In the mid-1980s, Kawasaki laid the foundation for the sporty Ninja models. With a successful presentation on the Isle of Man and – internationally well known – the product placement in the cult film Top Gun, the first ninja started. In this country it was simply called the GPZ 900 R, was classified more as a sports tourer and was no longer officially offered as a new vehicle after 1993.
The GPZ 900 R was the first Ninja
In her home country of Japan, on the other hand, she received loving model care for ten years longer. The circle of friends around the Classic Ninja is correspondingly large there. Restomods appear regularly, i.e. particularly beautifully prepared specimens with technical updates and upgrades. Like the Shabon Dama GPZ 900 R that we show here.
A matter close to the heart of the workshop boss
Shabon Dama, the specialists for motorcycle accessories and custom bikes, have been based in the Japanese region of Aichi near Nagoya since 1992. Workshop boss Kumaki has dedicated a lot of time to this GPZ. He packed the full program here, only the finest. The GPZ 900 R should also be lighter. It originally weighed around 230 kilograms with a full tank. Here the tank is reproduced from aluminum, the fairing parts are largely made of carbon. Nevertheless, Kumaki has mounted additional frame reinforcements, on both sides and in an S-shape. The rigidity of the 1980s chassis thus approaches that of more modern designs.
Suspension and brakes up to date
The conversion of the aluminum wheels to multi-spoke 17-inch format, type Magtan JB1, with current sports rubber tires also has this goal and this effect. The rear wheel runs in a widened and polished aluminum swingarm with a fully adjustable Öhlins shock absorber, the front wheel in a fully adjustable upside-down telescopic fork, also from Öhlins. This is matched by the radially mounted four-piston brake calipers from Brembo.
From 908 to 972 cc
The upgrades to the chassis and brakes seem all the more valuable because the in-line four-cylinder engine has also been drilled and upgraded. Pistons with a diameter of 75 instead of 72.5 millimeters increase the displacement from 908 to 972 cubic meters. Specialist TG Nakagawa supported with tuning parts and with the set-up. This also includes Yoshimura 36 flat-slide carburettors, a reinforced oil circuit, a larger water cooler plus oil cooler and the four-in-one exhaust system made entirely of lightweight titanium.
From 115 towards 150 hp
With DOHC four-valve technology and a rated power of 115 hp, the Kawasaki four-cylinder started back then, in the mid-1980s. Shabon Dama hasn’t given any exact performance data yet, but we estimate this tuned Classic Ninja to have around 140, maybe even almost 150 hp. Not quite on the insane level of today’s ninjas, but surprisingly close for a vintage car.
I’m more into old iron!
Modern motorcycles are better!
As a well-kept original, the Kawasaki GPZ 900 R is already a coveted cult bike. This Classic Ninja by Shabon Dama from Japan is all the more attractive fan material. Significantly lighter and stronger, with fine details and functional upgrades and updates.
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