Kawasaki GT 550 G9 1996 Model


During October after I had had a ride out with my mate Ian, I decided I wanted to get a project bike- it was the only way I could afford one at this time.

I had been looking on Ebay and had my eye on a Honda 400 4. It needed work, had parts missing and also it was near to me which was a bonus. I put a bid on it and there did not seem too much happening. I started low as it needed quite a bit spent on it. Needless to say I was outbid- I waited near to the time and made a last try for it but it made far more than I wanted to pay. 

I saw this Kawasaki GT 550 on Ebay at the same time and thought the same thing would happen and I would get outbid on it. I waited till 29th October, the day of the sale and was still not sure of what would happen. While I was eating my dinner I checked on my laptop, put a bid on it, and later found I won it. The bike was in London, just the other side of the Blackwall Tunnel. I had never been to that part of London before, but I spoke to my sister who had lived in London and she said it should be a good and very direct route from Norwich.

Next job I contacted the seller and told him I would try to collect it on Thursday 1st November. I then rang my local van hire place that I actually worked for a short while and asked if they could set me up with a short wheelbase Transit, and it was organised without a problem. I thought of Ian my mate who I went out on the Harley with and wondered if he may like to come for the trip when I picked it up. Ian said he would like to come with me and I am glad he did-he was great company.

The 1st of November came and my wife Heather took me to pick up the van which was a VW Transporter almost new with only just over 5000 miles recorded. I then went to pick up Ian and we were off about 9.30. The trip went well and we got through the tunnel without a problem. I put the SATNAV on about 40 miles before that and it decided to shut-down as it ran out of power near the tunnel, which was a bit of a nuisance, as that was where we needed it most. We got the other side of the tunnel and asked a couple of times and found the garage which was right near the main road that we came in on.

 They were a nice lot of people there-one of the men had to put some air in the front tyre and used a wooden deal to run the bike up into the van for us. We paid for the bike, tied it in and we were back on the road again. There was a short hold up to get through the tunnel again and there was a spell of really heavy rain, and when we were nearly home I realised there was an extra front wheel I should have picked up, so I had to find a way to get back later.

Ian and I had a really good old talk as it was something we had not done for a long time and we enjoyed the trip. All in all it was a good day out. I returned the van at about 16.30 to the depot.

The bike appeared to be in not bad condition and I knew I would find out what would need to be done as I worked on it. After a couple of days I contacted the seller and asked about the wheel and he agreed to pack it for me. I organised a courier to pick it up and I got it back without much bother.

The first job was to order a battery as the old one was dry and unusable. While I was checking the battery I found parts of the rear brake under the seat so the second job was quite apparent as the back brake was disconnected and the lever was seized. I removed the back wheel, took out the brake assembly, freed off the lever, refitted the brakes and put the back wheel back in. That was the first job completed.

I thought as it had been standing I would remove the petrol tank and check out the fuel situation. There was quite a bit of fuel in the tank so I put some into a can to make it lighter when handling it. I removed the tap and stripped it down to see what condition it was in but when it was cleaned out and reassembled I felt the diaphragm maybe  perished.

I put the tank back on the bike, and the battery arrived in a couple of days. I filled it up with the liquid provided and charged it up.

The next day I started the bike up- at this time I had only had the bike just over a week and was happy with how things were going .A couple of days later I tried to start it again and realised the diaphragm was faulty. I found one on Ebay and it was delivered to me quite quickly, and this fixed the problem. The front tyre was not holding air and it was hard to move the bike while it was like this.

I hit my next problem when I needed to remove the front callipers to get the wheel out. The previous owner must have rounded the bolts off so I could not remove them. To get the wheel out I had to undo the mudguard and twist the bottom of the fork leg and remove the wheel- that was the only way I could do it. To cut a long story short all 4 calliper bolts had to be drilled out and replaced with new ones. The other wheel was fitted. It was from an earlier model and has a silver edge while the original one is completely black. New disc pads were fitted and the brakes were all back working correctly.

I ran the bike up and found the exhaust was blowing so the next job was to remove the whole system and see what condition it was in.The bolts on the bottom were easy to remove but the ones on the head took a lot more time as they were corroded on.

The exhaust was fairly well gone on one side, I showed my mate Ivan and he agreed to look at it for me and has welded it up, as the picture shows below it is in a bit of a state. I got the exhaust back today 30/11/2012 and I did a very good job with what he had the metal was paper thin, he also heated up the parts so I am able to move them when I reassemble. I got some black stove paint which can be used with anything that gets hot and he sprayed them when he finished.

The bike is now waiting to have the exhaust replaced and have an oil and filter change, and then it will be started up to see if it is OK. The dent in the fuel tank will be looked at in the New Year. During December I fitted the seat cover it went well but has some slightly loose bits due to the sponge being slightly compressed with use-I must say though it looks fairly good.

The New Year started well and I decided to refit the exhaust which went together well. I started the bike up and it ran well and sounded good. When I first got the bike I noticed the clutch was a bit sticky and thought I would try it and my assumption was right- it was sticking, I drained the oil and that had been in there for years- it came out like mud.
I then had to take the clutch cover off and there was my next problem.2 bolts were seized and sheared off. The picture almost shows the ones that are damaged- they are the one just under the carburettor and the one to the left of it. The way I will go about repairing them is this; I have bought some helicoils and will drill the old ones out and replace them with these inserts. The clutch plates were removed and they came out in one. I just cleaned them up after separating them and replaced them- that should be all that is needed to fix that problem.

I got the helicoils and drilled out the old bolts I had to use my glasses as it was hard to see when I dot punched it, I then went on and drilled them the first one was under the carb and I got that central but the next one I was slightly out. The holes were tapped out and the helicoils fitted but needless to say when I tried to fit the clutch cover it would not line up with the bolt that I thought was wrong, I removed the cover removed the helicoil and tapped it deeper into the hole and that was enough to do the job.

The bike was starting to take shape again but there was a problem with the rear tyre it was not holding air, the rear tyre looked OK but on further inspection I found the tyre had slightly perished.

At first glance you would think it was a good tyre but there is the problem just very minor crack between the edge of the tyre and where it says tubeless, it hold air but it is like a slow puncture. That is what happens when a bike stands for a time.

February 4th I ordered the rear tyre 6 days ago and thought it would have been here by now, I was getting a bit impatient and removed the front wheel to check its condition as I was thinking of transferring onto the old rim, on inspection I found it to be low and decided to get a second opinion on it so I went to the person who will MOT it for me he said it was a border line case and would give an advisory when he tested it.

That was enough information for me to know what I needed to do, I came home and rang the tyre people to see where they were with my rear tyre after checking they found they had ordered the wrong tyre type and had to make a new order for a pair of tyres. It will be good now as they will both be Michelin and both new at the same time. I could see the benefits of having the same make of tyres and having the both fitted at the same time.

It was now getting to the end of February and the weather was still cold and not at all good. On Monday the 26th I thought I would like to get the bike on the road in March. The bike looked almost there but there was one thing that I had not checked and was not possible to do with out riding it and sure enough my assumptions were right the speedo was inop, on inspection I found the cable had seized in the outer cable and snapped near the drive.

I came in and had a look on Ebay and somebody was selling the cable I needed for £7.85 total including post, I ordered it and was here in 2 days and was fitted in no time. I had been in touch with my local man to test the bike and he said bring it in Saturday 2nd March. He has been good in the past he tested my Norton a few times.

Saturday came and I took it round to the garage, it was not bad but this was the first time I had ridden it. I got a call about 12.15 and was told to come and collect the bike it was all OK, I was very pleased about that. I walked around to the garage and spent a bit of time talking and I was told the bike was last tested February 2007 and realized why it needed the amount of work it had.

Monday the 4th came and I walked down to the Post Office to get the road tax for the bike that was good it is now legal and I can take it for a ride. It was my daughter’s birthday and we were having a get together so that was all I could do with the bike that day.

I took the bike out on Tuesday the 5th for a 25 mile run, it went not too bad but after I got back to Norwich it was revving up due to the new oil getting around the engine, I adjusted the carbs when I got to the traffic light and it seemed better. I also went out for a short run in the afternoon and the clutch became quite high and made gear changing difficult and when I got home I had to adjust the lever at the engine end to make it better.

Wednesday the 6th I went out to see if my mate could help me to get the dent out of the tank, we tried and got most of the dent out with out damaging the paintwork.

He had some mushroom shaped pieces and special glue to fix them to the tank and he used a slide hammer to pull the dent out, it is not all out but a lot better than before.

You will see when I left the dent is quite big and when I got back it is quite a lot less, it is not fully out but so much better than before.

Here we have Maria Paul and their 2 boys Thomas now 27 months and Liam 10 months.

Here are my 2 nephews Bertie and Ted

Kawasaki GT 550 up for sale January 2014

In January this year I thought I would like to have a smaller bike and looked at various ones that were about. I owned a Honda TL125 in the 70s and thought I would like something like that as I always liked trail bikes.

I put the advert on Ebay and also Gumtree, I got up on Saturday 24th February and I put on my mobile and got a text in reply to my Gumtree ad.

To cut a long story short I replied to the text and after a short while we both agreed to a price, he told me his name was Neil and he asked if I could deliver it to his house near Fakenham, which I did and he was very please with his purchase.

While I was there Neil said he wanted to make it into a Japanese Brat Style bike, his lady gave me a lift home and he was left to check the bike out.

On the 17th of March Neil contacted me to ask if I wanted to see how the bike looks now and still being interested I said yes please send a photo.

This is how the GT 550 looks today