The Kawasaki GT750 and its smaller sibling, the GT550 were extremely popular in the UK as courier bikes due to their bulletproof motors & rugged reliability. Mine came to me early one evening while browsing Gumtree for a project bike when this new ad popped up: GT750 for R8000 in Durbanville.
Went to see the bike next day and saw the guy coming up the road with it. When he stopped by me, I told him straightaway that I’ll take it! Decent condition, 30000 on the clock, original, except for Cowley 4-1 system. Occasional misfire, but what the hell! Picked it up the next day & that’s when the fun started!
Papers were in order, but on another guy’s name! Story was that the guy on the papers was the second owner & bough the bike in 1984 from the original owner in Jo’burg. Bike was parked in his garage for almost 30 years and only ran on occasion. He was getting on in age and the cost of having the carburetors cleaned & synchronised every couple of years when he wanted to ride, drove him nuts, so he sold the bike to this youngster. This guy had it for 3 months without registering it on his name, so the old man had the bike scrapped! I was unaware of this at that stage, and got the surprise of my life when I took it for roadworthy before the license expiredâ¦ and it failed! That’s when I got behind the story of why it was scrapped. Had a new rear tyre fitted & took it for police clearance. They first sent me across the road to have it micro dotted. Then came the wait for the clearance certificate before I could go again for roadworthy. Once that arrived, it flew through roadworthy and re-registration. Finally it was on my name & I now owned a classic.
At first the bike was lazy on top end power and that damned misfire haunted me!!! I replaced the caps & plug wires & that sorted the misfire! I rode it around for a couple of months until I got tired of the sluggishness on top end, took off the carbs, and cleaned them as best I could, but the problem still persisted. Took the bike on 33186 kilometres to Ryan’s in Parow to have them look at it. R11,183 and a month later after fitting a new OEM clutch kit, new mechanical advance (from Holland) 4 needle & seats, 2 idler needles, a tappet cover gasket, 4 air box rubbers (from Japan), acid cleaned & balanced(?) carbs and a major service, IT WAS STILL THE SAME!
I must say the top end got better & better the more I rode it, but at this stage it has also developed oil seepage at the head & the battery would not hold its charge for long, so I bought a new battery! Now the starter turns, but the motor doesn’t! The Haynes manual that I ordered & waited for 6 weeks from the states tells me it’s the starter clutch! Didn’t even know a starter could have a clutch! Seems the bottom end of the box needs to be taken apart to get there! Now I need to find somebody to fix that for me & maybe even do the head! So that’s how things stand at this stage with the GT! No time to fix it & no fun at all! I’m seriously going into withdrawal as summer approaches!
Starter clutch & ring gear + gaskets has now been sourced from the factory in Japan, a mechanic has been found close by, a bike trailer will be rented next Saturday & then my patience will be tested once again! Not the most patient when it comes to my bike & at 62 & counting, I’m losing riding time while time is running out!