When you're buying parts for your pride and joy, knowing the part number, and understanding how the part numbers work can really help. You'll avoid expensive mistakes (been there...) and it'll open up the possibility of finding the part you want at a good price listed for another machine.
1. Know Which Bike You've Got.
It may sound daft, but make sure you know exactly which bike you've got. Not just the model, but the sub-model and year of manufacture (not registration). This applies even more so to imports, grey or otherwise.
Kawasaki have a habit of changing the parts used between sub-models of bikes, so just knowing "It's a ZZR600" may not be enough. You want to know "It's a ZX600 D1, 1992". Believe me, the D1 has a variety of differences which mean parts from earlier or later versions may not fit. Some will, some won't.
2. Find out the part number you are after.
If you can get a copy of the fiche for your bike, that's the ideal. Only worth doing if you plan to keep it for years and years, or you can get it free ! You can also ring your local dealer. Many of them (especially the smaller ones) are very helpful, although it helps if you've spent a bit of money with them !
There are also a few websites which list the part numbers. Sadly, ebay rules prevent me giving the link for the one I use. It's an official US Kawasaki site through which you can order parts (at full expensive prices !), so ebay consider it a competing venue. But if you can work out which site I mean (put the word "buykawasaki" between the normal start and end bits...), it's an absolute goldmine of information !
3. Use ebay's Search Engine Effectively
When you search for your part, there are a couple of things you can do to optimise how you use the ebay search engine. You probably know them already, but just in case....
- Search in text as well as descriptions, and put in the part number you want. Kawasaki used the same parts over and over again, on all kinds of different models. They used the same front brake master cylinder from 1984 on at least 80 different models (mostly mid-range sports machines), and are still using it now. A reasonable number of sellers of NOS items and genuine new parts will list the part number in their description.
- Find out which other models your part fits. It's likely if you've got a 2003 ZX9, that someone selling the part for an old GPX750 will list it cheaper !
4. How the part numbers work
Kawasaki part numbers consist of two sets of numbers;
- First, 5 digits to indicate the function.
- Second, 3 or 4 digits which are pretty random but in some kind of chronological order. EG a brake lever for my 1978 Z650 is 46092-1002; part 46092-1117 is a brake lever fitting about a dozen models starting in 1984.
Note that just occasionally, the digits indicating the function will change. This generally only happens when you go from some of the very oldest models, or when a part changes significantly (for example, levers with the adjusting dial are generally 13236-something). There doesn't seem to be any kind of sequence to the numbering system for function that I've been able to determine !
I won't list all the different function numbers; it'd probably bore you to tears ! One thing to be aware of is that (unlike, say, Honda), Kawasaki don't indicate in their part numbers which models it will fit. This allows them to use the same part for lots of models without confusing matters. Honda give a part a model designation and then use it on a variety of machines anyway, which I find extremely confusing !
Kawasaki part numbers are usually very clearly labelled; the picture below will give you an idea of the kind of label they use;
Hopefully this little guide is helpful to you ! I normally carry a small stock of NOS (New Old Stock) parts in my shop;