1987 Kawasaki 305 LTD
August 13, 2008 at 2:47 pm #1898
Anyone know much about this bike? My father in-law saw it at a garage sale near his house and he’s interested in buying it. Actually he wants me to buy it to knock around on for this year and then he will take the MSF class next year and buy it from me. He said he wouldn’t be tempted except it’s in immaculate condition externally and the engine sounds fine. He obviously hasn’t ridden it.
Front tire will need replacing and I think a mechanic would have to look at the carbs and the valves. Price is $650 which would increase with anything that needs to be added on.August 13, 2008 at 3:11 pm #10445WeaponZeroParticipant
All i know that might help you is that my sister’s husband learned to ride on a 1980 Kawasaki 440 LTD twin. Granted it was almost 20 years old at the time when he got it so it may not have been running at tip top shape, but he said that a 1996 Rebel 250 actually seemed to be quicker. The 440 LTD also had trouble keeping up with traffic on I-95 down in Florida, where the speed limit is 65 but traffic moves steadily at approximately 80-85mph. The speedometer only went up to 85mph which was common for bikes at the time as even sportbike speedometers stepped at 85 back then. This bike, however, couldn’t really do 85. He owned it for approximately 8 months then it broke down on him and said that I could have it if i wanted to fix it, but that getting it fixed might cost as much as $600.August 13, 2008 at 4:31 pm #10447
The LTD series is a semi-cruiser. Half way between a standard and a custom (what we now call cruisers), much like the Maxim and Sabre of the time.
That said, the engine was also used in the GPZ305 which was supposed to be a really sweet little bike. Visually more of a standard than the Ninja 250 of the time, but with very similar riding and performance.
Being a naked parrallel twin it’ll be fairly easy to work on when work needs to be done, but parts will be hard to find. I’d make sure you have a bike salvage yard within driving distance and phone them to ask if they have any 305s in their yard.
One important detail about the GPZ305 was that it had a particular piece on it (a gear, but I forget for what) that was made of nylon. I’m not sure why they were nylon instead of steel or brass, but they tended to wear out quickly if the bike was ridden hard (less than 10 000 miles!). They are easy to replace, but getting a replacement is pretty hard these days. some people have had luck replacing the gear with a custom made brass one.
Search around the net for talk about the kawi 305. As commuter bikes the GPZ was supposed to be a blast. I think if you are willing to put in the effort, the LTD could be a good bike if the price is right.
Tires will at least be cheap since they’ll be smaller bias-ply. There are lots of companies still making tires specifically for older bikes like this.
“The two seconds between ‘Oh S**!’ and the crash isn’t a lot of practice time.”August 13, 2008 at 5:52 pm #10454
Good points. I’d forgotten about part availability for an older bike. What about finding a mechanic to look at one? Is that going to be easy or hard for an ’87?August 13, 2008 at 6:36 pm #10455
Don’t take it to a dealership, chances are half the guys there were still riding their Big Wheel trikes when that bike was common, a number of standard practices have changed since then, and treating it like a current bike will only turn it into so much scrap metal. (can you tell I’m bitter?)
The best thing to do is find an independant mechanic who specializes in older bikes, failing that, just an independant mechanic (since he’s less likely to see the newer models that are still going to dealerships for service, most his time will be spent on bikes on older bikes anyways). If you have a local forum, I’d ask on there where people like to take their older bikes.
If you’ve got no other choice, bring it to a kawi dealer and ask specifically that the mechanic most experienced with older bikes deal with it.
Of course, if you can absorb the $650, one option is to view it as a learning experience to do a lot of bike work yourself. Get a clymer’s manual for it, put the salvage yard on speed dial, and dive in. If I had the time and space, I’d love to do exactly that with an old air cooled twin.
“The two seconds between ‘Oh S**!’ and the crash isn’t a lot of practice time.”August 14, 2008 at 2:41 am #10478
I rode this one tonight for my FIL who wanted to know if it would run. It wasn’t winterized and the gas was 2 years old but it ran ok and it was fun to ride around a residential neighbourhood. The bike shifted ok and the brakes worked ok. did notice a slight “buzzing” noise but i think it was the windshield. Might be rubbing on the frame/mount.
Riding position is very standard and it reminded me a bit of a Triumph I sat on last weekend. Apart from some TLC and a new front tire it seems fine to me. My FIL really likes it so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets it. If I was single it might be a fun project bike.August 14, 2008 at 2:43 am #10479
Bugger. Double post.August 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm #10492
Old gas like that can gum up the carbs, if you have the option run a tank or two of 5-10% ethanol gasoline (depending on where you live, “winter gas”, E10, or “ethanol” – just check to make sure it is NOT more than 10% ethanol, as that will do damage to the fuel system – highly corrosive stuff ethanol). It does an amazing job of cleaning out the fuel system.
Also, with it sitting that long, I’d look inside the tank for rust. It may need to be cleaned and resealed (a few hundred dollar job, but waaay better than having it rust through!).
I’ve got to say, I’m a little jealous, I’d happily plunk $650 down on a GPZ305 if one in good shape ever came up around here…
“The two seconds between ‘Oh S**!’ and the crash isn’t a lot of practice time.”
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