
Kawasaki February 4, 2021 posted by

Turbo Time! 1984 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo

When Honda launched the Turbo wars with the 1982 CX500T, the rest of the Big Four were not far behind. Before the very brief rise of the factory turbos came crashing down, Honda had produced both the CX500 and CX650 Turbos, Suzuki introduced the stunning XN85 Turbo Katana look-alike, Yamaha phoned in a warmed-over Seca 650T, and Kawasaki produced the fastest motorcycle money could buy in 1984: the GPz750 Turbo.

1984 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo for sale on eBay

The recipe during this era of motorcycle innovation followed pretty similar routes; take an existing engine/platform, build up the bottom end to withstand additional power, bolt up a turbocharger and associated plumbing, and create an induction system to maximize both performance and longevity. In the case of Kawasaki the GPz unit was already fairly stout. By reducing compression via the use of special pistons, the real magic was in the oil delivery system. Oil is a cooling medium for air-cooled engines, and Turbos are notorious for creating heat quickly. Kawasaki beefed up the oil capacity, added a scavenge pump, and generally increased oil flow through the engine. But the secret to the boosted GPz was in the exhaust. By optimally placing the turbo in front of the engine – and thereby feeding the turbo hot exhaust gasses as directly from the combustion chamber as possible – Kawasaki managed to minimize turbo lag and really extract the most from their turbo setup. Electronic fuel injection fed the beast, and the remainder was an interesting mix of GPz750 and GPz1100 components.

From the seller:
Up for sale is my 1984 GPZ 750 Turbo with only 269 original miles. I bought this bike directly from Kawasaki Motor Corp two years ago. The new Kawasaki President sold off all of Kawasaki’s inventory in California that had been sitting there for years and this was one of them. I bought this bike just as you see it. As far as I can tell, the bike looks 100% original and has matching VIN with Engine VIN. Bike has been stored in my heated garage. The bike has been on display since I purchased it and never put fuel in it. This may be the lowest mileage turbo in existence, and it came straight from Kawasaki Motor Corp. I have all the paperwork needed to register the bike in all 50 states. You may never find another one like this, there are turbos out there but with this low of mileage would be near impossible to find. The only reason why I’m selling is because I am downsizing and moving south. Freight shipping will be coordinated and paid for by the purchaser. Thank you and happy bidding

While Honda and Yamaha produced sport touring rigs and Suzuki created something all new, Kawasaki extended their GPz lineup to include this Turbo model. That was smart from an advertising perspective, as even folks who couldn’t afford the Turbo might kick down for a normally aspirated GPz750 (or even a GPz550 or lowly 305). The fact that Jay Gleason ripped off a quarter mile time quicker than the company’s own GPz1100 earmarked the Turbo as something special – and fast. Available for only a few years with very minimal changes, the GPz750 Turbo is often (and rightfully) considered one of the best turbo bikes of the era.

Today’s example has a claimed 269 miles on the clock. That seems unreal today, but the entire bike looks to be pretty clean and well preserved. This came directly from Kawasaki very recently according to the current owner who has paperwork to match. If it all checks out, this is as new as new gets for a 37 year old bike. I suggest you check out all of the pics and details here, but be warned: this bike is breaking the price barrier for the Turbo set. Bidding is up to nearly $11,500 at time of writing, and there is still a reserve in place. It is uncommon for Turbos of any make to cross the $10k barrier, so this just might be one to watch. Stay safe, and good luck!!

MI

Turbo Time! 1984 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo
Kawasaki December 3, 2020 posted by

The Way Things Were: 1984 Kawasaki GPz 550

Orwellian theory aside, big brother was indeed watching in 1984. In fact, the whole world was watching in 1984, as the last truly competitive “old school” middleweight sport bike strutted its stuff. Today this is better known as a classic – even potentially an antique given its 36-ish years of age – but back then this was the pinnacle of what we in the US considered a smaller motorcycle. The 550cc set was what constituted the middleweight class in the 1980s (save for the odd Yamaha 350cc RZ or 600cc FJ) and Kawasaki threw everything they had into the last year of the GPz 550. This glorious time capsule is waiting to bring back the memories of synthesizer-driven music, Ghostbusters at the box office, and Dynasty on the tube.

1984 Kawasaki GPz 550 for sale on eBay

Even by standards of the day, the GPz was far more evolution than revolution. Honda had released the 500cc Interceptor, Yamaha had liquid cooled the spirit of the RD350, and everywhere there were new and cutting edge motorcycles to be found. But the GPz excelled against more modern foe with solid handling, decent power and upgraded chassis and componentry. While only air cooled and breathing through two valves per cylinder, the GPz was good for 65 horsepower. Triple disk brakes helped with the stopping duty. The forks up front were complemented by an anti-dive mechanism, and a modern rising rate “Uni Trak” single shock held station out back. The double down-tube steel frame was beefed up to handle the additional power, and the whole package was topped off with bigger brother’s 3/4 fairing and nifty LCD display located on the tank. In this final year the GPz was truly a polished package, showing methodical upgrades and updates since inception.

From the seller:
Mint mint mint! This 550 GPZ is an example of a absolutely mint condition unrestored survivor. This bike starts and runs flawlessly buy it, ride it, display it, whatever you feel necessary to enjoy this classic time machine. Please look at all the photos and you will see how nice this bike is and sorry if I sound like I’m bragging but it will be hard-pressed to find another this nice! title is being transferred into my name should have it back in 5 to 6 days. Everything is done online with the new Covid restrictions. I can store this bike as long as needed for you to find a shipper.I would be glad to provide you a video of the bike running, riding, or just another walk around…

The whole GPz line (1100, 750, 550, 305) performed well for Kawasaki, and built a solid fan base. The future was only days ahead, with the introduction of the GPz900 “Ninja” and the follow-on 600cc variant, but for this year anyway, the GPz 550 ruled the roost. Available in red with white/blue stripes as well as silver with black/red accents, the 1984 model can best be identified via the LCD panel and the unique to this year 3-spoke wheels. Today’s example is the more popular Kawi Red, and it looks to be extremely clean. The black chrome looks immaculate (something that was pretty fragile in the early GPz years), the decals are in great shape, and the bike appears generally devoid of scrapes & scratches (although I *may* detect some rash at the extreme end of the right-hand side muffler).

This 1984 Kawasaki GPz 550 appears to be completely stock except for the foamie handgrips – which is not a big deal IMHO. With 14,000 and change on the clocks, this is not a new bike, but hardly over-used. The best part is the Buy It Now price of a lowly 5 grand USD. That is a LOT of nostalgia and fun for not that much dosh. Check out all of the details here, and be sure to share your GPz stories with us in the comments. Stay safe, and good luck!!

MI

The Way Things Were: 1984 Kawasaki GPz 550
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