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Rebuilding a 1979 Kawasaki KZ650

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So, I've found a '79 KZ650 ( PIC ) for $300, but I figure I can talk him down a little lower than that. Problem is, it's going to need some love to get back in shape... From the listing:

--- Quote ---now needs an engine rebuild due to me leaving the head off in the rain. I have a Refurbished cylinder head in perfect shape and the cams are also nice. All it needs is bearings(maybe,rings a light hone and a little mechanical ability
--- End quote ---

So... I guess what I'm asking is what am I getting into? I'm not the best bike mechanic that ever lived, but I've learned about 23908472398 things since resurrecting my GS and I've loved every minute of it. He says all it needs is bearings, rings and the cylinders honed... BS? Am I looking at something way more involved than that in reality? Will it be next to impossible to find parts? (there seem to be tons on eBay...) I guess I'm not sure what all the possible oopsies are for letting water get inside everywhere.

Seems like a cool bike, 65hp inline 4 with the cruiser/cafe racer style. Anyway, just thought I'd ask, I know there's quite a few of you guys who could rebuild this thing in your sleep probably, I'm wanting it as a learning experience/project for the summer. I could probably put $3-400 into it, but I don't want to sink much more than that.

Let me know what you guys think..


*edit* just to confirm.. that pic isn't of the actual bike i'm looking at... it was just the 1st pic I ran across online... Hopefully I can go look at this one tomorrow and take some pics...

I've done this agout 4 times. Bought bikes in the paper for 50-600 dollars and resell.

FIRST: Make SURE the charging system and ignition coils work, if they don't, thats where you will loose tons of money. Make sure to test the points for the resistance, sometimes if a coil wont work its because the point gap is closed..

Second: Check ebay for parts. This is where you will get everything, expect to pay out of your ass for anything ordered. IE Tail light lense for 70 dollars.

Some final notes about charging systems, you can frankenstine parts to get them to work, but just from experience, those charging parts are the ones you can never find.

William M:
I'm no expert of rebuilds, but I owned that same bike for almost 8 years (bought it used in 1980). Took 2 cross-country trips on it. It was my sole mode of transportation. The only reason I didn't keep it longer is that it got stolen! The only problem I EVER had was one burned out turn signal bulb.

They are great bikes. The GS is probably a bit more nimble. The post "mono shock" frames are just better. That said it was a great handling machine of the era.  Those inline 4s just purred.

Ok, so it sounds feasible that it really will just need to be honed and rings and put back together. Who knows, I may see the bike and it could be a total POS. Any idea on how much it'll cost to get the cylinders honed? I figure the rest I can do myself...


I almost bought a KZ650 from my nephew's step-father. It was 300 bucks and in pretty good shape. But I was starting a business at the time so I passed it by. The only thing I've read detrimental to the little Z had to do with the charging system and something to do with the cam riding in the head directly instead of bearings with failure at that point being common. I believe also that to do valve adjustments may require removal of the cam(s) which could be a hassle. But they are a neat looking scooter and if it is cheap and you got the cabbage...why not? Love the little GS and this great forum.



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