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Thread: 82 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD Project Bike - yae or nay?

  1. #1
    Flirting With The Redline SaskRider's Avatar
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    Question 82 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD Project Bike - yae or nay?

    It's been a long time since I've posted, but I also haven't been able to ride much the last couple seasons.

    I have a 2013 Ninja 300 ABS that I have no intention of selling anytime in the near future. (Although the KTM 390 Duke looks nice ....). Didn't ride the 2013 DR200SE at all last year, so looking to sell it as soon as I clean the carb and get it running again. (Bought it as a lake toy, but no time to actually ride it out there.)

    A (somewhat) local dealer has an '82 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD bike for $650. Motor apparently is seized, but otherwise good condition. It died on someone on their cross-Canada trip, so I guess they sold it to the dealer and flew back home and now the dealer just wants to unload it.

    http://www.usedregina.com/classified...oject_28012747

    Is this something I'd want to get myself into?

    When I was young and broke (and cars weren't controlled by computers) I wrenched on my own cars, so from a purely mechanical aspect, I'm okay with turning wrenches. Based on the age of the bike though, I have no idea how easy/hard it would be to get parts and/or find resources (manuals, troubleshooting help) for it.

    It would be my secondary bike, so downtime wouldn't be an issue, but I also don't want to get into an endless money pit.

    Truth is that I would like a non-plastic bike, but due to insane insurance costs here, a newer (larger) bike is out of the question (especially it it's in addition to the Ninja).

    Other option would be to buy a bike that is running for more money upfront, but then that still gets back to the old bike maintenance thing.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    EDIT: I guess my broader question is "do I want to buy a vintage bike?" Obviously I'd have to answer that for myself, but I figure there's a lot of motorcycling experience on here to help me decide.
    Last edited by SaskRider; 05-08-2017 at 01:14 PM.
    2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE
    2013 Suzuki DR200SE

  2. #2
    Flirting With The Redline 4000 Posts! taylorcraft07's Avatar
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    It looks like way too much money to me. Even in $CDN. Bike has 40k miles on it. Plus the add says

    was driving from Vancouver back to Quebec when pulled into a gas station near Moose Jaw ...starter wouldn't turn over the engine ...the engine had sieized...
    That sounds like it got low on oil and the temps got out of control when he stopped it. I am guessing you are looking at a seized piston/damaged cylinder. It would be interesting to see if the engine will rock a few degrees or if it is hard seized. Even if you did all the wrenching yourself I would expect some machine shop time and some parts.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Flirting With The Redline SaskRider's Avatar
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    Yeah, considering it's a dealer that's unloading it, I'm sure the engine is fubar (otherwise they'd deal with it and turn the profit).

    Asking prices around here for vintage Japanese bikes that aren't basket cases is 2-3K, but I have no clue if there's enough value in the rest of that bike to offset the obvious issue. (British and American bikes are closer to 5K and up.) Sucks living where there's no people and fewer bikes.
    2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE
    2013 Suzuki DR200SE

  4. #4
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    440's are unlikely to ever see considerable collector's value. Part of that is because there were so many of them. Check into the cost of a replacement engine and then decide. "Hot seizure" could mean that it just needs to be rebored and a new set of pistons and rings, but it could be much worse. Since most motorcycle engines have the camshafts running directly on the heads, no bearing inserts, an oiling problem would likely mean replacing the cylinder head. At that point, you would be better off with a complete powerplant.

    $650 is quite overpriced for what is basically a rolling chassis with minimal collector value.

  5. #5
    Flirting With The Redline SaskRider's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I had a feeling it wouldn't be a wise choice.

    There will mostly likely be a vintage bike in my future, but not this particular one.
    2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE
    2013 Suzuki DR200SE

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    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Shadow Shack's Avatar
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    In addition to the previously mentioned price to value ratio, that bike has a belt final drive on it and those belts are made of unobtanium. If it needs replacement (which it probably does after 35 years), you'll either have to resort to "less used" belts & pulleys from salvage yards/eBay/etc or looking into what it would take to convert it to a chain drive.
    Sent from your mom's phone
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    "Motorcycles are not unsafe. However, they are extremely unforgiving of inattention, incompetence, ignorance, and stupidity."
    Support your FLIBS (Friendly Local Independent Bike Shop)
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  7. #7
    Flirting With The Redline SaskRider's Avatar
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    I've crossed off a KZ twin off my list.

    What about Honda's CB series? Anything good in that pile?
    2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE
    2013 Suzuki DR200SE

  8. #8
    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Shadow Shack's Avatar
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    The SOHC & DOHC 750 models (pre-Nighthawk) enjoyed a generous production run and to this day is still supported by the aftermarket and the Nighthawk is no slouch either, you can still get a decent one for a small price while the SOHC & DOHC models seem to be increasing in price these days.
    Sent from your mom's phone
    "If I wanted a windshield and tunes, I'd drive my car."
    Ride Safe, Chop Safer
    "Unofficial Beginner Bike Chop Shop"
    "Motorcycles are not unsafe. However, they are extremely unforgiving of inattention, incompetence, ignorance, and stupidity."
    Support your FLIBS (Friendly Local Independent Bike Shop)
    http://www.beginnerbikers.org/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=11&dateline=117347893  4
    3500cc worth of Honda: http://shadow-shack.20m.com


  9. #9
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    The early "sand cast" 750's are sought after.

    As far as "vintage motorcycles for investment" purposes, I would focus on European marques more then Asian.
    Triumph
    BSA
    Matchless
    Zundapp
    Bultaco
    Maico
    are some to look at.

    On the higher end would be
    Vincent
    Ducati
    Munch

    Only problem with these bikes is that they become a "shrine" that is never truly enjoyed nor ridden.
    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

  10. #10
    Flirting With The Redline SaskRider's Avatar
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    There is a BSA for sale, but I'd be afraid to ride it given the price....

    Lots of UJM at a reasonable price to choose from though.
    2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE
    2013 Suzuki DR200SE

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