80's Kawasakis

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80's Kawasakis

Post by Disastrous @ Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:35 pm

I had an excellent day today. A friend of mine collects classic Jap bikes and given that he has too many and can't ride them, put me on his insurance and invited me up to Knockhill today to take some of his machinery for a spin and watch some bike racing.

It was superb.

For the ride up, I went for a Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo (a fcuking turbo on a motorbike is insanely brilliant) and he took a GPZ1100. We swapped for the ride home but I have to say I preferred the smaller bike. It was properly nimble and didn't feel like a 30+ year old bike at all. Nimble, planted and fast. Very impressed and it was super comfy as well. You could tour all day on it and keep up with pretty much most modern machinery I reckon. I believe they have about 112bhp which is quick enough, if not terrifying in the same way my Aprilia is.

Basically, I was Maverick*.

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The 1100 was a different proposition. Really long wheelbase and to me it felt like an older bike. There was a remoteness to it that I found a bit disconcerting and I found I was quite shit at riding it, feeling really unconfident in my road positioning and grip levels. Speaking to the guys afterwards, they said it's a pretty common thing if you're used to riding modern sports bikes - you just don't get the same level of feedback or the same feeling of plantedness that you get today. It's largely an illusion, as you won't especially lose grip but until you have ridden it for long enough to trust it, it's quite unsettling. I also found the length of it made it quite tricky to manoeuvre round tight corners and roundabouts at low speed. Brilliant engine though and a cool experience to ride it.

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He's got a 900 in the garage too which I intend to try (because Top Gun) and I reckon that might prove to be a sweet spot of engine size/wheelbase. I think one of these makes a near perfect 'everyday' bike. Comfortable, cool looking (IMO), fast and reliable enough. You could eat up a couple of days of touring in one no bother I reckon and they're somehow cooler than a modern touring bike. I want one.


*I know it was a 900 but whevs.
Last edited by Disastrous on Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:23 pm

Did the turbo whine at all?!

I'm torn. I like the retroness of them a lot and would love to ride one. I can't see how it could be an ideal daily hike though but think you should get one nevertheless. Although, given your location maybe an 80s BMW Dakar style bike would be more fitting??
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Disastrous @ Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:34 pm

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:Did the turbo whine at all?!

I'm torn. I like the retroness of them a lot and would love to ride one. I can't see how it could be an ideal daily hike though but think you should get one nevertheless. Although, given your location maybe an 80s BMW Dakar style bike would be more fitting??



It did. It sounded fcuking superb. You'd hit the power band and it would spool up and make a sort of whistling noise that is hugely addictive. It even has an LCD boost gauge on the clocks.

By ideal daily bike I mean they're sporty looking but not uncomfortable, reliable, feel solid etc. I think I really mean an ideal touring bike than daily bike though. Plus you can ride them alongside airfields and runways whilst punching the air and also to and from beach volleyball matches. Versatile.

He's just sold a BMW Paris-Dakar, bizarrely.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by NNK @ Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:52 pm

All I have is terrifying memories of 80's Kawasakis. A mate had a GPZ900 then a GPZ1000RX (?) and I got taken/punished on the back numerous times.
I think he was an adequate rider but just had to ride everywhere flat out.

The only turbo bike I have ridden was some ridiculous Kwak engine, Harris frame beast. Massive big bore kit (1400?), a huge turbo and short wheelbase meant the front wheel was in the air if you opened the throttle more than 2mm.

If I was going to own anything from that era I think Suzuki GS1000 or Kwak Z1100 would work. Hopefully with upgraded suspension and brakes .
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by GingerNinja @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:33 am

Never ridden one - they do look horribly dated now, but I am jealous of the Top Gun fantasy fulfilment. Bah.

Was rather taken with this recent custom on one though - in fact, it's fecking loverly:
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I didn't have an '80s Kwak, but I did own a '90s one. I still think it's a gorgeous thing, and would have one again as a daily:

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(not my actual one, but exactly same colour etc)

I'd probably keep it now and gradually put it on a diet as it was a heavy old bus. Solid though on the roads.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Disastrous @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:09 pm

I don't like the stretched swing arm at all!

I like them standard-the 80's is far enough away for me now to have it's own look and I like it a lot. It sort of reminds me of being a kid and all the cool bikes and cars I began to notice for the first time so I think I need one.

Basically, I don't think anything looks as cool as things you thought were cool when you were a kid.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Hooli @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:13 pm

Disastrous wrote:
Basically, I don't think anything looks as cool as things you thought were cool when you were a kid.


I think that is true for everything.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:26 pm

I had this on my wall as a kid and thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen:

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Leaves me cold now though, in fact if I'm honest I actually hate it.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Disastrous @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:00 pm

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:I had this on my wall as a kid and thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen:

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Leaves me cold now though, in fact if I'm honest I actually hate it.



I love it. But hate you.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Deuteronomy @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:55 pm

I still think it looks cool (I may have even had the same poster, or a mate did - looks VERY familiar).

It's aged better than Streethawk:

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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Disastrous @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:08 pm

Reminds me of the shitter Connery had in NSNA.


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A shit old Yamaha made to look worse.
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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Deuteronomy @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:19 pm

That is literally the same as a Raleigh Streetwolf:

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Re: 80's Kawasakis

Post by Turntable @ Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:52 pm

:biglaugh:
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