KAWASAKI GTR1000 (1986 - 1999) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £100
Power: 110 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.1 in / 815 mm)
Weight: High (569 lbs / 258 kg)


New N/A
Used £1,600

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.


Next up: Reliability
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.


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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £100
New price -
Used price £1,600
Insurance group 14 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 110 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12.1 secs
Tank range 250 miles

Model 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 ).

Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI GTR1000 (1986 - 1999)

4 owners have 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: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Engine: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £100
4 out of 5 Like a camel on high heel shoes in the city and a lion of a tourer
07 April 2018 by Lawson

Year: 1999

5 out of 5 for value compared with comparable bikes.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Purchased privately at a heavily discounted price due to the previous owner's age - he'd ridden it for 15 years.

4 out of 5
27 June 2017 by serenitycowboy

Year: 1986

Annual servicing cost: £100

Old school, but i have 3 of these since i was in my twenties, an I'm now fifty something. Bombproof reliability, easy to maintain, comfortable, as hell, and I used to travel between northern Germany and the UK on a monthly basis, all year round. No its not a BMW , no its not an St ot FJR, what it is, is a touring bike that will last forever, i had one with over 180,000 miles, without taking the head off! The screen is one of the best i have ever used, i did fit heated grips and saddle base, because of the winter miles i was doing. The panniers are enormous and even fully loaded, did not adversely affect the handling. Keep an eye on the monoshock as i changed all of mine over time, but handling is as you would expect from a dinosaur. Heavy but that was good in crosswinds. all in all I would still have one now if I could find one in good nick.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

After carrying out the carb Mod, you can easily return it to its full 110 BHP. engine maintenance is very easy for any compitant mechanic, without any special tools.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

self maintenance, means you pay for tyres only, always use BT 021's, and oil , filters etc. Valve adjustment is via adjustable tappets.

Equipment 4 out of 5

enormous luggage and very cosy fairing, fat saddle, for larger bums

4 out of 5
14 February 2017 by Sport Rider

Year: 1994

when you look at this motorcycle as a function of the price they are available, I consider them a huge value. one of the best parts of this bike is a 20 year production run which makes good used parts readily available.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

this can easily be remedied by several custom brake options. there are aftermarket brake brackets available which allow the use of better quality calipers. Some have even gone to a ZRX front end which offers much better braking.

Engine 3 out of 5

in stock form the motor is very serviceable. however, again, the after market comes through with replacement cam and carburation options which vastly improve torque and ride-ability.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

the protection of the fairing components are incredible for long-distance travel. there are very few other motorcycle models that can do better. Panniers have terrific space and are easy to use. the aftermarket comes through with trunks in various sizes to meet all needs. lower footpegs, highway bars, and various technical components are available which improve the overall value of the bike as well.

Buying experience: I just bought this 94 model used with only 15,000 miles for USD $1250. with only routine maintenance items being replaced, I have a sport touring motorcycle which will last another 10 years. how much better can it get?

5 out of 5 Proper touring bike!
01 August 2015 by shrekster

Year: 1994

Annual servicing cost: £100

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).

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.

Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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.

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