Staff bikes: Kawasaki GPz550 - It's fictional

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I had a budget of £300 to spend on a bike when I saw this advertised on a forum with a month’s tax and MoT. MCN happened to have a van passing the seller’s area that day.

I gave the driver the cash. A couple of hours later the bike was mine.
When you buy a £300 shonker without seeing it, you can be sure of a few surprises, and the GPz hasn’t disappointed.

So far I’ve discovered:

• It's fictional. According to the side-panels it's a GPz550R. I'm 99% sure there has never been such a bike. It’s actually a GPz550 with Rs painted on.

• The exhaust is on the wrong side and makes it impossible to get a ring spanner on the oil plug. My solution is a £296 four-into-one system from Motad with stainless down-pipes. Amazingly they still stock them. If you’re looking for a new system for an older bike, I don’t think you can do better.  

• The front forks bottom-out under even moderate braking and take ages to rebound. You can compress them, lean the bike on its stand, walk 10 yards, turn around and they will still be rising.

The forks are overcomplicated, with anti-dive and air-assistance, neither of which function. You can’t even change the oil without removing them because the drain plugs are helpfully half-way up the legs.

I took off one anti-dive unit, confirmed it wasn’t working, rounded off a bolt while trying to remove the other, then handed the bike over to PB Motorcycles in Peterborough ( They’re very helpful and seem happy to work on older bikes. I’m getting them to fit the new exhaust while they’ve got it.

Hopefully I’ll be on the road later this week.

Kawasaki GPz550
Owned since: January 2010
Price: £300
Mileage: 24,000
Bits added: Motad four-into-one exhaust (£296), grab rail (£10), Avon Road Rider tyres (£115)
Favourite thing: Key with ‘GPz’ on it
Least favourite thing: Mirrors which only show your elbows. 

Further reading:
Staff bike blogs | Kawasaki GPZ550 blog 

GPZ55010 BLOG10

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell