Hogs in the ‘hood: Kawasaki KZ440 LTD

Belt driven Kawasaki KZ440 LTD...

Belt driven Kawasaki KZ440 LTD…

Not quite sure why, but I am having a hard time finding info about this particular bike.  As best I can tell, it is a Kawasaki KZ440 LTD model, possibly with the designation “A” as well.  This one was parked near the garage, and looked to be in good condition…

Some Unique features on this Kawasaki KZ440 LTD…

...with belt drive and colorful shocks...

…with belt drive and colorful shocks…

Apparently this model was marketed as a cruiser – part of the legions of bikes by Japanese manufacturers chasing Harley Davidson’s popularity.  While many companies were releasing motorcycles in this category, the 2-cylinder Kawasaki KZ440 LTD included some novel specs, including the belt drive.

Says so right there on the side cover...

Says so right there on the side cover…

If you know more about this bike, please let us know…

24 Replies to “Hogs in the ‘hood: Kawasaki KZ440 LTD”

  1. This bike started out as the KZ400 model from around 1974 to 79 in the states but I think it went on to 84 in other countries. In around 1980 it was changed to the KZ440 which had different models such as the a1, b1(which were chain driven) and also D1,d2,etc.(which were belt driven) The 440 ended up with mag wheels and different carbs and the LTD model which looked like a small cruiser. It is a very bland bike and there are not a lot of parts really for them especially the 400 model. The Hungary police used a Z400 in the late seventies as a police bike. These bikes started out in the style of your more famous KZ900, 1000 and Z models but somehow lost their looks.

  2. Venturimoto is correct, Scott. The KZ400 was the little brother of the KZ750 twin during the mid to late 70s and early 80s. The KZ400 morphed into the KZ440 in 1980 and was produced until 1984. The 440s came in a standard model, looking much like the 400s before and the LTD model, a cruiser style. They were called the Z400 in Europe. Most of the later 440s in the US were the LTD model. Not really a lot of difference between the 400s and the 440s except for minor changes over the years.

    The belt drive was an interesting option and the 81-83 models had electronic ignition, which nicely enough can be bolted right up to the earlier 400s and 440s.

    I’ve read an opinion that most Kawasakis are overengineered, and the KZ400/440 motor lends credit to that. It is bulletproof but is plagued by 4 internal chains (primary, starter, cam, balancer) that create a lot of racket and eventually need replaced. These chains as well as pistons, rings, etc. are obviously no longer made and getting hard to come by and thus expensive.

    They are rather bland bikes and there is not much available via the aftermarket, except for typical maintenance things like cables and brake pads. But a few things are out there like rectifier/regulator replacements and header/pipes/mufflers by MAC and others. However, being a typical UJM bike some parts from other models, like the KZ750 or KZ650, and other manufacturers bolt up. Ninja 250/500 frontends and swingarms are almost a straight bolt-on as are the frontend and swingarm of the GSXR 600/750.

    The KZ400 had a really nice frame and with its horizontal subframe makes a great cafe, brat or tracker. The 440s have a dropped subframe and make a nice bobber or with a little work can make a nice cafe bike too. Since there were little changes over the years a later 440 motor is an easy swap into an early 400 frame, gaining a little HP, the electronic ignition, improved oiling system and fixes to the oil leaks that plagued the early 400s.

    The KZ400.com site has a wealth of data on the little twins: http://kz400.com/ModelhistoryFrameset-9.htm. And the Kawasaki Twins Owners Forums is the place online for the KZ400s and KZ750 twins.

  3. Looking for Carbs in good shape
    or the diafhragms…to fit kz Ltd 440.
    1982…with 10.000 miles and 28y.
    sitting in a garage.in PA.usa

    1. Unfortunately we don’t have any parts in the shop for that particular bike. You might try the Rice Paddy in Ohio. They have so many parts it will make your head spin!

  4. I have an all original Kawasaki 440 LTD black with 5000 original miles. Original seat,tank,paint. Belt drive. New tires, clean carbs, (The original tires finally rotted out 2 years back.) Runs well and has been maintaind. Passed inspection. Located in New york. Let me know if anyone would be a buyer. Could help deliver Thanks! Title in hand

        1. Craigslist or the NYCVinmoto email list is probably your best bet. We don’t consign bikes here – and at the moment we are full up with builds for ourselves.

  5. I have a KZ440LTD that I rode for several years, and which now sits with other project bikes in need of some maintenance. I originally bought it for my wife to ride. She is 5’1″ and needed the already low seat lowered further, so I put a rear shock lowering kit on it (meant for a Kaw 750, but bolted right up); and dropped the triple tree down the forks an inch or so. The seat height is probably about 28-29 inches now. It is a great around town and commuter bike. It has a very comfortable seat, is light enough to handle easily, but has enough power and weight to be a stable ride at speed, and it is very easy to park and handle at low speed. A windshield and bags makes the KZ440 a very practical, comfortable, and fun motorcycle that is bulletproof.

    1. Sounds like you have that bike set up nice. Does your wife enjoy riding it after the mods? I’m 5’10” and even I would enjoy a 28-29″ seat height! 🙂

      1. She is no longer my wife but I kept the bike. She also only weighs 98lbs so beside being short she doesn’t have much upper body strength; so when the 440LTD seemed too heavy for her we got a Rebel 250. She rode it for a while but didn’t feel confident enough and actually preferred to ride with me on the back of my BMW K100RS. I would use the Kawasaki 440LTD (chain drive) for running errands around town. I will be selling the Rebel this summer but I plan to keep the 440LTD. I find it just the right size for around town and the ergonomics are very comfy – the riding position is not optimum for canyon carving, but it is excellent for comfort while sitting at a traffic light or cruising the slab. It has plenty of power if you aren’t racing and will hit 100mph without a problem. Mine has never given me any problems, but those chains are a bit noisy and may become a needed service not far down the road. I have several ‘intense’ motorcycles, and I like the KZ440LTD specifically because it ISN’T intense; but it is fun and practical which isn’t too bad at all.

  6. I have a 83 ltd440 d5. great little bike. enough power to get moving, but no so much it gets away from new riders. good fuel economy, great seat, handles awesome. plain jane looks, but not all of us are trying to be noticed every 10 seconds, some of us just like the ride. took me years to talk my buddy into selling it to me. now if i could only get him to sell me his kz650, been working on tht one for over a decade now. he rarely rides anything but his harley. final got him to say maybe this year. so who know, i could get the 650 too!!

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