Kawasaki GPZ 500S

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by wizzard » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:41 pm

Kawasaki GPZ 500S

2003 , French bike from new, CG in my name.
38500 km, the last of the GPZ 500 s
Tyres, back one virtually new, front 50% used
Spark plugs new, recent chain
Fork seals changed
Small indicators
Great condition, and clearly well looked after.
1750 euros or very nearest offer
Selling as too many toys in the garage to play with them all.

A short version of a long term test on this bike I had published last year is below:

LONG TERM TEST OF KAWASAKI GPZ 500S

Anyone who observes changing trends in the sales of motorcycles in the UK cannot have failed to notice the swing away from high powered race replicas to big adventure traillies. I bet BMW had no idea what they were starting when they introduced the R80 G/S in the early eighties. The adventures of Ewan McGregor, Charlie Boorman and friends kicked off the popularity of the big oil head GS models, and the hordes of imitators which followed, but why has this genre of bike proven to be so popular after the long reign of the plastic rocket in the UK?

However, over the last couple of years I have seen a new trend coming to the fore among my many biking friends. They are downsizing their bikes in the same way that many mature couples downsize their houses at a certain stage of their life. Their sports bikes are long gone, and now their adventure bikes are being sold off too, to be replaced by… what?

But not everyone wants to give up all the sports bike power and handling just yet, so they are buying middleweight bikes hand over fist. Monsters, Bandits, Fazers, Hornets, with engines of around 500 or 600cc that fit the new requirements of all us knackered old blokes who need something comfortable to ride and easy to push around the drive that will still offer them a bit of excitement. Hardly a day goes by just now without someone telling me that they are looking to downsize to a bike in this category.

Last year I found myself in the very position I've described above. Various health problems meant that pushing my big bikes around the gravel drive was nearly killing me – literally – and I had started to doubt my own abilities to hold up the heaviest ones in parking situations; plus I felt I really had to slow down before the licence flew out the door.

Reluctantly I sold my BMW K1 and Honda Pacific Coast (I nearly dropped that one in the drive when the new owner came to pick it up), but kept my Harley Dyna as it’s my favourite bike of all time and for some reason I have no problem moving that around. I had sold my Bandit streetfighter the year before and knew that I wanted something even lighter than that, so the search was on for a lightweight bike that was reasonably quick and handled well.

There is a bewildering choice out there, but it was an ex courier mate who came up with the recommendation to try a Kawasaki GPZ500S (in a previous article this year you may remember ex sidecar champion Mike Richards singing the praises of the GPZ600). Duly tried and tested, a late model GPZ500S soon joined my dwindling collection in the garage, and for surprisingly little money. As I'm now totally smitten with this cracking little bike (I cant believe I just typed that – I remember as a lad dreaming of buying something seriously big, like a 500 Triumph Tiger), I thought I would share my experiences of this latest purchase and try and tempt a few others to go down the same route.

Firstly, the techy bit. This model ran from 1984 to 2004, with a few changes being made to the later models such as twin front and single rear discs and a seventeen inch rear wheel. The parallel twin 498cc engine produces 60bhp and a top speed of 120 mph and if you believe the comments of numerous owners and reviewers, delivers a wide variance in fuel consumption (35 – 65mpg) depending on how it’s ridden of course! The engine is said to be bulletproof.

So, having bought one of the last of the line, first registered in 2003 and ridden it regularly for the last nineteen months, what are my impressions?

It’s much lighter at 176kg than the bikes I usually own and with a low seat height of 760mm, it immediately felt easier to manoeuvre around the garage and gravel drive. It feels quite long and narrow pulling out onto the road, with light responsive steering giving an instant feeling of confidence – ideal for a new rider or someone downsizing. Initial acceleration was very slightly lumpy and the engine felt buzzy until the revs hit 6,750 and then the little rocket really took off right up to the 10,500 limit, with the engine smoothing out as the revs increased. It feels really strong, belying its small size – wow this is fun!

Handling was excellent on the “B” type roads that are the norm around here, especially considering the all original suspension has done 21000 miles. I had heard that they were a bit skittish on bumpy roads, but there are plenty of them around here and I didn't find it a problem. Moving onto “A” type roads revealed the first thing I think could be improved on the GPZ – it seems to be screaming its head off while making progress. It feels like there should be another gear, but maybe just one less tooth on the rear sprocket would make a difference without losing too much acceleration? One of the reasons for buying this bike has been partially addressed, but not fully – that of keeping speeds reasonably close to legal limits. The engine just cries out to be thrashed, so of course it would be rude not to! I do try honestly, and start of with good intentions, but the first time I overtake a car and feel the post 7000rpm rush, I just want to keep it going. I am going slower than with some previous bikes but still a bit quicker than I intended.

Build quality is better than average for this level of bike, and it has survived the last fourteen years. The centre stand makes chain oiling or wheel changing an easy task, and also helped recently when I changed the fork seals.

Now to the pillion seat – if your partner is over about five foot three, they will not be comfortable on this bike. If they are five foot nine, they will have their knees around their ears and leg cramps after five minutes. I happen to know this as the seller of my bike took me for a run on it to get me out of the town and into the country for my test ride – definitely not a pleasant experience!

To sum up my thoughts on the GPZ500S, its absolutely perfect for screaming round the roads around my region (but I wouldn't want to be touring or doing motorway work), it isn't hard on fuel or consumables, and I REALLY wish I had bought one years ago.
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DSCN0847.JPG


Any bike with three cylinders has one too many.....................

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by Varanoir » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:45 am

Good luck with that Graham, and it is a good 'un. Been parked up a coupla times outside my place when Wizz has called in, and it looks good. It's also surprisingly quiet, unlike his Dyna which frightens the hell out of the locals! icon_thumbup
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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by wizzard » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:51 am

John , wait until you hear its replacement - a Moto Guzzi Breva 750, with Triumph reverse cone pipes. Sounds like an old brit race bike. Bought from a BCF member, Bald Eagle , yesterday.
Any bike with three cylinders has one too many.....................

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by ChrisD » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:08 pm

wizzard wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:51 am
John , wait until you hear its replacement - a Moto Guzzi Breva 750, with Triumph reverse cone pipes. Sounds like an old brit race bike. Bought from a BCF member, Bald Eagle , yesterday.
I was tempted by that Graham, I saw the bike up at Bugsy's place just after he brought it over..I was going to ask for a test ride but only just got back to france today so popped at the pist.
As for the GPZ500S I had one in the 90's when I got back in to biking. Light and quick but as you imply a bit underpowered for touring/long distance stuff. Ideal starter bike. You can also get panels to fit between the top fairing and the belly pan to give it that fully faired look.
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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by wizzard » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:14 pm

Its rained since I bought it (and when I bought it!) and I'm desperate to take it out for a blast .......NOW! kneedown
Any bike with three cylinders has one too many.....................

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by 2cvandy » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:48 pm

wizzard wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:14 pm
Its rained since I bought it (and when I bought it!) and I'm desperate to take it out for a blast .......NOW! kneedown
well go and get wet then,,,,,

you won't melt,,,,,,,,

icon_whistle
It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than ride a fast bike slow,,,,,,,,,,,,,, icon_moped

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by wizzard » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:48 pm

Hmmm - I wanted to see how it handles in the dry first before hitting wet tarmac. Actually managed a short blast this morning - feels good, sounds good, and the best brakes I've had in a very long time. Plus, its light enough for me to push around the gravel drive without a struggle.
Any bike with three cylinders has one too many.....................

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by Varanoir » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:57 pm

Nice little bike the Breva, and I looked at one some time ago. I like the shaft drive, and Guzzi excellent engine. easy to work on. It's just underpowered
Good value used.
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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by 2cvandy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:52 pm

wizzard wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:48 pm
Hmmm - I wanted to see how it handles in the dry first before hitting wet tarmac. Actually managed a short blast this morning - feels good, sounds good, and the best brakes I've had in a very long time. Plus, its light enough for me to push around the gravel drive without a struggle.
Hmmm,
it was meant as a joke Wizz, honest.
True though,,,,,,,,,,,
icon_thatsfunny

My Dad's last bike before he recently gave up was a Nevada 750, nice engine, even if the styling's a bit suspect. He couldn't quite manage the Breva coz he's a short arse.
It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than ride a fast bike slow,,,,,,,,,,,,,, icon_moped

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Kawasaki GPZ 500S

Post by wizzard » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:17 pm

No offense taken Andy. The Breva is a fair bit lower powered than the GPZ, but to be honest I prefer the power delivery - the GPZ feels just a bit frantic, but it IS great fun for a country lane blast.
Any bike with three cylinders has one too many.....................

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