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Cult bike Kawasaki LTD 450

Motorized bonanza wheel

Go big or go home has always been a battle cry of the US biker scene. Kawasaki countered 30 years ago with the Kawasaki LTD 450 full of high tech and the bold advertising slogan: Whoever has, has.

NOTAfter the sons of Nippon had to realize that all-rounders equipped with high-handlebars and sissy bars did not qualify as easy rider bases, from the beginning of the 80s they developed completely independent cruisers or – as the generic term at the time – choppers. Of course, they wanted to please the Americans above all, but it took a while to get down to the technical level of their national brand.

Cult bike Kawasaki LTD 450

Motorized bonanza wheel

Kawasaki followed the industry leader when the air-cooled 440 twin plopped through the Californian emissions test: under the inclined drop tank of the new Kawasaki LTD 450 introduced in 1985, the halved engine of the GPZ 900 overhead motorcycle actually pulsates Valves, six-speed gearboxes – whoever has, has!

The Kawasaki LTD 450 was especially fond of women

With a 72.5 mm bore and 55 mm stroke, the counter-rotating in-line twin of the Kawasaki LTD 450 has a fairly short stroke, which is why it needs almost five-digit speeds for 50 hp. If he was still considered a talented loiter at his premiere, that says a) a lot about the competing units and b) a lot about the overall exemplary vote. In fact, things are going bravely out of the cellar, the next higher gear can go in under 6000 turns, even in the “long” sixth, the load does not starve to death on every incline. With the GPZ-Four, a balance shaft would have been superfluous, with the LTD-Twin, on the other hand, such a part rotates in front of the cylinder bank and does its job almost too well.

No vibrations. Back then, of course, that stood in the way of a successful chopper career less than it does today, and you should think about it when you get the chance. The Kawasaki LTD 450 was even allowed to show off its water cooler without being expelled from the guild. On the contrary: Women in particular loved them en masse, and from this we could learn that women often have an unmistakable nose for problem-free technology. Tea frame, which is sufficiently manageable and stable despite the flat steering head angle and quite long wheelbase, guarantees safety and good comfort, a toothed belt as a secondary drive reduces maintenance costs, the economical motor does not bother and lasts forever.

Quilted step bench like a cheap bar stool?

In addition, a moderate seat height, the ladies can easily overlook aesthetic weaknesses. Or does someone want to claim today that the Kawasaki LTD 450 is beautiful? Just look at the wildly scattered chrome parts. Or the step bench, quilted like a cheap bar stool, with a tiny, tiny short bobtail mudguard attached.

German approval regulations even robbed the seating furniture of its sissy bar, but most owners of the Kawasaki LTD 450 confidently disregarded this. All that weird, bonanza bike, but in its touching uncertainty it is definitely a document of the times. As early as 1986, it became clear that its engine was capable of much more than leisurely touring: In the GPZ 500 S, it delivers 60 lively horsepower and makes it one of the most powerful 500 series with four-stroke twin ever offered. Erik Buell was not granted anything comparable with Harley engines.

Further information


He’s dressed up nicely, the twin from Kawasaki. And carries more high-tech around than is still in demand and customary among cruisers or choppers

Kawasaki LTD 450

Technical specifications: Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, 454 cm³, 37 kW (50 PS) at 9500 / min, 41 Nm at 8000 / min, six-speed gearbox, double-loop frame made of tubular steel, weight with a full tank 199 kg, front tires 100/90 x 19, rear 140/90 x 15, tank capacity 11 liters, top speed 157 km / h, 0-100 km / h in 6.0 seconds.

Scene: The little ones have the weakest lobby, this also applies to cruisers. Especially if you don’t have a V2 engine. Nevertheless, the Kawasaki LTD 450, which was offered until 1990, and even more, its successor EN 500, which was sold until 2001, has a great reputation with touring and occasional riders: Really good examples with low mileage are available for around 1500 euros, the maintenance costs hardly count, every Kawa screwdriver knows the robust drive technology by heart. Which is surprising, because this engine was used in the ER-5 until a few years ago.

Literature: If you want to get to know the Kawasaki LTD 450 better, you can save yourself the trip to the bookseller. Except for genuine purchase intentions, the German-language repair instructions for parallel models such as the ER-5, GPZ 500 S or the Enduro KLE 500 will help. Only in English: Alan Ahlstrand: Kawasaki LTD 450 Service and Repair Manual, Haynes Verlag, 37.95 euros.

Internet: The friends of small Kawa choppers are looked after in the most loving ways at: The nice private website is just as interesting

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