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Hey all, I know its not a sportbike but I still value the opinions that you all have. I am interested in purchasing a Kawasaki KZ550 (1982) with 2700 miles. The guy is willing to do $1300. It runs a little rough, so it may need the carbs cleaned and synced. Definitely going to need new rubbers because they are stock from the factory. Yikes. As a junior in college, I am looking for my first bike but i do have some experience on various bikes. Have had my license for 1.5 years and completed the MSF course. Is this a good bike for me? Is it going to constantly nickel and dime me? Or do I just wait until I graduate and get a ninja 650 or something of the such? Since I am in college, Im balling on a budget if ya know what I mean. Cash is kinda tight but this is a bike I can afford. Let me know what you all think
 

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OO=[][]=OO
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could be great if it was stored properly. in addition to carbs and tires, I would go ahead and do an oil change, replace the fuel filter and lines, and flush the front brake fluid out before putting any miles on her. check the gas tank for rust too.
 

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In my youth my dad would commute on a jpz 550. i had a lot of fun bieng brought to elementry school on it.

i think the jpz and kz shared many engine components.

however that bike had 150,000+ miles put on it from the 80's to early 00's.

one with only 2700 miles is goinf to need a lot of tlc.

parts for them are hard to get. and if it has that low a miles on it, it wil need a lot of work.

unless you have the skill patience, and money to restore the bike, i would say don't bother.
 

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King of the Hopeless
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I would very much watch out for that bike and get it checked by a mechanic before you buy. The issue is that while it might run well, $1300 may turn into $2500 very quickly when you consider consumables and the inevitable issues. Look for rust on the frame and make sure that the chain and sprockets are not garbaged. Further, the running rough could be a symptom of something more serious and irritating. Bikes that old typically have rust in the tank and issues with the carburators and associated gaskets that can be confounding. Moreover, the exhaust systems on these bikes can be a total PITA to replace and are typically rusted onto the flanges - thus brutal to remove. I am not even going to go with steering head bearings, swingarm bearings and other associated issues.

My bet is that you are better saving up for something a bit more expensive and more modern.

There are a zillion ninja 250's out there that can be had for around $1000 which will dynamically be worlds better and more fun than the KZ.

Now don't get me wrong, I love old bikes. I would love to find a Kawasaki Z1R to make into a Moriwaki Rep - but old bikes can be immense money pits. Immense.

Good luck, but I would go for the ninja over the KZ any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
 

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The kwack 550 engine is a legend of reliability , the engine itself is utterly bomb proof . They were the despatch riders bike of choice , examples going 3 times round the clock have been seen .
The weak points were as I recall ..
Earth lead on the battery , rubber strap would break allowing the battery to wobble about in it's box .. cured by replacing earth strap and stuffing some rags down one side .
Speedo drive needed regular repacking with grease or they stripped out .

Carb diaphrams prone to degradation and puncturing , bit expensive around 30 quid each to replace and a bit of a pain , get it wrong tear it and your back to square one , despatchers repair was some rubber gloves and glue to patch em up until complete disintegration . I would almost lay my nuts on an anvil to wager it being the issue making the bike your looking at run rough .
 

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Those are good bikes BUT, the odds are very high you'll have to replace the boots and they won't be cheap! Fire it up and spray some starting fluid or wd-40 all over them and if the idle changes you have a leak. Get the VIN# off the bike and go on bikebandit.com and price parts and check availability. I can't remember if it has points or electronic ignition. Points can be a pain until you get the hang of it. I would in no way pay that price for that bike unless it fired up on the first crank and purred like a kitten! I bought a 2001 Triumph Tiger 955i for $1,900 so, I would highly recommend looking around more! You're getting to the time of year when bikes hit craigslist like crazy for cheap prices! I wouldn't give more than $900 personally. Good luck!
 
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