Kawasaki Z 550LTD




Make Model

Kawasaki Z 550LTD




Four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 2 valve per cylinder.


553 cc / 33.7 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 58 x 52.4 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 9.5:1


4x 22mm TK


Starting Electric

Max Power

58 hp / 43.2 kW @ 9000 rpm

Max Torque

35.5 ft-lb / 48.1 Nm @ 7000 rpm


6 Speed 

Final Drive Chain

Front Suspension

36mm Air adjustable forks

Rear Suspension

Dual shocks adjustable spring preload and rebound damping

Front Brakes

2X 228mm discs

Rear Brakes

Single disc

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre


Wet Weight

 207 kg / 456.3 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

12.5 Litres / 3.3 US gal

Updated 1980 version of the earlier, unsung 500-4, the Z550 was to suffer, in its turn, from the attention given a few months later to a more developed model, the GP550. But in the period before that startling newcomer arrived, the 550 was able to establish something of a reputation for itself as a crisp-handling middleweight giving away very little in speed to the old-established 650 from the same factory. It marked also the beginning of a new styling phase at Kawasaki in which colour-matching (generally in rather understated shades) and an angular line, replacing the adipose curves of the 1970s' models, were to be carried through the range.

Thus the 550 was finished in one colour — usually silver-blue — on tank, side-covers, seat support and tail, and front mudguard, with the cast-aluminium wheels in matt-black picked out with polished metal.

There was little chromium plating other than on the exhaust system, which was arranged as two-into-one, for each side, with megaphone-shape silencers taken up at an appreciable angle towards the rear-wheel spindle. The slightly inclined engine was black finished, the edges of the fins being polished.

The front fork was of leading-axle type in the style favoured by Kawasaki for some others — but, inexplicably, not all — among their sporting bikes. Braking was  by new, lightweight twin discs at the front anda7indiameterdrumintherearwheel. Minor 'convenience' features abounded on the 550, including combined ignition and steering-lock control,

view windows for checking fluid levels in front-brake hydraulics and crankcase, stoplight-failure light and an interlock system  requiring the clutch lever to be pulled in before the engine would fire. With a six-speed gearbox (with patent neutral-finding device) and a wide spre** of power from 3,000 rpm to near the redline limit of 9,500, the Z550 was a M» faster, in all circumstances, than the 50U. Small wonder that the canny men a  US styling for Kawasaki's 750-4: the Z750 LTD has a high-rise handlebar and stepped dualseat, and became increasingly popular in the UK during the early 1980s