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Old 05-01-2013, 04:27 PM   #1
Chuckracer OP
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Any Kawasaki Zephyr knowin' folks?

I'm going to look at a Zephyr 1100 this weekend. I think it could be had pretty cheap. Been sitting and has the usual carb issues. I like the idea of the bike but info is scarce. I do remember the road tests when these came out and they were fairly positive as I recall. It looks like Kawasaki was pretty far ahead of the curve on retro-bikes, unfortunately.

Anybody spend any time with one of these? Are parts available?

Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:56 AM   #2
Keithert
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I owned a Zephyr 750 from 1995-8. It was a decent bike. I intended to buy one in 1994 but the dealer had a great price on a Concours so I bought that. I didn't like the Concours so I traded it for the Zephyr a year later. I really liked the Zephyr a lot. I only sold it because I got married and wanted a larger bike to fit my wife and I.

I bought mine used. The only problem I had with it was that a few months after I bought it I was riding it and pulled to a stop light. As I took off I heard a noise and the bike wouldn't go anywhere. Turns out the clutch exploded and blew a hole in the clutch cover. It cost about $500 to have fixed by the idiot dealer who wouldn't cover any of the repair. I wrote a Rider magazine about what could have caused the issue. Their response was that it had to have been abused previously. After that I had no issues with it for years.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:04 PM   #3
MacMcMacmac
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Considering the motor in that bike was as tough as nails, and the Kawasaki police motorcycle used pretty much the same motor up until they stopped making them (did they stop making them?), I don't think drivetrain parts will be an issue. If you want power out of it, any number of dragbike parts suppliers can turn it from mild to wild. Carbs are easily cleaned. I'd be most worried about the tank being rusted, but that's certainly fixable. If it's your style of bike, I wouldn't hesitate.
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:06 AM   #4
davesupreme
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i'm a ZRX guy, but the Zephyr's are a close cousin..... that generation of K bikes were really well made, all good stuff... the problem is some squid bunging it all up, so.... but that's with any bike.... there's alotta japanese bike porn w/those bikes, they can be very cool.... if it runs decent, it wouldn't be a bad thing to mess with...
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:27 AM   #5
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Because they are based on the old GPZ/KZ engine, they are pretty sturdy. I know one guy who drag raced his ZR1100 with no trouble at all. Complete with solid struts on the rear instead of shocks!

I'm not sure how many parts the ZR1100 shares with it's GPZ ancestors, but I know the 550 and 750 versions share a lot. Right down to the camshafts( which are degreed differently in the Zepher compared to the GPZ, but they are the same cams). So I would suspect the 1100 as being the same. The Zepher having a slightly lower state of tune( compression ratio, cam timing, smaller carbs,etc...) would likely make it more reliable still.

When we were racing GPZ's in the old days, we would have paid anything for most of the chassis parts the ZR came out with, which is kind of funny considering it was intended a much more pedestrian kind of bike than the GPZ.

It's unlikely you are going to see another one on the road anytime soon, so it's probably worth putting some time and money into.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:46 AM   #6
Flightar
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My brother owned a 750 Zephyr and it was a really good bike. The look was spot on as an updated Z1 900...even though I personally liked the looks of the 550 a bit better. I've looked a time or two for one (scond bike kind of thing) and they are pretty scarce. If the one you are looking for is in good shape, get it.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:29 AM   #7
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Various versions of it continued on in Europe and Japan for quite a few years after they stopped selling them in N. America. So there may be another (expensive) source for parts if need be.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
davesupreme
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there's a real big japanese aftermarket for these bikes.... lotta real sexy Zephyrs in japan.... but alotta $$$ for the parts....
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:48 PM   #9
quint7
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I have owned a 750 and 2 1100's, one of which is still in my garage.
The 750 is based on the GPZ. The 1100 motor is unique. It has some parts in the tranny similar to something else iirc, but shares nothing much other than the front end (Connie/ZX). The 1100's are known for blowing out 2nd gear and my other one had a full tranny rebuild by the previous owner at around $2000. I installed a Factory Pro kit in each and it will only help if the tranny doesn't slip at all yet. Slip=already too late.
Exhausts are slim. I had Kerker make megaphones for my 2 but had a used D&D on this one before the Kerker and stock on both bikes when I bought them.
Pods, an exhaust and if you can get your advancer machined to +4 and the bike is livened up but will still be smoked by most older liquid cooled 1000's (my 94 CB1000 would trash it). But the engine is super smooth, ZRX front/rear ends are easy swaps, even the stock wheels have fairly decent rubber available. Prices are all over. My other one I barely got $2000 for last summer and it had about $4000 in it not counting that tranny rebuild. (pods, exhaust, ZRX front/rear ends/wheels/Corbin/etc). Ebay sees them from $1500-$5000. I like it better than my old ZRX1100 as it sits a little lower/flatter in the seat/bars but the ZRX is a better bike when you compare stock vs stock.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:17 PM   #10
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I had the 550 variant. Great ergonomics, great looks (the 550 was the best looking of the three IMO), stone axe reliability, typical Kawasaki simplicity (some would say crude). Parts will be the only headache, but I've never let that stop me. Go for it!
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:27 PM   #11
augerdin
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I had a 750 Zephyr that I recently sold. Yosh exhuast, jetted, K&N airfilter, rear shocks rebuilt, front forks springed, michelin pilot road tires. I bought it from a guy at the turkey- rod show at the daytona raceway a couple of years ago. The bike needed some help. Interior of the tank was rusted, carbs gummed, mufflers scratched up. After I got done with it it ran great and cornered pretty good. A nice light good handling roadster. Fun to ride and got a lot of attention. I sold it to a local guy who is my new hero. He was 80 years old and said he needed a smaller lighter bike for he and his wife to ride. I still see him on the road with it. I actually miss that bike.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:48 PM   #12
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The 750 I had I did front springs and a full ZRX rear end to. Jacked the rear way up but made the bike even more fun in the curves.

My former 1100 had ZRX1100 front and rear ends that chop about 2 inches off of the wheelbase from stock and it really handled well using the rear 5.5" ZX11 rim. You lose the centerstand with the ZRX swing arm which is why I didn't swap the 2nd bike's rear end.

The 1100 I still have has a ZRX front end only with ZRX shocks (1" longer than stock) and it turns in slightly slower but doesn't feel as 'squat' as the last one did. Not twitchy, but compact I guess. When it was stock it handled well but having the 17" front wheel with the slightly shorter ZRX forks with the longer rear shocks is a nice combo for a "GT" type bike in my world.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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I think I'm gonna pass on this one. I haven't seen it yet, but the more I hear..."It's been sitting so it won't start but all it needs is the carbs rebuilt...there's a dent in the tank where something fell on it...it has a Kerker 4 into 1..."

Yeah, I can picture the rest. Guy wants $1900 firm as is. I may look anyway, but I'll lowball him if I have to roll it away without riding it first. This sounds like a particularly poor bet.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:47 AM   #14
Zammy
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So What happened ?
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:28 PM   #15
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I let it go.
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