My first guess would be corroded parts in the carbs, given the age. I'd look there, clean them up & see if the jets are clogged, the main jet in particular if WOT gets you only 60 mph. Make sure the slides aren't sticking & rubber parts aren't rotted. Also check the spark plugs, color can tell you about the jetting. Should be light tan to light brown. If they're eroded replace the plugs.
Could be the guidance system as well.
Some of the early eighties bikes around that size, just nudged 100, when new. Usually with a skinny light weight kid wearing leathers. After many years, a rider with more wind drag, you might get 90 or 92. The speedos lie. Check it with a GPS. I have my 83 400 cc Yamaha ready to compare the land speed trials.
Another possibility; the ignition advance could be stuck. With the cover off you should see it move when you blip the throttle. I haven't seen one for this bike, I just dug through some info I found online & this was mentioned. Bikebandit has parts & diagrams. I was a little curious because my cousin got this bike when it came out, I rode it & wanted one for years.
I restored a Kawasaki KZ440 LTD for a friend of mine for his birthday back in 2012. You can see it below in a photo from last week when I was visiting him down in Los Osos, California. I can absolutely assure you that those bikes will go 70 - 90 mph very easily. I've ridden that one that fast many times.
All of the above advice is sound. Just a basic but thorough tune-up should produce a fine-running machine.
Thanks again Juan! And Shredder! I find it interesting this bike was turned into a bobber by a Harley technician with 16 yrs experience and he was the one who said it won’t go more than 60. Wondering what he knows about the bike that I don’t?
Hi there, That is what I did when I got my Harley Sporty1200, It ran o.k. and better after I got a new battery in her. Then I got a REAL tune-up, Pulled carb and
had wrencher take apart and clean, rebuild of needed, new plugs, clean out air cleaner. Checked and found intake manifold leak, replaced gasket, anyways The bike ran and runs like a charm. What you should do if possible keep a log in book or on puter when oil and filter is changed, external in-line fuel filter, air cleaner. . .always do a pre-ride, keep tires up. . .
I grew up racing all forms of KZ models from age 12 on up. The KZ440 was a dream when i first got mine. I believe that wsas in the late 670sa. A KZ440 will easily do 80mph with a little throttle left. If yours stops or is red lined at 70 you have a mechanical issue or someone put a governor on the bike. Check your carburetor system & put hotter plugs in it.
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