Hello all, new member here. I'm on the fence about buying a used '81 KZ550 LTD. This would be my first bike and it seems to be in pretty good condition. The previous owner rebuilt the carburetors, changed the engine gaskets, cables, chain, sprockets, brake pads, etc.
I haven't had the chance to try to sit on it yet, but I've read online that the LTD frame is a bit lower than the standard KZs. Should I be concerned about being uncomfortable on it at 6'0, 165 pounds? I'm planning on doing mostly city riding with it, but also a bit of highway riding. Is there anything else I should be looking for?
My wife has one of those and I've ridden it a bit but at my size (6 ft 2 in and 250 lb) I find it comfortable but a bit small. It's also a 6 speed shift, which you may not like. You're basically shifting every couple of seconds. But the extra gear makes highway mileage very good...my wife gets about 65 mpg (imperial gallon)
That said...someone has done a lot of work to that bike. The seat looks to have been re-done, and nicely so. The engine has been painted, which usually means it was pulled out of the bike at some point. Are the carbs also painted black? Pipes look original and in good condition.
About the only thing I would want to know is compression. I suspect it would be good, as the motor has been out of the bike and possibly rebuilt.
Be forewarned that shim change on those bikes is more complicated than on most vintage Kawasakis. Shims are under the tappets so the cams must be removed to change a shim. Care is required to replace the cams so that timing is correct.
I ride Z1's. I have a couple of '75's, plus an '80 KZ1000LTD. My lovely Sweetums rides a 1981 KZ550.
Great looking bikes you have there. The current owner has recently done a compression test, and everything looks fine. Regarding changing the shims, what should I be looking to see if they need replacement?
I am 6 ft 3 and 220 lbs and I am ok on my KZ1000. You might find it a bit small for you. Best way is to try if possible.
Also the shim adjustment is an issue you will not have on a KZ1000 as the shims can be replaced without having to touch the timing chain. You do however need to remove the airbox, the carbs and the cover so its still an ordeal but less.