Kawasaki GPZ 500 Honest review!
I thaught i,d write a review on the GPZ500 as i have owned one for 15 months now, untill it was stolen 3 weeks ago. ( allthough it has since been recovered and im hoping to buy it back off the insurance company.
(hence my review on the vfr400 nc24 which i braught to replace it)
My bike is an 96 reg on an N reg, and had 10,000 miles when i braught it, and i have covered 7500 miles on it.
Ok as with the NC24 review i,l start from the front and work my way backwards!
Front tyre is 17 inch and lasts a while, it had an original front tyre on it when i got it, and only cost me Ј60 to replace it, so if youre gentle with the braking etc you can expect 7-8 thousand miles from a front tyre maybe more!
The forks are good enough, i havent had to replace fork seals yet, but they are pretty soft, which is a god thing for this style of bike.
Breaking is frankly shocking! its barely adequate if im honest, and if you need to stop in a hurry you need the grip of a dying man! i replaced the break fluid and pads on mine and this made a big difference, allthough i will be putting a braided hose on when i do the bike up after the thieving scumbags trashed it. (
Switchgear is typical japanese, easy to use, reliable, and natural in its position.
Clocks are good, easy to read and well lit at night.
The clutch it light/medium in its action and has adjustable span settings which are helpfull. I found the action was getting stiff after 2-3 months and gave it a good spray with some teflon lubricant down the cable and it helped massively!
The same can be said for the throttle, it is light/medium in its action and liberal sprays of lubericant helps to keep it slick and smooth!
The handle bars are upright and feel good to use offering plenty of leverage.
The front fairing is a bit lacking in wind protection, it looks like it will do a great job. but sadly it doesnt! and seems to direct wind to my face!
The tank is a decent size and holds about Ј14 of petrol, and is a good shape allthough the reserve tap is very fiddley and hard to turn whilst riding.
The seat is pretty comfortable and i have managed 300-400 miles easily, and my girlfriend is more than happy to sit on the back, as the seat and footpegs are good.
The rear shock is average, the action is good and it has proven to be reliable.
The rear wheel is 17 inch and tyres can be braught for as little as Ј65 new.
The chain and sprockets last approximately 12,000 miles if youre fairly easy on them, and there pretty hard to change if im honest as the chain is endless, so the rear shock has to be removed to get it on. allthough easy to do when you know how!
The electrics are fine, i have never had any problems and i ride in all conditions.
The handling is very strange on the gpz. the front end seems really detatched from the bike. and doesnt inspire confidence at all, with some decent tyres on it would probably be a lot better. but then this is a commuter and sticky expensive tyres are not really cost efective!
Once you realise the front end isnt going to wash out, you can hustle the bike along at a good pace, and really have some fun.
Having said that i did have a slight off at a roundabout in the wet when the front washed out from underneath me.
The engine is a good reliable unit, a parallel twin with 8 valves, its ultra ultra reliable as long as the oil is changed regularly (every 5k miles) as if not the cams can go wrong after as little 20k miles. It pulls very well about 3k and has a deffinate surge at 6k and can propell you along to about 120mph.
Everything is easy to access and changing oil/filter/plugs can take as little as 30 minutes!
Economy is great, and if you take it really easy, changing gear at about 5k you can get 55-60mpg.
The exhaust is shocking, the rear silencers are fine, but kawasaki (in their wisdom) decided to make the downpipes out of mild steel, (on a comuter! GRRR) which rust massively, i have had my exhaust off twice so far and rubbed it down, then treated it with rust-off then sprayed it with high temp paint.
If you decide to get one, invest in some stainless downpipes, there about 70-80 quid and well worth it!
So there you have it, i think this an honest overal review.
A great bike, a really good commuter or first bike, cheap, reliable, fun.
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