Kawasaki’s king of the road, The GPz900R — Classic Motobikes — Bike Reviews

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Kawasaki GPZ 500 S (reduced effect)

Kawasaki’s king of the road, The

During the early 80’s the sat around awaiting the next big in motorcycling. Big capacity, air-cooled, bikes had become the norm and expected this march to momentum, few however expected next move and the result the face of the Superbike forever.

isnt many times a dated Japanese design the early 80’s is put back production, the Nippon way is usually new be better, simply because it has developed further and yet Kawasaki did that in 1990 when a six old design suddenly appeared in the UK brochure. There is a reason why the or Ninja as it became known in markets around the world, was into the Kawasaki range in way.

This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction from a with little else to as the range had moved on many since the GPz900R had first a wheel, the staggering ZZR1100 was around the corner while the was already doing sterling This benchmark 80’s still had a huge fan base demand for something a little to the plastic rockets of the 90’s strong.

This agile and liquid-cooled four still had the to hold it own in straight line and was too lardy in the twisties either. Add a position that doesn’t the wrists, or cause backache, minutes and the Kwak could be upon as a half decent VFR

To get what the GPz is all about however one sample an early version, then does the genius of the become apparent, there are a few to what had passed before it these are of little significance, machine is all about each and component working for its living. are no free rides on this bus and all chip in, making the sum greater the parts ever could be. this thinking working to effect the GPz went on to dominate racing for the first few seasons its introduction, racers soon the bike to be near perfect out of the box particularly for the lengthy TT races, taking the first three along with new lap and race in the 1984 production race.

The is a lesson in how to mix new and old thinking, creating a and trustworthy power plant of taking the next generation of Superbike well into the and beyond, traces of the original GPz found, still going in the ZZR series many years the launch of the original. despite its the chassis is staggeringly effective its basic steel tube and, on paper at least, steering angles, conspire to a rock steady ride when at heady speeds. just works well, the feeble looking, but high twin disc set up on the front end to the wheels and tyres that fail to provide the grip you ned to many a power range on his rocket ship.

At the end of the day the GPz can be looked on in many ways, it is a classic, and yet with a look clearly means business, it is a reliable machine capable of day to day that dependable engine and put together, taught chassis a fun filled and speedy ride. It is a design icon, instantly as a ground breaking machine few whistles and bells that accompany such an event, to put it it is still a great among a sea of and imitators.

Living with a

To put this machine in context one must have sampled, or at have some considerable for those brutish muscle that came before it, like the GPz1100 or Suzuki the biking equivalents of a hammer to a humble walnut, only can you see and feel why the world was knocked for six by the These huge powerhouse rocked the planet with a mix of horsepower and debatable handling the GPz900R worked hard to be perfect in all areas by using different approaches to the same

The compact engine makes up a proportion of the frame work, as a stressed member while designed suspension keeps the in perfect order at high and steep angles of lean. is at the expense of some harshness at lower speeds with pot and other modern day road making their presence your spine but this for long and, once the opens out the bike becomes and riding it, effortless. At speed, the also comes into its lessons learned with successful Grand Prix machines of the 70’s were on the road too great effect, use of this knowledge in the wind resulted in the most slippery going Kwak to date.

Low down power and torque so impressive, requiring a deft use of the six-speed gearbox to keep the buzzing, it does kick in around 5000rpm and gets as the revs rise until it just short of the maximum This characteristic makes for an ride when the full of the engine is used, fuelled and accurately, by a bank of Keihin CV there is not a glitch to be found at any in the tacho needles arc.

If its looks, head turning and practical, modern usability you for then there can be few machines the 80’s quite like the With the exception of a few scarce parts like the fragile steel exhaust silencers, a GPz shouldn’t be a difficult task. is a healthy presence of owners and other such fraternal along with a good of parts and knowledge enabling classic to be viewed as a practical to a modern machine, later are cheaply available too wit many 96 versions finding their way the UK market as grey imports.

If any machine can lay claim to being at the birth of the modern Superbike this Kwak is it, setting the in engine and chassis design with a few early 80’s apart like anti and 16-inch front wheels, still be around, and much many years later.

GPz900R Model history

when the biking community they had it sorted, the world of big air-cooled fours was shot to and Kawasaki regained the crown as the of the best and fastest, with the It was light, powerful, albeit so than the 1100cc machinery it and lithe too making the new 900 the benchmark for to beat. It also set the stall out for a of features like liquid and full fairings that become the norm.

There was a little something that so apparent when looking at the sheets and pr blurb, this was a big that felt like a one, as easy to throw as the best of the 750’s, while as hard and as fast as the old school To achieve this Kawasaki had a back on the last ten years of a period during which had produced some of the best machines of the decade and designed an all new plant. It nearly didn’t to fruition however as early built when the project in 1980, went down the route with over six-cylinder engines and much simply for innovations sake, the light was seen and the machine down to produce the stunning and fast machine we know

Its engine a breath of fresh air influenced all that followed, the cam chain was moved over to the far of the engine, in doing so making for a four-cylinder layout than the timing chain running up the keeping the lower end of the engine as as possible for maximum lean and small frontal area to drag. The design lived on, it arguably the longest production run of any capacity machine, and actually many of the later machines it the GPz1000RX and the stunning ZX10 all and went.

The GPz900R remained in for nearly two decades, finally out in 2003 although the type was from the UK market in 1996. The A7 and A8 models, introduced in 1990 with updates to the wheels and all held in place by beefier forks, the former enabling modern rubber to be used but power was reduced by around 5% in a slower top speed and standing times.

Kawasaki GPz900R Specifications

— liquid-cooled 4-cylinder DOHC

Capacity —

Bore/… — 72.5 x

Kawasaki GPZ 500 S (reduced effect)

Power — 113bhp @

Torque — 68ft-lb @

Carburation — 4 x 34mm CVK34

Transmission — wet clutch chain final

Frame — steel

Suspension — 38mm forks, hydraulic anti Uni-Track rear

Brakes 280 mm discs 2-piston floating-calipers. 270 mm 2-piston floating-caliper

Wheels 120/80 x 16, 130/80 x 18

Weight 228kgs

Top speed —

Wheelbase — 1495mm

capacity – 22ltrs

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