Kawasaki GPz 550

Kawasaki GPz 550 cafe racer custom motorcycle
At the start of the 1980s, Kawasaki turned the middleweight sportsbike market on its head with the GPz550. It was fast for the day—doing the quarter mile in less than 13 seconds—and had immensely chuckable handling. It paved the way for Honda’s all-conquering 600 bikes, fading in the mid 80s due to high price and the other Japanese manufacturers rapidly catching up. Today, the GPz is an excellent proposition secondhand, and lends itself well to customization. This ’83 GPz is a terrific example; it’s owned by Jeff Pochodowicz of Seattle, who invested “two years and thousands of hours of thought” into it. The rims, tank and frame of Jeff’s bike are stock, “but everything else has been altered to be lighter, cooler and faster. It took two complete bikes and three motors to achieve the final product.” The engine has been lightly worked over with a port and polish, a cylinder hone and new rings. There’s more on the GPz (and the K1000R) on Visual Gratification. [Thanks to Todd Blubaugh, who also shot the sweet Yamaha RD350 custom we featured last month.]