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Your repairs: 1985 Kawasaki GPZ900R

Your repairs

Since day one, Haynes has been all about helping you, the home mechanic, to carry out your own repairs on your vehicles. Here, we celebrate those who use their spare time and Haynes Manuals to repair and improve their pride and joy.

DIY champion: Ash Rowland, Cardiff, Wales

Vehicle: 1985 Kawasaki GPZ900R

The headline on the cover of Motor Cycle News screamed ‘158mph!’ This was enough to make the two-wheeled world sit up. The Kawasaki GPZ900R had seemingly landed from another world, let alone Japan. Its speed was like the movie Tron made real, and the cutting-edge tech meant that it was able to go round corners, too. It instantly turned Kawasaki from being one of the smaller manufacturers into the king of the superbike pile. Not for nothing is the GPZ regarded as the godfather of the modern superbike.

But Ash Rowland wasn’t around when all that was going on. This whippersnapper wasn’t born until 1985. 

Ash is an engineer by trade, and loves making things, putting things together, and maintaining the finished product. His current speciality is touchscreens and surgery-grade optics, so that’s likely to keep him busy for the next couple of centuries.

However, he's also been a petrolhead throughout his life, and as well as driving and riding various things, he’s enjoyed keeping everything in tip-top fettle. 

Ash Rowland and Kawasaki GPZ900R
Kawasaki GPZ drop-off

Coming of age

So far, so normal. But then he had an idea. And like all good ideas, it wouldn’t go away. In quiet moments, he’d revisit the idea, turn it around in his head, then put it away again. But then, with his 40th birthday not too far in the future, the time came to put his plan into action. Ash was going to buy and restore a motorcycle that was the same age as him.

Research began into bikes that were around in 1985. A Honda VF1000? Nope. A Yamaha RD500LC? Hmmm. A Yamaha FZ750? Nah. 

You see, Ash was feeling the need, the need for speed. Then he saw the perfect make and model. The daddy (well, the great-granddaddy these days) – a Kawasaki GPZ900R. With the Top Gun theme running around his head, Ash began to hunt, and before long he came across a 1985 example that had been sitting in a barn for 28 years. Money changed hands (well, digitally), and a couple of days later, the blue-and-silver GPZ was dropped off at Ash’s house.

Working on GPZ
Kawasaki zx900 Haynes manual

Kawasaki restoration begins

Ash invested in the Haynes manual for the bike because: “I have nothing but good things to say about Haynes.” A man of taste, clearly.

And so the restoration began, with Ash stripping the bike down under an awning in his driveway in the rain. 

He’s also documenting his restoration on Youtube, so have a look to see how he’s getting on. So far, the carbs have been rebuilt, and he’s restoring a fuel tank that’s quite rusty.

We cannot wait for the next instalment, and will revisit Ash’s tale in a couple of months.

Stories like Ash’s are a demonstration of all that’s good about fixing and restoring your own vehicle. 

Tell us about your work

Getting your car back on the road yourself brings a feeling of contentment and happiness, and that’s exactly why we want to hear your stories about getting a car or bike back on the road when they’ve gone wrong. We also want to hear from those of who get satisfaction out of simply servicing and maintaining your pride and joy, and how you’re using Haynes to help you out.

Just send us a few details about yourself and your vehicle to

Tell us about any issues you’ve encountered or any problems you foresee, plus a few pictures, and we’ll feature you on our website and social channels.

After all, fixing your car or motorcycle yourself means you save money and get a warm glow every time you start the vehicle. 

Restoring Kawasaki GPZ