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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

14 Comments

  • Holy crap!!
    My first motorcycle!
    Bought it from Leo’s kawasaki in Minnesota.
    This one looks really nice. The nicest one I’ve seen in decades. Stock pipes!
    How I wish I could buy this one. Sixteen again with summer about to start!
    My new Tuono kills that idea unfortunately.

  • This is a nostalgia buy. Some Gen Xer wanting to relive his teen years maybe? Curious to see if it actually goes for 5K

  • Wasn’t 1985 the last year for the GPz 550? I have one that is a 1985. Great bike, fun to ride too.

  • Certainly not ‘mint’, as the seller claims, but still a nice survivor. I have an ’85 900 with similar pipes, which are almost impossible to find these days.

  • this is why I love this site

  • Vincent Ochs took the words right out of my mouth. Not mint, but a nice survivor. Sorry, but to me it is just another guy flipping a bike trying to make it sound perfect. “Mint mint mint! title is being transferred into my name should have it back in 5 to 6 days” Header pipes have a lot to be desired, front wheel has quite a bit of corrosion, normal brake fluid damage on master cylinder, left cover damage, etc. I am very familiar with the Gpz’s. I currently have 2 1982 GPZ750’s and a 1984 ZX750 Turbo. My bikes are all original including the exhaust and my 750’s exhaust look similar to this bikes exhaust, which I feel is common. Nothing wrong with that, but not mint. My turbo is a 7k mile bike and it’s exhaust is mint. Just my old man opinions.

  • You guys hit it on the head. Just another Flipper!!!
    My buddy has a 1982 or 83 GPz550 rotting away in his backyard. A shame, but that’s how he rolls.

  • I had a GPZ1100 back as a teen in the eary 90s. What always struck me was how kawasaki managed to produce small, medium, medium turbo, and large versions of the same bike, they certainly had no interchangeable parts, but they sure were true to the familily genome. It only like like the size of each part varied, not the design. This here is a great mini-me example.

    That certainly was not the case with other brands. There were many interceptors but they had a large aesthetic variability. The engines certainly didn’t look much alike.

    Anyway, this is a nice late week surprise. Not in the market but it makes me smile to see a nicely maintained survivor. One that reminds me so much of the details on my old 1100. Just look at those gauges! So retro modern for a mid 80s bike.

  • After looking at the sellers pictures, I cannot remember the last time I saw a bike with so much ‘flipper grease’ all over it!! I mean every surface has it on it. One week or one wash and this bike looks like the tired survivor it really is.
    What true motorcycle rider greases the tires ??? None.

  • Interesting, in that I found the looks of all of the V-four Honda Interceptor engines similar in appearance. I mean the V-30 looked like the V-45 as well as the V-65, no?

  • My first road bike was an ’82 GPz. I had a lot of fun on that bike and have a lot of nostalgia for it. The ’82 still had the dual shocks and 19″ front wheel. Sportbikes changed dramatically in the several years after 1982. The Interceptor, GSXR, and FZ bikes were from another planet compared to the GPz bikes. I’d love to ride one again, but not sure that I’d want to own one.

  • First motorcycle I ever bought. 1983 GPz 550 $2622.00 out the door, purchased with miney from bussing tables. My best friends dad pulled one out of the warehouse, and I was the only kid on the latest greatest, for months! Reliably hacked nmh carcass to and from UCLA until 1985 when I was stolen at LAX, while I was working nights on the ramp for Western Airlines (“the ohhhhnnnlly way to fly”)! Unless you owned a GPz. I had every RZ350 owner pulling up alongside me, blipping his throttle every time I was on Mulholland, going to my dads house out at Malibu Lake, out by the Rock Store! Super fun times. I let 2 friends try it out – and they each bought one!

  • Yup, these were great bikes back then, and most were trashed by squid-kids. Of course riding one of these fast today is not for the faint of heart, what with ‘period-correct’ suspension and brakes.

  • Thanks for all of the fantastic comments and sharing such great memories!

    – Mike

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