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  #1  
Old 10 May 2012
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Buying a Kawasaki GPZ (or EX-) 500S, what should I consider?

Hello,

I'm considering buying a 2nd hand Kawasaki GPZ 500S.

I don't anyone who has it, have never ridden (nor seated on it), but I love it for one reason: I was a exchange student in the USA and planned a coast-to-coast trip through US and Canada at the end of my stay. Studying like mad, this was my illusion to keep going and the EX-500 (GPZ here) was my bike of choice after much reading, so I fell in love with the bike and the dream. Although living like an hermit, my scholarship was not enough to save that much money, so I had to park the project and in the end just went backpacking again (Central America, which was great anyway).

But this remained and now I may get a GPZ 500. So, does anybody has/knows about this bike? What are the weak / strong points? What should I consider and check when buying a second hand one? To keep in mind I am quite illiterate in many fields, being mechanics (almost) one of them... To keep in mind it's not for an overland trip at all, but just to ride around home and Europe, if I finally get it.

All advice is very welcome.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Esteban

PS: If you found boring the whole personal story, please just click on "like", so that I know it...
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  #2  
Old 17 May 2012
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Nobody? I've seen some GPZ/EX 500s owners around...

It shares the engine with the KLE 500 (and Vulcan and ER), so any advice from KLE owners is very welcome as well.

Thanks,

Esteban
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  #3  
Old 26 May 2012
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Hello there!

I'm riding a KLE 500 myself, but I'm also hanging around in an GPZ500 forum (Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R - Index). Since I couldn't find any information regarding the year of the bike, I'm going to list what you might have to check for BOTH generations.

First generation

The first generation was made between 1987 and 1993, and the second generation from 1994 and onwards. OK, let's assume you are going to buy a first generation bike. The cam chain tensioner is, from what I've read, junk. Getting a second generation cam chain tensioner is recommended (they fit!).

The first generation's flywheel magnets CAN get loose . They are "glued" on. On the second generation bike, they are actually kept "inside" a metallic wall, which makes the second generation flywheel a lot better.

The transmission is also better (can't get into any exact details here why, but you can find more information about this at the forum I linked above).

Second generation AND stuff that applies for all GPZ 500 bikes

If you are buying a second generation bike, then skip the last previous section completely!

However, since these bikes are using CV-caburetors, I would check if the bike is using POD filters or the original airbox, and if it is dynojeted. In general, these bikes are jetted very well from the factory already, and a dynojet kit can (and usually will) make it worse, and same with the airbox. Some CV bikes MIGHT benefit from using pod filters, but not this one.

In my experience, most problems with this bike are usually related to the carburetor, which is why I would start there. Check for hesitations when the bike is idling, half throttle and full throttle.

There are of course more things to check which can also be applied to most bikes, but the things I've mentioned above is something that tends to come up from time to time in the other forum.

If you want to gather more information about this bike, then do yourself a favour and register on the GPZ-500 page I mentioned earlier. You can find a wealth of information there!

Regards,
Mollrik
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  #4  
Old 27 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollrik View Post
Hello there!

I'm riding a KLE 500 myself, but I'm also hanging around in an GPZ500 forum (Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R - Index). Since I couldn't find any information regarding the year of the bike, I'm going to list what you might have to check for BOTH generations.

First generation

The first generation was made between 1987 and 1993, and the second generation from 1994 and onwards. OK, let's assume you are going to buy a first generation bike. The cam chain tensioner is, from what I've read, junk. Getting a second generation cam chain tensioner is recommended (they fit!).

The first generation's flywheel magnets CAN get loose . They are "glued" on. On the second generation bike, they are actually kept "inside" a metallic wall, which makes the second generation flywheel a lot better.

The transmission is also better (can't get into any exact details here why, but you can find more information about this at the forum I linked above).

Second generation AND stuff that applies for all GPZ 500 bikes

If you are buying a second generation bike, then skip the last previous section completely!

However, since these bikes are using CV-caburetors, I would check if the bike is using POD filters or the original airbox, and if it is dynojeted. In general, these bikes are jetted very well from the factory already, and a dynojet kit can (and usually will) make it worse, and same with the airbox. Some CV bikes MIGHT benefit from using pod filters, but not this one.

In my experience, most problems with this bike are usually related to the carburetor, which is why I would start there. Check for hesitations when the bike is idling, half throttle and full throttle.

There are of course more things to check which can also be applied to most bikes, but the things I've mentioned above is something that tends to come up from time to time in the other forum.

If you want to gather more information about this bike, then do yourself a favour and register on the GPZ-500 page I mentioned earlier. You can find a wealth of information there!

Regards,
Mollrik
Thanks a lot for your answer. According to your post, I'm actually planing to buy a 2nd generation GPZ (I want a newer bike). I'm actually deciding rather with my heart that with my head, since I only remember that it was supposed to be great bike at the time and I still like it a lot. So, to be more rational, I just registered to the EX500 forum to learnmore, and just saw your answer in case of a damaged flywheel (although I read HUBB, not much more, but I'll try there).

Actually, my main concern is that I think that some GPZs have been rented here in Switzerland for people passing their motorcycle licence, so I worry they look new outside, but are kind of "burnt" inside (gearbox, clutch, etc). That's why I'd prefer a private person who has owned the bike for some years.

I found one, talked to the guy, waited for him to confirm an appointment to see it (it was in another city), but he sold it in the meantime, so now I wait for another one to appear.

Any other opinions/advice very welcome.

Cheers,

Esteban
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  #5  
Old 28 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
It shares the engine with the KLE 500 (and Vulcan and ER), so any advice from KLE owners is very welcome as well.
Sort of. The ER and KLE are quite heavily detuned compared to the GPZ.

We had a 1998 GPZ for a few years. I would describe it as follows:

- Great engine.
- Slightly odd handling. Not bad, just wierd.
- Abysmal finish. Ran it through a couple of UK winters and the exhaust fell to pieces, the brakes and rear suspension stopped working.
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  #6  
Old 29 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dash View Post
- Abysmal finish. Ran it through a couple of UK winters and the exhaust fell to pieces, the brakes and rear suspension stopped working.
Those are not exactly good news, since I plan to use it in Switzerland all year round...
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