A nicely hopped up 1982 GPZ 550!

One of my all time favorite Japanese bikes nicely upgraded. Thanks to Charlie Stevenson the pics!

Here’s a couple of pics of one of my bikes; 82 550 GPZ, 2009 R6 forks, brakes, front wheel, rearsets, FZR rear wheel. Charlie Stevenson, Clarksville, Indiana.



  1. I recently obtained 2 82 gpz 550’s and after hours spent on cleaning carbs and troubleshooting electrical glitches, I got 1 fired one up. Unsure of any mechanical issues-I feared the worst(they both have less than 10000 miles so I was shocked it ran so smooth and no smoke or weird noises! Both sat half covered outside for at least 10 years. Anyway, I have completed several rebuild, restorations and my latest is a GPZ1000rx streetfighter that gets alot of attention and didnt cost a fortune to build. So when I saw your bike it seems like we have identicle taste for these old bikes. I’m asking for a little more detail on your build if you dont mind. I really like the combination of all the changes you made! Did you have any issues with the wider rear wheel(did you use an offset sprocket or did everything clear ok?) Are those stock carbs, and if so , what jet size allowed you to run pods w/out airbox? ILooks like you built the exhaust- Please let me know if you can answer any questions and once again, I love your bike Sam Cassell

    1. Thank you for the compliments. As for your questions; I had no problems with the rear wheel, no offset sprockets were needed. It does have a 520 chain conversion. As I stated, the wheel is a Yamaha FZR 600 rear wheel, with the FZR brake and mount. I used a Hyabusa brake stay arm. All of this, believe it or not, fit perfectly. I used a CBR 900 shock which is slightly longer. Carbs and pods…ugh. Where do I start…DO NOT USE PODS…can’t be jetted. I am in the process of fabricating some “restrictor plates” to mimic the constant velocity of the stock airbox. Bike starts and runs, but bogs currently. Its a work in progress. Rearsets are R6 units, fork is R6 as well as wheel and brakes. The clutch actuator case/primary cover was cut to expose the sprocket (this was typically done in the day to allow gearing changes and save weight) and allow the use of the R6 rearset and shift rod. The pipe is a zx550 stock header pipe, the 550 motor was used well into the 80’s. There are no good pipes available for this bike. I cut the pipe up (removed a catalytic tumor) and added a slash cut slip on, later added a baffle. This whole project was prompted by this bike being given to me about 15 years ago. I happen to find a perfect NOS tank at a salvage yard a few years later for 150.00. From that point on I knew that something would emerge at some point. Bike itself was in poor condition. This bike changes constantly and is a bit different now than when these pics were taken.

  2. do you belong to any forums i would really love to see the current state of the bike and pick your brain for Idea’s on my current GPZ build 🙂

  3. No, I do not belong to any forums. I am getting ready to take some better photos and submit them to this site. I have made several cosmetic improvements and have got it running well. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

    1. How did you get the 900 shock to mount in? And what did you do about the POD’s? did you get them jetted or make those restrictors you were talking about? I am currently doing the same bike and am very frustrated with the lack shock options and I also wanna clean out alot of the extra junk cluttering the center of the bike. Thanks for your help

  4. Any updates? Was curious about how it’s coming along now. Can you give me some pointers on how you installed the rearsets?

    1. Getting ready to purchase CR29 Kiehen carbs from Dynoman. As far as the rear sets, you need to cut the the original mounts down to just the bolt points, the R6 rearsets will bolt to these existing points. The gearshift side of the engine case needs to be cut down; I really can’t explain that procedure but it was a common mod back in the early Superbike days. This can be done with an cut off wheel and an angle grinder. You cut he case to keep the support for the shift shaft, but open up the sprocket. This needs to be done to clear the R6 shift modification. As far as the fork, you need to have the steer tube machined to fit the lower bearing on the frame, don’t remember mm. I had the build chronicled in pictures but the computer crashed which had the pics. The shock fits by modifying the lower mount point on the linkage; width. And…no matter what anybody says, pods do not work on CV carbs.

      1. Nice looking GPZ 550 Charlie. The modifications that you performed on it are amazing. I just recently purchased a 1982 GPZ 550 that had been sitting in a guys backyard for quite some time with a hole in the engine block. Plan on replacing on pulling that motor out and locating another one from a salvage yard, ebay, or where ever I can get a good deal. This is going to be my project bike and I would like to take it the cafe racer route instead of restoration or bobber route.

        I had a few questions in regards to your build. Did you retain the Uni-trak on the GPZ and just add the CBR 900 shock? Also, could you explain or discuss how you modified the rear tail? Where did you relocate the battery to? Was it necessary to get the R6 rearsets or could you have kept the stock brake and clutch pedals? Where did the clutch cover have to be cut exactly? Were the stock handlebars retained or did you replace those as well?

        Sorry for all the questions, but I’m new to modifying motorcycles and am looking for some inspiration. (which your GPZ 550 has provided)

        Look forward to hearing back from you.

  5. Thank you Hector. I retained the Uni-Track and raised the rear by grafting two of the Uni-Track links together by tig welding. The CBR 900 shock fits, but you will need to grind a bit on the lower mount end. I could have kept the original rearsets but chose to replace with modern units. The frame was cut and ground extensively for these to fit. To cut the clutch cover you just need to cut as if you were exposing the countershaft but at the bottom of the case cut over to the support for the shift shaft. I did this with an angle grinder, my number one tool! The handlebars and controls are R6, the whole front end is R6 Yamaha. Good luck with your project.

    1. Charlie,
      I also have an 82′ GPZ 550 and have been looking for a way to get rid of the hideous brake/fender/tail light assembly. I really like the look you have with the two integrated round lights. They seem to be the perfect size for the rear cover. I assume they function as both brake and turn signal lights? Who makes them and where did you get them? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

  6. Those lights are actually ordinary running lights from an auto store. Unfortunately they are not two stage; electrics are not my thing. I have since used small license plate lights as running lights with the round lights in the tail functioning as brake lights only. As far as the rear light assembly, I cut everything off the frame that had anything to do with the rear light assembly. My rear cowl is attached to the rear of the seat only. The seat lock was also removed.

  7. Nice to see some creativity. I have an 82 with 5200 miles that I bought new and its been sitting too long but that’s another story. Got the bug to get it going again and started looking for rear sets when I ran across your blog. I don’t want to modify anything if possible and wondered if you could direct me to a brand of rear sets that would fit stock. Hope to contribute my pics as soon as I get going. I bought Canadian mixture needles for my bike in 1983 to richen the mixture and have a Kerker 4into1 pipe. One thing I noticed would really give your bike a good look is a Solo Saddle I bought for mine. Still has room from a second rider on the raised back but really holds you on the seat under acceleration.

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