On the road again!

Posted by Nate Bargmann on Sun, Jun 5, 2011

On my KZ650, that is.  A couple of weeks ago I finally cleaned it up from its long winter nap, checked everything over, put some fuel in along with its aging battery and it fired on the third kick.  Yes, kick!  The 1979 model year still carried kick starters which has the advantage of putting off buying a new battery for longer than one should!  One thing that was immediately obvious was the cam chain was making a lot of noise.

A bit of investigation on the kz650.info site was this thread on cam chain tensioners.   It seems Kawasaki tried several variations of “automatic” tensioners with varying degrees of success.  Suffice it to say that the one on my 650 was not doing its job for whatever reason.  Off to Z1 Enterpises and I placed an order for an APE manual tensioner.  I received it a week later and installed it on the rainy afternoon of June 1.  What a difference!  The engine idles smoothly and the cam chain is now nice and quiet.

How does it ride?  Just fine.  The 650 in stock tune has an almost electric motor torque curve to it—continuous throttle response from off idle to red line without flat spots or peaks.  It is a rider’s machine even after all these years.

I posted my history of my 650 on the kz650.info forum recently.  Here is a pic for your enjoyment.

A 1979 KZ650 motorcycle parked on a sidewalk in burgundy livery as purchased.

1979 KZ650 in its livery as purchased.