BMW Motorrad Spezial

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.]

  • That is a nice looking bike, understated but cool. Doesn’t look especially comfortable with that seat but I’m guessing he’s not putting touring miles on it. I like the matte black paintwork with the red accents!

  • Thousands of hours of thought and it looks like he rattle-can’d the tank? I’m a fan of matte paint, too, but it just looks… unfinished. But maybe he’s going for the rat-bike look—a mid-80’s cafe racer, if you will. I can dig it.

    My butt would be dead after 20 minutes.

  • jeff pochodowicz

    This photo was taken before the bike was finished completely. I did rattle can the tank and seat so i could ride for the summer. Paint and a proper seat cushon are in the works now. Thanks for your comments.

  • Ahh, it all makes sense now. Thanks Jeff—we’d love to see the finished product.

  • I love this. The rat bike revival starts here. By the way, there are more pictures here and it looks fabulous.

  • Josh

    Aww, nice
    Reminds me of my 83 GSX550

  • Jeff pochodowicz

    This bike was built by me at twinline motorcycles Seattle. Email me for more info [email protected].

  • Caleb

    I snapped a shot of Jeff’s bike at Backfire Moto in Ballard;

    Awesome to see it on Bike Exif! Now I know more about it : )

  • Personal Preference Rating: 8.5/10

    Love the stance. Stout and mean. Cool colors. Looks balanced. Meaty but not fat. Great pipe work. but that seat man. What is with the seat. Looks so uncomfortable. I like the gray but it feels unfinished. Maybe a matte black instead? If the pipes could have gone under the seat and out the back, that would be cool, but I have no problem with it being on the side. Forks look kinda think but that is just knit picking. I like this Bike.

  • alec

    does any one know where i can get cafe racer parts, like the cafe racer sseats? i have a 84 gpz 550 that i would like to start working on

  • chuck

    thats amazing! what did you use for the rear fender piece?

  • Jeff pochodowicz

    The seat is custom made by me out of an extra gas tank.

  • chuck

    oh! i see it how you did it. perfect work! i’m looking for something that looks similar to that style of seat, and nothing looks as cool as that. well, back to the drawing board..

  • steve

    I am dismantling a 1984 GPZ550. I will have some parts available:
    -Fairing, upper and lower parts
    -Side covers
    -Brand new carb boots
    -brand new uni-air filter
    -chain guard
    -not sure what else at this time
    i am building a road warrior rat bike out of it
    e-mail me