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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well...after coming to the conclusion that the CBR 600 would take too much time to get in safe riding order (read: the GF wanted something to actually ride this season), and after a few nights of her pouring over Craigslist ads, we found a pretty sweet little deal on this:



A 1990 Kawasaki ZR550. It's everything a first bike should be. Big enough to grow into, small enough to not punish you for every tiny mistake you're bound to make, clean enough to make a solid project out of, but not clean enough to make you cry when it gets a bit scuffed.

Plans:
New headlight
Open up the front sprocket cover
Clean and paint the headers
Shorten front fender
Eliminate rear fender
Aluminium diamond plate undertray
LED brake lights (courtesy of Poopie)
Possible (more likely than not) front end swap, or at least a full rebuild
Clean and paint frame, tank, tail...and everything else

The little things get done whenever we have a minute, and the bigger stuff will wait until winter.

...Let's kick this pig!!!
 

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ShamanFighter
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sweet id rock one
 
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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mother. Fucker.

Ever type a lengthy post only to have the computer freeze up, leaving you to retype it all over? Just happened.

Sidewayz, to answer your question she (and me, of course, by nature of the fact that I wouldn't do it unless I liked it too) is into the idea of matte white with a broad racing stripe down the center in either metallic silver or a darker matte grey. Engine will be blacked out.
 

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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Work done so far:

Headers came with a nice coat of red rust all over...

Dropped them into my newly created electrolysis tank (pics on another camera, to be posted later), flap wheeled and hand sanded them clean, and then hit them with 2000 degree flat black. probably looking to powder coat this winter.

Opened the master cylinder to find this...


It looked like someone had dumped melted caramel into it. WTF? Clearlt the previous owner was big on routine maintenance. I'm actually shocked that the brakes were still working.

Original headlight and front fender setup...



Choppity, chop, swappity, swap...


Vrod headlight, and a good 5-6 inches off the front fender looks pretty damn good for now.

Front sprocket cover makeover!!








As always, input and comments are welcome. The summer will be spent getting it to roughly match the vision we have in mind, and then major work begins with the arrival of winter. I've promised her I wouldn't cause her to miss riding days due to my inability to leave well enough alone during riding season.

...I've already broken that promise once...but come on! It needed the new headlight, right? :D
 

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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thats cool. Maybe a thin matte black twin srtipe along the outsides of the center stripe?
Hmmmm...that's an idea. What about using Kawa Green, or British Racing Green for the pinstripes?
 

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ZRX1100 underbraced swingarms fit into the 550 frames. You'll need your eccentrics as the spindle size is smaller on the 550. shave 2mm off the leading edge of the ignition rotor to retard the timing slightly which makes the bike run a little cooler.
Shocks from the 750 fit as do ZRX1100/1200 shocks which raises the rear end. 17 inch wheels from the ZZR600 or ZXR400 will fit and take the same discs as what you have. ZXR400 USD front ends fit easily into the 550 Zephyr frames.
GPZ550A camshafts fit into the motor and give it a little more power.
The engine was a development from the old Z500 as were many others, a GPZ600R or GPX600R motor will slot right in there, although you'll need brackets welding to the front of the downtubes to mount the radiator and will give you a very healthy increase in power.
There's lots of stuff you can do to the little 550 Zephyr.
 

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UnicycleMode
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Damn, now I want a 550! :D


Speaking of engine swapping, GPz600R engines are fantastic too. Love the sound of them. Still have a few bits for one on the shelf including a head with a brand new valve train. ;)




I'm a junkie for middleweight bikes. This build has my full attention.
 

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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Speaking of engine swapping, GPz600R engines are fantastic too. Love the sound of them. Still have a few bits for one on the shelf including a head with a brand new valve train. ;)
Soooooo...Ben...would that head happen to bolt right on with the introduction of the proper pistons? :D

And Mustapha, in the interest of full disclosure: While you might be a raging douche at times (the whole "Cabbie Situation"), and clearly have some twisted racist views of the world (that whole "jews are a pestilence" thing), you also have an incredible wealth of motorcycle knowledge that you share freely with the forum. Thanks for that, I hope to take further advantage of it as this project progresses.

Sidewayz: I don't know how much the headlight cost, I had it sitting on the CBR 600 that has stalled as a project. But I do like that it was on hand.
 

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UnicycleMode
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No clue on it bolting up, but if you had a zed 600 motor you were looking to put into that thing I have a brand new valve train to slot into it. The head has a spun end bearing so the $400 in parts and machine work got oiled up, bagged, and put in a box on the shelf next to all the other high end motor bits we hoard like lunatics. Got a rare engine or two in the mix as well. :)



GPz's are plentiful, cheap, and easy to modify too. Sticking with the stock airbox and a slipon I have the jet components to run that as per instructions on the box. :D



You've seen my brothers build "Zed" right? The dual shock monstrosity built from a 1985 GPz600R? Your 550 here looks like a proper version of what it was pretty much all about. Using that mill, in your bike, would be awesome. :D
 

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Soooooo...Ben...would that head happen to bolt right on with the introduction of the proper pistons? :D

And Mustapha, in the interest of full disclosure: While you might be a raging douche at times (the whole "Cabbie Situation"), and clearly have some twisted racist views of the world (that whole "jews are a pestilence" thing), you also have an incredible wealth of motorcycle knowledge that you share freely with the forum. Thanks for that, I hope to take further advantage of it as this project progresses.

Sidewayz: I don't know how much the headlight cost, I had it sitting on the CBR 600 that has stalled as a project. But I do like that it was on hand.
Why thankyou indeed,what glowing praise, I'm touched.:D

I may well be a twisted fucker and I make no apology whatsoever for that fact. I do however know the subject of motorcycles extremely well, which was actually an advantage during the time I spent teaching the subject, as many of my former teaching colleagues outside of the motorcycle department knew pretty much fuck all about anything at all.
I do not tolerate idiots, or red sea pedestrians for that matter, and with the exception of my close friends I treat every fucker as an imbecile until they (hopefully) prove otherwise, if however they fail to dispel this impression then I'm seldom dissapointed.
Have fun with the 550, I've ridden an example of virtually every model of 550 that Kawasaki ever made, so if you need some info just ask, and you may indeed help to dispel my somewhat jaded view of the verminous scum that constitutes the human race.
 
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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
^I caught your build when I first picked up the bike Sidejam. Nice work!

I'm going to steer away from the bobber treatment (due to the need to transport small passengers), but I dig what you've done.

I forgot to mention that I have plans to run pod filters and weld up an underslung exhaust for it too. I'm loving the underslung on the Z, and figure the weight savings couldn't hurt on this project either. That work is slated for this winter.
 

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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just remembered to download my pics of the rear fender chop with the new turn signals installed.

The before comparison...


And the after...




I like the results, but the brake light is friggin enormous, so this is only a temporary fix. Next step is the aluminium diamond plate under tray with LED brake lights. Should much more slick.

Input?
 

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I Piss Excellence.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
SHHHHHHHH...everybody look busy...the GF is peeking around the site.

...she'll probably stop by here at some point.
 
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