Yes, they really have something about them , from first sight as an impressionable teenager, 30 years later I still feel exactly the same way about them: iconic styling with great engineering design.
Origami paperfold swage line bodywork and loud graphiics over bright colours not to everyone's taste i know, but it works for me.
The GPz were like an extension of the earlier kz legacy, just as the enthusiasts back in the day were boring out, bracing frames, dialing-in lumpy cams and creating flash paintjobs to the z900, kawasaki had it's finger on the pulse and they were doing the same thing. Word has it even today kawasaki design office subscribe to all the bike magazines, they create trends as much as they follow them.
The King is dead, long live the King! *
* Nicked from Dave Mardsen, z power uk, great writer and kawasaki expert. ( referring to the English tradition of mourning the death of the deceased King, but celebrating his succesor, a metaphor for the kz to Gpz lineage )
1980 Gpz550 D1, 1981 GPz550 D1. 1982 GPz750R1. 1983 z1000R R2. all four aces
Meanwhile Honda clung on to their clunky, bulbus style until they sold all they could to the die hards, finally coming around to the new styling. Kawasaki didn't want to have a "me too" bike, thus the 900, so Honda wound up being the "me too.
After Erik fitted new tires and took it to the road inspection, which it passed with flying colors it’s been a nice reunion. Things certainly took a new direction when Erik picked up his find and another biker friend from the eighties decided on a VF750F for a F Spencer replica project.
Since the last post I have clocked 700km and a 33 year old bike never fall short with surprises, every now and then there is always something happening. Steering end that loosens, speedo cable that decides to spring free, and more.
So far I have started to collect good deals for the winter to come. Those beautiful but darn expensive ZRX1100 swing arms will have to wait until I can do a good deal on one. So I settled for a Zephyr 750 Swing arm and picked up a pair of vintage Öhlins piggy back while at it.
Now I just have to decide where to go next.
I need rims and a front fork that will not let me loose to much ground clearance as I will try to go for 17’ front wheel.
Any suggestions for fork swap?
I am taking a short summer break from my part hunt for the upcoming winter build.
But I remember that fitting ISR breaks and a 18’ front wheel on my old 80’s Road Racing Gpz had a bigger impact on my lap times than the Jim Wells pistons and camshaft’s. (biggest impact on lap times, had getting in to the habit of running 5km daily , but nowadays I ride like a rainbow warrior so lap times is not important )
Getting rid of that big 19’ front wheel made the handling much nimbler and the bike was easier to toss in to the corners.
My current goal is to get wider rims, wider swing arm, a 41 mm fork on and descent “BREAKS”.
I am currently looking out for ZXR 400 rims as they are 3.5’ front and 4.5 rear and I guess will be a good fit. Aiming for to wide rear rim will add to much customization and is probably not worth it unless you switch for a wider 1000J or 1100R engine.
For the fork swap I am looking out for a Zephyr 750/1100 fork. They looks to be about the right length as I don’t want to lose too much ground clearance.
It’s hard to find a good source for fork length’s.
Finally it was time to get going with this winters project. My garage find that I bought for 50 US this spring proved reliable and I rode it to work basically the whole summer, clocking some 2000 Km without any problems. (of course there was a bit of rattle and bling and stuff falling off but what to expect from a bike 33 years old that had not received any kind of love for that last 20)
Considering the overall condition of my garage find, Erik and I was seriously concerned about how many bolts that would cause problems for us when we started taking it apart.
Ready to start in order to fit a Zephyr 750 -91 swing arm.
Much to our amazement all bolts came out just fine, even the headers came off without any fuzz, so far we could conclude that our choice of an Indian Pale Ale from a microbrewery in the city of Vaxholm was correct, as it got the job done.
But when it was time to withdraw the swing bolt we hit trouble. The swing bolt is seriously sized in the pivot tube and we realized that the Everyday IPA from the village of Hedemora that we were currently working with was not the right tool for the job.
We quickly changed to Czech pilsner and sturdier tools and managed to get the bolt to move about a 1mm. The movement was probably caused by us deforming the needle bearings, the bolt itself is totally sized in the pivot tube after happily living together for the last 33 years without any sort of care.
We have a hydraulic bench press, but how do you fit the frame in the press or the press around the bike? Even getting Kroll in the pivot tube is basically impossible, so this require some thinking and possible use of the jack saw.
The front end however was easy-peasy, just dump the original fork
and the Zephyr 750 -93 (41mm) front end fits like a charm using the original GPz 750 bearings.
Well that's Ironic. It seems I'm the only one that has a 750R1 and doing mods that isn't replacing the forks and swing arm but isn't using the fairing, Not that I had the choice.
Found these on ebay BTW, might come in handy. I'm really tired of fighting the old hard ones, takes all the fun out of playing with the carbs. With the drop in the Euro they were cheaper than Z1 Ent and Partszilla.
I could never imagine that the sized swing bolt was going put up such a fight, we tried every trick up our sleeve to get it loose.
Unfortunately the garage is a wooden structure so we could not play around with hydraulic jacks to press it out, so in the end I went out and bought a second hand used oxy-weld kit to heat the little F#&@er out.
But the swingbolt continued to elude us to big time and finally it had to pay the final price as the oxy-weld kit contained a cutting torch.
This means that we didn’t get a chance to measure up the swing arm before we start fabricating the new distances and bushings we will need when fitting the Zephyr swing arm to the bike.
Tks. to this excellent forum we already know that the pivot is 230mm
In short, we have a used Gpz750R1 swing arm for sale that some think can be brought back to life with a little JB-weld.