Staff bikes: Kawasaki GPz550 - 'I want to throw it in the river'

By Steve Farrell -

First rides & tests

 14 February 2011 10:42

Sometimes fixing bikes can be almost as satisfying as riding them. But lately I’ve felt like dumping my £300 ‘bargain’ GPz550 in the river. Which is where much of it appears to have come from.

More competent fettlers have completed nut and bolt restorations in the time it’s taken me to get the back brake to work.

It began when I fitted new discs (for reasons unknown, the bike had a rear disc fitted to the front wheel and vice versa) and discovered that the rear caliper was sticking on.

Fixing that was an ordeal. The piston couldn’t have been more jammed in there if it had been welded. But I got there in the end.

Only to notice that the master cylinder was leaking. That meant shelling £40 for a repair kit. And now, at last, after yet more messing about with brake fluid, it finally seems to function as it should.

Fitting a rack from Ventura (£130, www.ventura-bike.co.uk) has gone only marginally better. The rack itself is great. But because the sub frame is a tad bent, it sits at a slightly wonky angle.

I’ve also replaced a pitted fork stanchion with a nice new one (£80 www.allbikeengineering.co.uk) and fitted Hagon progressive fork springs (£77.50, www.hagon-shocks.co.uk).

Without yet riding it, I can tell the springs are stiffer than the stock ones, so I’m hoping they’ve fixed the forks’ tendency to bottom out under braking. As soon as the bike’s in a roadworthy state, which will probably be when my licence expires in 2042, I’ll let you know.

Kawasaki GPz550
Owned since:
January 2010
Price: £300
Mileage: 23,506 (apparently)
Bits added: Motad four-into-one exhaust (£296 www.motad.co.uk), Avon Road Rider tyres (£115 www.avon-tyres.co.uk), EBC front brake discs and pads (£252.90 www.ebcbrakes.com), Hagon progressive fork springs (£77.50 www.hagon-shocks.co.uk), All Bike Engineering replacement fork stanchion (£80 www.allbikeengineering.co.uk), Ventura rack (£152.97 www.ventura-bike.co.uk)

Further reading:
Staff bike blogs | Kawasaki GPZ550 blog

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