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KZ500/550 - (79-83)

KZ500/550 - (79-83)


The Kawasaki Z500/Z550 series began with the 1979 Z500, a scaled-down version of the Kawasaki Z1R. It used a double-cradle steel (Norton featherbed-style) frame with a transverse-mounted air-cooled 4-cylinder DOHC (Double Over Head Cam) engine--a classic universal Japanese motorcycle.

This was the first of the line, with a 500cc DOHC engine, later bored out to 553cc's and also available as the 398cc Z400J (identical to the Z550). Early Z550 models (1980-1981) had a double disk brake in the front (The US model KZ550 had a single disk brake) and a drum brake in the rear, with a conventional swingarm using twin shock absorbers. Later models (1982-1983) had improved brakes (twin disks in the front, with a single disk in the rear). The original Z500 (1979-1980) differed from the early Z400/Z550 models in having twin front and single rear disks.

With a potent torque curve and high-revving engine and a featherbed style frame the KZ500/550 is one of the best candidates to create a custom Cafe Racer in your garage!

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