Youngtimer test: Kawasaki GPZ 900 R


Youngtimer test: Kawasaki GPZ 900 R

Youngtimer test: Kawasaki GPZ 900 R

Strong then and now: Kawasaki GPZ 900 R

Kawasaki burst onto the motorcycle market in 1984 with its first four-valve four-cylinder with water cooling. The strongest production bike at the time still makes the corners of the world glow today.

It was time to show who is wearing their pants in the ring of sporty motorcycles. So presented Kawasaki for the 1984 season a completely redesigned motorcycle that could unashamedly be called a superbike: the GPZ 900 R. The Kawa engineers fired with everything they had: four cylinders, four valves each, water cooling. Short-stroke and therefore designed for speed, with a matching six-speed gearbox. The timing chain, which is moved from the center to the left, ensures straight suction paths and thus higher performance. Strong 115 hp from 908 cm³ were considered a slap in the face of the competition, today this value would still be good for undisguised highway robbers. The fast GPZ feels at home there as well as on the motorway. Because its engine is a stunner: Even at medium speed there is a lot of fire, from 7500 rpm the sports four-wheeler seems to explode and turns effortlessly up to 12,000 rpm – the red area starts at 10,500 rpm.

The single-piston brakes at the front and rear decelerate more than you think, but the four-piston stoppers of the 1990s model act better. The touring suitability of the former super sports car is the same for all model variants. Even tall people will find a chest of drawers at the front, while sitting in the second row is a little more uncomfortable. The small 16-inch front wheel is uncomfortable when it comes to driving. It stands up on bumps and when braking and seeks its own lines. And from a certain incline it simply folds down further. The extremely high stability of the speed bolt is not affected. It is all the more astonishing when the Kawa drives a 130 mm tire for a walk at the back, which, far from any show talent, ensures the superbike’s great maneuverability. Both the long construction time and the indestructibility of its engine strengthen the reputation of the GPZ 900 R: It is a legend.

Brief verdict:

  • Foldable luggage hook
  • Supreme driving performance
  • Powerful, robust engine
  • Hydraulic clutch
  • Chain change without dismantling the swingarm, tensioning with an eccentric
  • Large tank volume


  • Ineffective anti-dive
  • Telescopic fork that is not very sensitive
  • High weight
  • 16 ” wobbly front wheel

Technical specifications


The practical eccentric is currently back in fashion at Kawasaki.

The data:
Engine four-cylinder four-stroke / in-line
Cubic capacity 908 cm³
Power transmission six-speed gearbox / chain
Output 84.5 kW (115 PS) at 9000 rpm
Max. Torque 86 Nm at 7000 rpm
Front brake double disc (Ø 280 mm)
Rear brake disc (Ø 270 mm)
Front tires 120/80 V 16
Rear tire 130/80 V 16
Suspension travel front / rear 140/115 mm
Tank capacity 22 liters, normal
Colors blue / silver, red / anthracite
Maintenance intervals 6000 km
Price 5977 euros

The measured values:
Top speed (factory specification) 241 km / h
Acceleration 0-100 km / h 3.6 sec
Pulling speed 60−140 km / h 11.6 sec
Weight with a full tank 257 kg
Load 173 kg
Consumption on road 6.5 l / 100 km



The sharp-cut front fairing is somewhat reminiscent of the villain Darth Vader.

In the city:
Despite its super-sporty origins, the Kawasaki is no problem in tight city traffic. The four-cylinder runs smoothly, but the first model year shows that the engine temperatures are too high (fixed in 1985). The overview is okay, but the heavy weight is annoying when maneuvering.

On the country road:
It’s wonderful how you can burn the old lady here, the bang from medium speeds is still impressive today. The small front wheel is annoying when you brake in an inclined position, the fork does not bounce very sensitively. Thanks to the narrow tires, the GPZ is easy to maneuver.

On the highway:

No problem for the Kawasaki Superbike: the 900er snaps stably over the track and does not allow itself to be alarmed even when changing lean angles. From 200 km / h, hiding behind the windshield is the order of the day. For the Bolzerei, however, the carburetors shoot up to just over ten liters through the nozzles.


The easy-to-turn in-line quad pulls smoothly from below and adds more coal from the middle of the speed. Its consumption is okay.
4 out of 5 stars

Landing gear:
A little insensitive at the front, overall rather tightly coordinated. The small 16-inch device at the front is imprecise, but the load is full and stable at speed.
3 out of 5 stars

Better at the front than expected, but you have to pull hard for a decent delay. The rear stopper, however, is difficult to dose.
2 out of 5 stars

Top: eccentric swing arm, hydraulic clutch, cockpit with fuel gauge and display of the on-board voltage, main stand, folding luggage hooks.
5 out of 5 stars

For a sportswoman, comfort is anything but poor. Both the driver and the pillion passenger have enough space and the wind protection is okay.
4 out of 5 stars

Suitable for beginners:
A fighting weight of over 250 kilograms is no stick. Otherwise, the GPZ is stress-free, the 1990s model is the better choice.
3 out of 5 stars



The first of its era: The Kawasaki GPZ 900 R from 1984.

The Japanese superbike came on the market in 1984 for an attractive 11,690 marks. Up until the end of the eighties, the GPZ 900 R received only minor facelifts: in 1986 it received modified carburetor diaphragms, harder inlet valves, and the oil supply to the camshafts was improved. A modified timing chain tensioner came in 1987, a year later brake discs with a modified hole pattern. It was not until 1990 that the Kawasaki was completely renovated. The standpipe diameter of the telescopic fork grew by three to 41 millimeters, the air support and the anti-dive system were eliminated. Floating brake discs with a diameter of 300 millimeters and comparatively powerful four-piston brake calipers ensured better deceleration values ​​from then on. The tire dimensions have become more suitable for everyday use and image: At last a 17-inch wheel with 120 mm tires turned at the front, and even a 150 mm skin at the rear. Furthermore, the exhaust system was changed and a different secondary ratio was chosen. As a bonus, Kawasaki built in adjustable hand levers, new price of the GPZ: 14 140 marks. Their last official model year in Germany was 1993, their last price 15,215 marks. The GPZ 900 R was offered in Japan for another ten years, i.e. until 2003. There she last ran as "Final Edition in the colors of the first model year and with powerful six-piston brake calipers from the assembly line.

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