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TOPIC: Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please?

Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 06:48 #830447

  • Ninja1195
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Greetings to everyone on this fine forum!

I just purchased a 1978 Kawasaki KZ650 from an older gentleman here in Montreal. He was the second owner and treated the bike very well. Gave me heaps of invoices and plenty of spares too. The bike has just under 30,000 kilometers and I was lucky enough to score it for $1000. It is in pretty remarkable condition overall though the seat needs to be recovered and the tank and panels painted. But that will be a winter project as right now I wish to ride!

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I am a die hard Kawasaki fan having owned countless GPZ 900, a few GPZ 550, a ZX-7R and presently ride a near mint silver ZRX1200.

A few question on my KZ650 if I may?

-I would like to install either Emgo or Renthal Superbike bars. It was a very painless affair on my ZRX. However research tells me that on my KZ I will l have the master cylinder hitting the dial and or the tank at full lock. That the cables MUST be replaced with shorter ones. Can anyone clarify this?

I am wanting to replace the plugs and my local dealer sold me the proper NGK plugs. However my older plugs have a very fine almost threaded tip where the wire snaps down onto. The new plugs all seem to have a larger non threaded post. Is this as simple as replacing the wires from the coil with newer more modern type? Any standard automotive wires will do the trick?

I am also wanting to replace my master cylinder with a more modern one with a brake light switch within. Reason being that my original is rather tired looking (paint peeling) and I wish to also replace my 40 plus year old rubber brake line. In doing that I wish to ditch the brake switch cylinder underneath the triple tree and have one solid braided line to the caliper. I will eventually source another KZ caliper to have dual front brakes. Any suggestions on a decent aftermarket MS?

Many thanks in advance for all your tips and advice!
1978 KZ650 B2

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Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 09:21 #830460

  • mrmach5
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Not sure about your handlebar question, however most sites list bar measurements so you should be able to measure.
As to the new NGK plugs you bought. Get a set of pliers and unscrew the non threaded tip,,,,,, underneath you will find the threaded post to fit your plug wire caps.
On the master cylinder check with Z1 Enterprises, or Z1 Parts web site to see if they have what your looking for.

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Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 09:48 #830461

  • seanbarney41
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I ran Emgo superbike bars on both my 650's, a 77B1, and a 78SR D1, and had no clearance problems. The MC might be a little tight to the gauge, but since you are buying a new one, get one that saves some space. I like buying used but operational MC from 90s-2000's era sport bikes on ebay. Smaller, cleaner, and available in the right piston diameter. Get your mc first, and then you can order the correct length and orientation brake line. As far as the other cables, I don't remember exactly, but I think I used stock lengths and just made them work. Be aware that the clutch cable length is the most critical, as it can be tough to accomodate extra length and too short just will not work.

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Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 10:27 #830464

  • Warren3200gt
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US bikes came with higher bars as standard hence the longer cables. UK bike came with lower bars and shorter cables which work with renthal bars you mentioned, HOWEVER, depending which model you have it may not be quite as straight forward as a straight bars/cable swop. Early 650 's had the control electric wire running inside the bars tube. Obviously renthals dont have the facility and dont be tempted to cut a hole in the renthal bars to accomodate them. If you look closely the oem bars have a strengthening piece where the hole is. Its there for a reason.
If you decide to go renthal, which I have on one bike, you can get the UK length cables from zpower.co.uk who ship worldwide.
Regarding mc and clocks. You can use the original mc with renthal bars you just need to have the banjo loosened and turned out the way to accomodate. Remember to re tighten it though!
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Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 12:53 #830470

  • 650ed
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What did your dealer say were the proper NGK plugs? Most dealers will sell you whatever they have in stock rather than finding out the CORRECT spark plugs for a specific application. I've owned my 1977 KZ650-C1 since it was new (43+ years) and have found that ND W22ES-U plugs (which is one plug the Kawasaki Service Manual recommends) work the best. The other recommended plug that I have used is the NGK B7ES. The NGK works ok too, but the ND works a little better in my bike. If the dealer recommended or provided any plug different than the two I listed don't bother installing them. Instead, buy the CORRECT plugs. Ed
1977 KZ650-C1 Original Owner - Stock (with additional invisible FIAMM horn)

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Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 14:15 #830479

  • Ninja1195
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My dealer did indeed suggest the NGK B7ES plugs and yes it turns out that they do unscrew to reveal the smaller tip.

I assume that pretty much any 14mm (7/8 bar thickness) MC will work?

How do those cheap ebay ones hold up? I'd like something a little more robust AND with a brake light wire too.
1978 KZ650 B2

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Hello! New member with recent 1978 KZ650 and a few questions please? 12 Jul 2020 18:19 #830497

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Ninja1195 wrote: My dealer did indeed suggest the NGK B7ES plugs and yes it turns out that they do unscrew to reveal the smaller tip....


Great! It sounds like you may have a very good dealer. Ed
1977 KZ650-C1 Original Owner - Stock (with additional invisible FIAMM horn)
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