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I did a little further research on CL. Specifically where @ZeroFret lives. From what I found, that Zephyr is probably the best deal on CL up there.

I couldn't fathom some of the asking prices for stuff. Particularly stuff that goes for under $1K here, going for twice or 3 times that up there.

Stuff that was advertised as a "project" for well over $1K but in reality would only fetch a couple hundo down here.

Also, did not see any of the bikes I'd have thought to be readily available at low prices.

In fact, big Harley cruisers and baggers were well cheap up there but smaller more beginner focused bikes....not so much.

Based on that Zero, if you can wrangle the price down to where it is acceptable to your budget, I'd go ahead a get it.

Mainly because prices where you are, are just insane to me. The used market there is not nearly as robust as it is here....which underlines the discussion about how different the used market is by region.
 

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@Apriliarider I'm gonna bring a trailer to your area and buy bikes to flip in Chi.... :) Imitate those SRK Cycles guys.... :)
 

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LoL......you'd be surprised at what you can find here for not a great deal of money.....or for right where you'd think you should be for what you want.

Like I wrote previously....we have an abundant supply and low demand here.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I was kind of wondering about that, actually. A lot of talk in this thread about prices on things, but then when I look at my local listings it just didn’t seem to match what was being said. I assumed it was my own narrow perspective and inexperience, so thank you @Apriliarider for having a look.

I think I just might go for it on the Zephyr. One thing I was thinking about regarding the weight/power thing, is that the engine in the Zephyr is the same engine as the GPZ550. It was tuned down for emissions. So in theory, with some air box and jetting mods it could be brought back up. I haven’t looked yet to compare numbers, but I’d be curious what that would look like, having the Zephyr tuned equivalent to the GPZ550.
 

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I've no doubt there is some extra power lurking in there. Always is. The potential for 4 cylinder that is in a lighter state of tune than say, an EX which was tuned within an inch of its life from the factory is greater.

Have a look around the webz. I'm sure there is info out there for tuning the Zephyr engines. They're more of a cult bike than mainstream popular. As such, I'm sure there is a forum out there dedicated to them...or at least to the GPZ550

Just off the top of my head, I'd think the hotter cams from the GPZ might drop in....though I seem to remember just using the intake cams is the way to go.

Jetting and ignition advance too.....but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Let us know once you've got it back home and are riding again.

All the hot rodding stuff can be done later. Get the bike home first. Master what you have and then we can get to tuning based on what you experience as being deficient.
 

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Just be careful not to bite off more than you plan to... Id hate to see you get another bike, start changing it and wind up in the same spot part way through a project and not have the time or skill or money to finish it and be back to square one.
 

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And for what it's worth, transporting a bike isn't that expensive if you happen to find a good deal and have someone who can get it out for you that you trust. Of course then you look like the sketchy guy trying to scam on CL... But if you see anything in the NH/MA and southern Maine area that you want someone to check out I'll be happy to play middle man.
 

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I will say this...you should be able to find a Ninja 250 all day long! I see them all the time as they're starter bikes that people learn on and either want to upgrade, or find out that riding just isn't in their repertoire!
The pro's with the Ninja 250's is that you can get them cheap and sell them for about what you paid for it.
The con's is that some of these idiots have financed them and are so underwater on them that they're asking crazy prices! So, look for used and older!

I've seen a few of the SV650's lately going for around $2500 (that's asking price...so good negotiations could get you down to the Zephyr's original asking price) that would be great for you, IMO. They'd be good to learn on while having enough umph to make you want to keep it for a few years!

I just think with that Zephyr you will get bored with it quick and then have a hard time trying to off-load it if you want something different - again, which I think will come real soon for you! Also, have you checked on parts and if they're readily available? I mean, if there's only online then your Zephyr could be sidelined for days if you need a major part.

I will say, if you can grab that thing for $1300...it may be something to get. I don't think it'd be hard to re-sell it and walk away with $1000 even after you put a few miles on it. Bottom line for me would be what I discovered in researching the Zephyr's durability. Is there a "Kawasaki Zephyr Forum"? If there is, join and ask around!
 

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I will say this...you should be able to find a Ninja 250 all day long! I see them all the time as they're starter bikes that people learn on and either want to upgrade, or find out that riding just isn't in their repertoire!
You would think so...but that's not the case where @ZeroFret lives. I know. I checked the CL ads for his area. Know how many Ninja 250s I found? None. That's how many. Maybe if he went as far away as Seattle there would be some but in his 'hood, nada. Zip. Zilch. Not even an old school Rebel 250.
I just think with that Zephyr you will get bored with it quick and then have a hard time trying to off-load it if you want something different - again, which I think will come real soon for you!
Maybe. Stock it isn't very impressive. However with some jetting changes, ignition advance and maybe some GPZ cams the story might be quite different. My initial thoughts have already been expressed several posts back. And they probably align pretty closely with yours. However, once I did some poking around to see what he had to work with.....it wasn't alot. Certainly not like here in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Bottom line for me would be what I discovered in researching the Zephyr's durability. Is there a "Kawasaki Zephyr Forum"? If there is, join and ask around!
I've suggested the same. I'm not 100% sure, but durability was not one of the Zephyrs issues. It is vastly under powered for what is very nearly a 600cc inline 4. Seriously. Stock it's like 49 hp. 10 less than an EX. It's also heavier, though not as significantly so as I initially thought.

On the plus side, it has dual front discs. Probably lifted directly off a Kawasaki 600 of the day. ZX6E or maybe a ZX600R. I dunno which. The point is, it "could" be a great starting point for a sleeper. Could, being the operative word.

As I already expressed in my last post though, lets not get ahead of where we are. Zero doesn't even have possession of said Zephyr. Kinda should wait until he does to even further this conversation. It's all moot if he doesn't bring it home.
 
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Discussion Starter #51
I went ahead and contacted the seller, said that if he still has it, I’ll take it at $1400. He’s holding it for me, and I’m just making plans to go get it. It’s as good as mine!

Regarding the comments about GPZ-tuning, that’s definitely something for a later date. So is any other mods for that matter. My plan is to ride it, and put gas in it, and ride it some more. When the winter rolls around, maybe we can start talking about steps I could take to get a little more performance out of it. In my searching I haven’t yet found a Zephyr forum, but maybe there’s a sub forum somewhere in a Kawi Z, KZ, or GPZ forum. Until I find that, I’ll probably just hang out here and talk to you guys.:giggle:
 

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Reality check ...if you decide to play "hop up and mod" (which inevitably spirals into $$$) be aware you'll never recoup any investment into this 30 year old . If I may suggest...resist the compulsion to "turn it into a 750".....simply maintain, ride, learn and enjoy, flip it when and if so motivated.

On the flipside....I also respect the fact its your bike to do as you please....
 

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I'm so glad you said you'll leave it alone for now. I'll go further and say leave it alone, period. It's not a repli-racer, and has an even older, lower tech engine than the ex500 has.
You could just buy another ex500 if you want the same power as this one would make modified and have a better bike in every way. Even so, I think you'll like it, just as is. It's a back to basics throwback to the UJMs of the 70s, the bikes a lot of us learned about the joy of riding on. I think it will do the same for you.
When did 50 hp become under powered for a new rider anyway?
 

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Wow...posts #52 and 53 posted simultaneous ...accurate content. Not a planned event.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Reality check ...if you decide to play "hop up and mod" (which inevitably spirals into $$$) be aware you'll never recoup any investment into this 30 year old . If I may suggest...resist the compulsion to "turn it into a 750".....simply maintain, ride, learn and enjoy, flip it when and if so motivated.
Absolutely this might be what happens. Knowing myself, I probably won’t stop looking at my local CL even after I do have a bike. If a good deal on something comes up, I can still grab it, even if it needs a little work. I like having a project, so I can be building some badass replacement for the Zephyr, but at least I’ll still have something to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
It’s mine. It’s home. God damn is it a good-looking bike.

One interesting thing is that while loading it I was pushing it around thinking “oh man, this bike IS way heavier than an EX.” But then I heard a noise and realized that the front brake was dragging. No wonder it was so hard to push around! Not a difficult fix, and I have the tool for it. But damn, that psyched me out. We actually dropped it for a second, inside the plastic-lined truck bed, while trying to unload at my house, pulling it back up was super easy, so it didn’t make sense that it was so hard to push. Pressing the brake pistons back will be my first task, and thankfully that fix shouldn’t cost me anything.
 

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Welp, here we go....removing the usual line of dirt (the reason pistons stick) may require disassembling, cleaning and polishing each piston.

A 30 year old bike, obviously sitting gonna have some minor poop stains.

Tires? Chain/sprockets? Starting? Idlling? Responding to throttle? PS yours has a rack of 30mm Keihins ....similar to 250 ninja...as opposed to 34mm on EX , though jetting differs. Just so you know, I stock all orings, float valves, bowl gaskets, etc.
 

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Well ‘grats on the new ride then!

Brake pistons probably need a good work out after sitting for so long.

Might be worth cleaning the pistons up with some brake clean to make sure they can retract.

They're the same 2 piston sliders so same drill as in the EX caliper. Clean and lube the slides. I’m sure after 30 years the grease has turned to glue.

Get all the accumulated road grime off the pistons as a start. Then purge the old fluid and put in some fresh DOT 4.

While your at it, take a peek inside the master cylinder reservoir and ensure there isn’t any kind build up in there.

When brake fluid doesn’t get changed out regularly you get this:
52245

Rear master cylinder reservoir above, front below.
52246


Read this too:

And this:

From MCN Owners Reviews:
Before mods: sweet little bike. After mods: hyper-responsive little torque monster screamer
30 July 2018
by Zaddict
Year: 1991
This is a great bike. In stock form, it's comfy and fun and plenty powerful enough for highway use. With a few mods though, it has the potential to be a dream bike. I upgraded the front shocks with progressive springs and adjustable preloaders and the rear shocks with Nitrons. The stock engine put out 46 hp at the rear wheel (according to period reviews). With stage 1 jetting, a performance exhaust and a K&N filter that number went to 52. Swapping in ZX550 cams (from a GPZ550) and an SPII ignition bumped output to 58hp. It's gone from a sweet little ride to a snarling beast. Dogs bark at me as I pass by because they think my exhaust is growling at them (not kidding). All of my ratings for this review are post mods. Even before I would have put all 4 or 5 stars. Webike has thousands of custom parts still available - just about anything for the zephyr 400 will fit the 550. I can't tell you how much I love this bike.[\quote]
 

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fluid changes, brake inspection, all "running gear", adjustments, functions PRE-RIDE all no brainers upon initial purchase....especially an older, dormant scoot.

Important priorities ....brakes F & R, tire date codes chain/sprockets

When test riding, stick very close to home until conditions become ascertained, by close I mean like...within sight. :D
 
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