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From the Owner

The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle


Craigslist Steal: 1980 Kawasaki KZ650

Kawasaki KZ6501 

Rider: Rick Chalupsky, Antigo, Wisconson.

Age: 60 

Occupation: Retail

Rides: 1980 Kawasaki KZ650, 1983 Kawasaki KZ1100 LTD

Rick’s story: “I found this beautiful KZ650 when I was 56 years old, in June of 2009. I work retail and money is more often than not an issue, so I went on Craigslist hoping to trade for a Kawasaki project bike. After quite a few attempts I ran into a guy from Green Bay, Wis., (just 75 miles from me) looking for a good-quality digital camera. He was getting low-balled with offers for his KZ650. He was asking $1,500, so he agreed to trade with me for my nice-quality Olympus camera and some old stereo equipment. All I had were pictures of the bike, but I agreed to the deal. Since I had no way to get the bike home, he offered to bring it to me in his pickup for $10 gas! Well, he arrived, we made the exchange, and I ended up with a near-mint 1980 KZ650 with 4,500 original miles on it! With a clear title! At some point in its sheltered life it must have fallen over on its right side, because the points cover was scraped. I replaced it immediately with a NOS cover from eBay for $40. The right turn signal stem was broken and, get this, my local Kawasaki dealer had a brand new one on the shelf for $11.50! So now, 3-1/2 years later, I’m sitting on a near-mint KZ. It’s garaged right now, and I think the mileage is 5,800 miles, so I still need to break her in a little bit. It’s a trade-off between racking up the miles or keeping it as a low-mileage original. But I have a 1983 KZ1100 LTD with 20,000 miles that I’ve had longer that lets me decide my riding options. I’ve taken the KZ1100 on a road trip to Des Moines, Iowa, more than 1,000 miles round trip, and the only problem I had was a severe case of sunburn. I’m still looking for a project bike!” MC

bigjim
8/1/2015 11:01:50 PM

Have a 82kz650 like to sell if anyone's looking can call or text 217 390 8733


buddyjohn
6/11/2015 8:23:13 AM

Hey guys looking to trade my harley chopper for either a Kawasaki Honda or Suzuki trike older model in decent shape 813)786-1886


chad
5/29/2014 5:29:21 AM

hi nice bike .I have a 1980 Kawasaki kz650 near mint well maintained 20,000 miles but don't look it or run like it for $2400 obo 9313712582


kawidave
1/10/2014 5:55:38 PM

Very nice Rick. I have had several 650 Kawi's over the years, New 78 and 79, then a few used ones later. They still turn my head. I still have my 78 factory shop manual that I bought new back then, just in case. One of the best UJM's ever made.


tim
12/16/2013 11:43:21 PM

Hi Rick, What type of project bike are you looking for. In my shopping through the summer I encountered a few Kawasakis. I finally settled on a KZ440 Ltd in Milwaukee. But I know of a 650 in the Chicago area and a 550 in Whitewater. I've ridden the 550. Actually it is in pretty good shape. But it runs rough at idle. It has stock pipes and rebuilt carbs. Feel free to give me a call at 630-235-7617. I'm in N IL. Tim


alfred aleguas
6/20/2013 4:43:32 PM

Great deal! I always think the right bike finds you. I agree with Neil; what's the point of having that bike, it was made to be ridden! Enjoy it, let others see what a great bike it is; not some cookie cutter new sport bike, but a true classic. Ride it, don't hide it! Fred


neil fonger
6/20/2013 1:04:05 PM

I love bartering! Nice deal! As for the mileage, as they say, "Ride it, don't hide it". I had my '79 Beemer off the road for over a year and I regret it. Dried out seals and sticking front brake, not to mention a terminally dead battery, are the maladies I'm working through after reviving it. I say keep it running and let a few miles rack up each year.