KAWASAKI GTR1000 (1986-1999) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"80s touring dinosaur has its good points"

Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding

"80s touring dinosaur has its good points"

  • At a glance
  • 997cc  -  110 bhp
  • 41 mpg  -  250 miles range
  • Insurance group: 14 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki GTR1000, an 80s touring dinosaur, has its good points; a screen which actually protects the rider well, shaft drive, comfy saddle, a massive 28.5 litre fuel capacity and - for the time - respectable handling. But the aged GPZ1000 motor, weak brakes and dated styling limit its appeal.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

You know, for an old 80s omnibus, the Kawasaki GTR1000 goes around corners surprisingly well. Yes, the GTR1000 is top heavy and needs some body-shifting moves to make it turn into tight hairpins, but the overall handling is OK for most people's idea of a touring pace. Worth checking the suspension carefully on any used Kawasaki GTR1000 - the bike can weave if the Uni-Trak linkage is neglected.

Engine 2 out of 5

The GPZ900/1000 in line four cylinder motor was the boss in its day, but its day was 1984. The Kawasaki GTR1000 saw its peak power drop from 110bhp to 92bhp in 1994, but Kawasaki re-tuned the engine to make more midrange and it has enough grunt to eat up motorway miles with ease. The Kawasaki GTR1000 gets hot `n' bothered in heatwave weather though.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki GTR1000 engines can easily clock up 80,000-100,000 miles without major issues. The only area to keep an eye on is the air-assisted suspension, which can be leaky and generally worn after a few years. Otherwise the overall finish on some parts of the Kawasaki GTR1000 can be iffy, leading to furry alloy and rusting steel details on an otherwise sturdy motorcycle.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

As a used buy, the Kawasaki GTR1000 has plenty going for it, especially its resale price, which can start as As a used buy, the GTR1000 has plenty going for it, especially its resale price, which can start as low £1000 for something two decades old. But Yamaha's FJ1200, BMW K100LT and Triumph's 900 Trophy all compete on price, comfort and touring ability. Find a Kawasaki GTR1000 for sale.

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Excellent panniers on the Kawasaki GTR1000, easily detachable too. The fairing also offers superb weather protection, much better in fact than many modern touring bikes. The Kawasaki GTR1000 has details like tripmeter, clock, fairing vents etc are all there and later `94 onwards model has updated dashborad and lockable fairing pockets. For its time, the Kawasaki GTR1000 was a well thought out touring motorcycle.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their KAWASAKI GTR1000 (1986-1999) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI GTR1000 (1986-1999)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Proper touring bike!

01 August 2015 by shrekster

I've marked it 5/5 because for the money nothing comes close, yes there are better, newer bikes but nowhere near this price bracket. It really is one of Kawasaki's best kept secrets, absolutely brilliant fairing (with a change of screen). Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Very soft suspension that's actually very good for touring, gets a bit bouncy at higher speeds. Later model brakes much better with twin piston calipers and no linked brake crap.
Engine
4 out of 5
Lacks a little low down torque but the engine pulls well enough at low rpm, there is a barely noticeable flat spot just under 2k revs but in reality it's not really a problem. Engine makes pretty good power higher up the revs, the downside is it can be a little viby at certain revs.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Basic, old school tech such as carbs, no ABS etc. Very easy to keep running for years. My biggest gripe is the finish, it really is quite poor in some areas but keep on top of it and it'll be fine.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I do everything myself so it's just parts to pay for.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Has all the basics, twin trip meters, clock.
Buying experience

I bought my bike from a dealer with 2600 miles on the clock in pristine condition, 21 years old at the time of writing this and I paid 2 grand! like I said for the money it's hard to beat.

Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1986
Year discontinued 1999
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £81
Annual service cost £100
Performance
Max power 110 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 250 miles
Specification
Engine size 997cc
Engine type 16v, in line 4, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular diamond type
Fuel capacity 28.5 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 258kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 280mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 18 in
Rear tyre size 150/80 x 16 in

History & Versions

Model history

1986: Kawasaki GTR1000 launched.
1989: Kawasaki USA cease production of the Kawasaki GTR1000 due to poor sales.
1990: Kawasaki GTR1000 production restarted.
1994: Revised Kawasaki GTR1000 appears, 12kgs heavier, more midrange, new wheels, uprated brakes.
1999: Kawasaki GTR1000 discontinued.

Other versions

1200 Voyager II ( US market only ).

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki GTR1000 motorcycle review - Side view
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