FAQs for maintaining and owning a ZG1000

1986 Kawasaki Concours ZG1000It had been about 6 years that I’d owned my 1986 Kawasaki Concours 1000 (aka C10 or ZG1000 or sometimes “Connie”).  Over this amount of time I’d done tons of work on it to get it back up to snuff or to enhance it.  A while ago at work, someone asked me about the bikes as he was thinking of getting one.  Some of the primary reasons were capacity, low cost of entry and a large community of support.

These were the exact reasons I got my bike, which brings me to the point of this article.  Over time, I have gleaned a wealth of knowledge from both the COG (Concours Owners Group) forums and my own personal experience and I wanted to share it here, both as a point of reference for myself, but also to enrich the greater community.  If you are a current “Connie” owner, or are looking to get one, this may be helpful to you over time.

I’ll split up the below into categories for ease of reference.

Model basics

The same bike was made from 1986 to 2006 with very few changes.  Almost ALL parts are compatible with all years save a few.  In 1994 there was a model refresh and the following parts were changed:

  • seat form changed and new material, sits slightly lower for driver (compatible with all years)
  • front suspension updated (no more air preload)
  • front wheel changed (smaller, more compatible with modern tire offerings)
  • dash and inside plastics changed (requires different inside fairing mounts to swap with pre-94)

The first year, 1986, the following items were different, but still compatible with all other years:

  • bars were about 1.5″ lower than all other years
  • saddlebags had a one year only key and were smooth sided
  • side lower fairings had removable vents

Buying one

Most often found on CraigsList locally, also available on the COG forums here: http://forum.cog-online.org

Getting parts

  • Murph’s Kits is a COG industry member and offers fast free shipping.  If you can get it here first, do: http://www.murphskits.com
  • OEM parts also available from BikeBandit (faster delivery, slightly higher cost), or Ron Ayers (lower cost but slower delivery in my experience)
  • Parts that are compatible (from cars, etc) available in this parts list from various auto parts stores

Recommended tune up/maintenance items

  • run tires at 42 psi front, 40 psi rear.  Less in the front can contribute to head shakes on deceleration
  • water pump seems to fail every 25-50k, weeps from the hole on the bottom, replace hoses, fan switch, and thermostat at this time too
  • coolant leaks from hose areas are usually just clamps that need to be tightened (often every spring)
  • front steering headset bearings should be tightened until there is slight resistance and the bars don’t bounce freely back when swung to the side of the bike with the front wheel off the ground (helps with head shakes on deceleration, tank slapping)
  • many bikes have original rubber brake/clutch lines, replace with new ones or better yet upgrade to steel braided lines for about the same price
  • use lemon Pledge to clean the black plastics as it will help keep them black.  If they grey out too much from weathering, the Back To Black product has had favorable results

Modifications / farkles / upgrades (most common)

  • send your carbs off for rejetting (prevents 4k rpm flat spot) and overflow tube (prevents hydrolocking) installation via SiSF: www.shoodabenengineering.com/
  • j-box (power junction box) rebuild.  Replaces old relays with stronger ones, resolder everything on the board.  Done by Larry Buck: https://www.bucksporttouring.com
  • helmet lock relocating.  Either get a kit from Larry Buck above, or make your own.  Stock lock location doesn’t work with bags in place
  • retro-reflective material for the rear and sides of the bags.  Larry Buck again has a solution, and there are others on eBay with similar offerings

Community support

  • COG – The Concours Owners Group is an endless source of helpful information, ride/event meetups, and parts swapping.  A membership here is invaluable, however not required to participate in the forums. Online at: http://cog-online.org/
  • ZG Fanatics forum – Similar to COG above, but without membership requirements.  Online at: http://www.zggtr.org/

Ride on, ride well, keep the rubber down.


(Originally written in 2016 but not posted until 2019)

Dancing in the moonlight

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