1977 Kawasaki KZ400, Part 1

I’ve decided to participate in the Ozark Mountain Scramble, a three-day event/ride in June that has just three simple rules: Your motorcycle must be from 1980 or earlier, 750cc or less, and cost no more than $1000 complete. This appeals to my sense of practical motoring.

I’ve chosen two bikes for the OMS. (Yes, I know I can only ride one at a time.) One is a 1974 Yamaha RD350 that I’ll write about later, and the other is a 1977 Kawasaki KZ400. I spent some time Christmas Eve checking it over, and I’ve already learned that while the bike is a 1977 model, the engine has been swapped in from a KZ440, probably from 1981. (The frame should be the limiting factor for the OMS age requirement, so I think we’re in the clear on that.)

1977 Kawasaki KZ400

1977 Kawasaki KZ400

An initial list of things that will need to be addressed, or perhaps just ignored to stick to the budget:

Oh, and then there’s the right muffler rubbing on the rear brake arm, plus the angle of the luggage rack relative to the fuel tank, handlebars, etc. Based on the evidence so far, I suspect this bike was crashed at some point, and that as soon as I get it to where I can do an actual road test, I’ll find that the frame is “tweaked.” Whether I try to remedy this problem will depend on just how badly it rides. Fingers crossed on that one; I’d really rather not have to convert this into a parts bike. (Or maybe it will give me a chance to learn frame straightening, because that’s a great idea.)

by Andrew | December 27, 2011 at 11:28 am | Outside Work | 5 comments

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5 Responses to “1977 Kawasaki KZ400, Part 1”

  1. Andrew says:

    Note to self: a previous owner put later-era cast wheels onto this bike, which means it takes tubeless tires. Besides being better than tube-style tires (easier to fix punctures), this saves me money on both tubes and rim strips, since they’ll be unnecessary. Maybe I’ll splurge and install new valve stems.

  2. Jesse Adkins says:

    Hi I was wondering how much you was wanting for your kawasaki
    You can contact me at this email.
    Please let me know how much you want for it thanks

  3. Andrew says:

    Ended up selling it at a swap meet to a local rider who needed a cheap second bike. He’s already made a bunch of improvements, and he refuses to sell if back to me. :-)

  4. George says:

    Hello,
    I have the same bike but looks a little better (sorry), and was wondering what you ended up getting for it? I’m doing some downsizing and need to let some of my toys go and came across this blog and read it with great interest. My KZ is the same color and I did spend a lot of money at my local dealership last summer getting the carbs rebuilt and just a complete going thru. Thanks for your time.

    • Andrew says:

      Pretty sure I was talked into selling it for $200 just because I needed the space. Then I bought it back for $250 because I forgot what I’d sold it for. The timing chain slap damaged the cylinders, so the engine had to come apart. Ready to go back together with a bit of welding done to it, along with a gasket kit and new parts. When I’m done again, I’ll probably value it somewhere between $800 and $1000.

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