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Discussion Starter #1
hey guys been looking for a z500 and came across a kawasaki 1980 kz500...
struggling to find whats the differance between the two if any, thought someone on here would be able to fill me in.
 

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depends on what country you are in and what year bike you are talking about. KZ is usually a US designation, and I know that the z550 and the KZ550 are the same bike, but the real frustrating thing about kawasaki is that they recycle designations. so the answer is maybe.
 

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the biggest difference between the US and other bikes is the brakes, US models had single disc, while others had dual. Also I don't think we ever got the KZ500 or the z400 here in the states, just the kz550. post a pic, does it look like a mini z1r?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
im in aus... cheers geeto i thought that may be the case.

can't get photos until next week which by then i was hoping to load it onto the trailer.

i'll just have to assume thier the same and take a drive, thanks again mate
 

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geets correct. Weirdly for some reason, as its always happened Australia (only other country to get the unrestricted cbr250rr) was sent Jap spec bikes hence the 'z' as opposed to the stateside kz. They had the 400, Europe and aus got the 500 as well as the 400. It's a proper Aussie import if it has triple disks. Some European models had a rear drum.

Friends dad had a kwaka shop in Woolongong years ago and thinks the world of them.
 

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Aus and New Zealand, have almost identical safety and emissions laws to japan (at least when it comes to bikes). The positive to that is japan tends to send them a lot of the bikes they would otherwise keep for themselves, and also it makes importing the stuff they held back a lot easier.
 

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hi. which end of oz you in?

the blurry pics following are of a 81 kz500 i rescued as a rolling chassis from a skip bin near work.







not much of it left but i wanted the koni's, the handlebars, indicators and the headlight. they have the attractive ducktail rear light surround too.

did a bit of googling on them when i found it and the info is a bit brief but is out there. let me know if you get it as the spares are no good to me and you might need some fifty cent part that i have on the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
cheers for the offer engel but im in perth so postage would be a killer.

alrighty still confused... engel what info did you find on them, its going to be a race bike so more concerned between difference between the engines in the z and kz.
 

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my boss in germany has one that i was considering doing up when instead i bought the rd 350 ypvs as it was a known quantity and my dream learner bike growing up was the RZ250. he has a workshop manual as he's the local kawa dealer and i had a very quick flick through it only while there.

i found this one since i got back. theres sites around that will give you pics, specs, descriptions and ideas on what goes wrong/right. i'm a technoweenie and while not a wealth of info, i got enough from google to know what i was looking at. give it a whirl and see what you can turn up. may have to filter through a lot of shit like i did but its there. the yanks didn't get the spec we did so other than sites for oddballs that are full of halfknowledge and conjecture they'll prove useless. go to where they were sent and hover around there. visit the local kwaka dealer and find the oldest grizzliest mechanic you can and ask if they remember them.


theres ways and means. the bikes do nothing for me so i'm done with my researching, but if i can find it, so could you. or wait the week out. was mainly an offer of basic spares if you needed em which as you said, perth+fnq=$$$.

best of luck and hope it works out well.

glen.
 

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At first I thought, Australia is the size of a postage stamp, how hard is it to drive from perth to queensland, I've driven more for less. 2608 miles - thank you google earth.

Kawasaki bikes have traditionally been "cheater" bikes so you have to watch the engine size when it comes to racing classes. Most companies round up for cc (honda - 736cc = 750cc,) where as kawasaki is routinely rounding down (903cc = kz900, GPZ900 = 908cc).

the z500 has a 55 x 52.4 mm bore x stroke which is 497cc. At 58 x 52.4 mm bore x stroke, the z550 is 553ccs.
 

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wait till you get mates from overseas who are landing in sydney for a weeks holiday who tell you they're "gonna buy a car and drive up and back to see you and go to the AIYOR's rock along the way. it looks pretty close on the map."

sure mate. it's only a 4500 mile roundtrip, we do that everyday just by riding a kangaroo to buy icecream for our koalabears and put shrimps on the barbie while drinking all the fosters we can find.
 

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Yep mate, kz550 = z550.

In Aus we got the "K" in front of the model numbers for some reason. But, from memory we got the US bikes not the Jap or Euro bikes. If it has a "Z550" badge rather than a "KZ500" badge it's an import.
I've got a legit Aussie 1982 KZ440G which is a US model number.

Dont know what class your in, but if you are going to race it, you might get a bit more grunt out of the mid-80's GPZ500's - the first Ninja's

Still, they look like a nice bike - like a baby Z1

Paul
 

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PF66 - Fill out your bio

Also it would NOT be US spec since they never imported the KZ or Z 500 here in the states. The closest we got was Z400 twin as the KZ400 and the KZ550 which is a completely different bike from the Z500. We didn't get the Z400FX four cylinder either. So, I hate you say it but you are wrong about getting US spec on a KZ500 (actually I don't hate to say it). I think the reason your KZ twin has a KZ instead of a Z is that kawasaki needed a way to differentiate the models once they introduced the four cylinder 400 in 1979.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
was told it has a rear disk so guessing not US spec.

pf66 were in aus you from... and planning to race in forgotten era up to 500cc, which would include the early gpz's.


thanks for the help guys... the weekend is close i'll let you know how it goes.
 

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hillsy and geets are correct. Zammit Kwaka doesn't exist anymore but he sure sold a fair few of them, I think he'd know.

unit, racing period 5? The 500 won't even be close to competitive with a lot of money invested in it. You'll be up against Xs1100's, Katana's, cb1100's and TZ750's. Even if you want to fight mid pack, your still up against the smaller TZ's.

Mind you, Damon Hill (96 f1 champ) started his racing career on a KZ500 in a KZ500 production series.
 

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hillsy: badged z500. compliance plated kz500.

wasn't aware of that thanks bob. grahams son was good fun to watch on the track too. can't have been a bad grounding for him. dads triple crown never happened , though he probably coulda if he wanted.

picked her up yet unit?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
had a look at it today... it was in pieces scattered on the floor of his three sheds (including the engine), it wasn't as complete as he said it was and the frame had been hacked...

so still looking, thanks for all the help guys
 

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bugger. if the donk was together and just the frame dead we'd be set (and my backyard would look emptier perhaps). ah well, did you have to travel far to see it? thats the only thing that ever shits me.
 
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