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Old bikes

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Wade Wrench, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. Would you buy a bike with 90000 mileage if it was reasonably priced?

    Using mileage as the determining factor, when is a bike due for an engine remake?

  2. African or European?

    Are we talking 50cc Chinese scooters, or "100,000km is barely run-in" BMW boxers?
  3. A Kawasaki KZ550.
    It just dawned on me the older bikes probably have the odometer indicated in miles rather than kilometres. Or are odometers still measuring in miles?
  4. Probably best to ask on a Kawazaki Z-bike forum; they'd know better than we do.

    The odometer reading will be in kilometres - Australia hasn't used miles in a long, long time.

    The catch with 20+ year old vehicles is that many of the parts will be decaying not from excessive use but just from old age in general. I have a 1986 Toyota MR2 sportscar which has this problem - plastics decay and turn brittle, etc. Parts are scarce.
  5. The KZ550 has a pretty understressed motor so it should still have some life left in it even at 90,000km.

    Mine got rattly around 80,000km - fixed by changing the cam chain and tensioner pin. It burnt a bit of oil, but they all do even from quite new.

    Apart from that and a new exhaust it only needed routine maintenance.

    Body work and cycle parts - depends how it's been looked after. It will be obvious when you look at the bike.
  6. I'd buy a KZ550 with 90,000 kms on it as long as the rest of the bike checked out. If it's post about '76, the odo will read in kms.

    The motor is tough as nails. If it's had regular oil changes, all it should ever need is the occasional camchain, set of rings and maybe a set of exhaust valves.

    As noted, older bikes are likely to suffer some deterioration of rubber and plastic parts. From my observations in the UK, some models of 550 Kwak seemed to have rather poor finish, with paint and chrome disintegrating early. However, that could be because they were popular despatch bikes (particularly the shaftie GT) and winter hacks. I also used to see a lot with deeply furrowed front discs. Not too big a deal as discs are easily replaced and units for older bikes aren't horrendously priced, particularly if you mail order from overseas. Again, though, it might have been because of the very hard life that the average air-cooled 550 used to lead in the UK.

    But as far as older air cooled middleweights are concerned, the 550 Kwak is a good 'un. Not as good as a Suzuki GSX550 mind you, but still pretty good :wink: .
  7. How much do you reckon a 1986 KZ550 with 92000km mileage is worth? I was going to offer 1k. Is this too low assuming the bike is in good condition, as declared by seller?
  8. +1! My main problem with my formerly neglected Spada is that it is weather beaten and, well, some plastic bits start to crumble. Makes you pay attention to detail during maintenance!
  9. $1,000 for a bike, a gamble but not one that is going to kill your finances.
  10. the last bike I saw with miles on it was a Kawasaki Z900 from 1973
  11. Wade,

    How handy are you with a spanner?

    Any bike more than 15 years old is going to need a reasonable amount of TLC. any bike with more than 50Mm is going to need a reasonable amount of TLC.

    This bike has both.

    Keep in mind a bike like this will probably need $1-3000 spent on it in the next 12 months. And that's if you do the work yourself.
  12. A Z 550 will do 100k+ no problems at all if looked after. If it isn't really noisy, leak oil or blow smoke, I'd buy the bike.
    New and used parts are very plentiful and cheap if you search a little online.
    I've owned a Z650 and Z 750 of varying ages, one with 65k kms and one pushing 100k kms. No problems with either. The midsize Z bikes are al fundamentally the same, sharing many common parts, and midsize engines are all teh same, just bored or stroked to achieve a certain displacement.
    If it's an early Z 550 with that many kilometres, for $1k it would have to be good. A later one with triple discs in good nick and with rego I would stretch to $1500 if it was NICE.
    You would be reall trying hard to end up spending $1500 on repairs on one of these bikes, it would have to be an absolute basket case.
    Go to www.kzrider.com and have a poke around.

    Regards, Andrew.
  13. The bike is manufactured in 1986, so does that make it an earlier model?
  14. Nah, that's a (relatively) late one. Typhoon'll know better than me, as the resident Kawasaki expert, but I seem to recall the 550 came in in about 1980/81. By 86, the watercooled revolution was well under way, so air coolers were being scaled back by pretty much everyone. They hung on as a sensible budget bike though. I know the Z550GT and Suzi GSX550 were both still available in 87 but I don't think they lasted that much longer. Then Kwak got all retro in 91 and introduced the Zephyr, which was basically a Z550 with Z1 styling cues and a rather feeble, smog and noise restricted engine.

    I must be getting old, because I recently saw a Zephyr (which I always regarded as a no-class Johnny Come Lately) advertised as a "nice old classic" :LOL: .

    But I digress. In short, I doubt if an 86 would class as an "earlier model".
  15. Wiki seems to imply the KZ550 ceased to be manufactured after 1983 having morphed into the GT550. So it makes me wonder if the seller got the year of manufacture correct.

  16. It'll be either a GT 550 or GPz550. Similar bikes, except the GT will be shaft drive. Much the same engine and gearboxes etc though.
    Everything I said about Z's goes for these bikes to, they are fundamentally the same bikes with tweaks.

    Regards, Andrew.
  17. Actually I thought the KZ550 was a weird twin. What am I thinking of?
  18. found it. Yamaha xz550. So withdraw some of my criticisms about the kz550. Still budget for money to be spend in the first 12 months. and be willing to get you hands dirty.
  19. Agree with that. I always assume spending at least $500 on any bike I buy, as soon as I buy it.

    Regards, Andrew.
  20. Some comments from the seller.
    Does anyone know what this means?

    "There is a light on the dash flashing ( battery). When out on the road the battery charges OK. I don't know what it means. I have replaced the rear tyre and the battery.

    It will probably need the rear wheel bearings replaced soon and a full service."

    How much will this cost?