The Kawasaki Z's  

 

The Kawasaki Z1 was developed in strict secrecy under the project name "New York Steak". In the late 1960s Kawasaki, already an established manufacturer of two-stroke motorcycles, decided to make a 750 cc four-cylinder four-stroke sports motorcycle (they even had an appearance prototype designed by McFarlane Design in 1969),but they were beaten to the marketplace by the Honda CB750. This postponed the Z1's release until its displacement could be upped to 903 cc and sold as a 1000cc-class machine.

 

Production began in 1972; at the time it was the most powerful Japanese 4-cylinder 4-stroke ever built.The Z1 had full instrumentation and an electric start, produced 82 bhp and had a maximum speed of 130 mph. It met with very positive reviews from the motorcycle press, who praised its smoothness, damped vibration, easy-starting (kick-start and electric were both available), straight-line stability and linear acceleration. Steering was accurate and the bike handled well, but testers said the rear tire, chain and rear shocks all wore out quickly.

 

The Z1 was awarded the MCN 'Machine of the Year' accolade for four years running between 1973 to 1976 (an award resulting from a readers' opinion-poll run by UK weekly publication Motorcycle News) The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan includes the 1972 Z1 as one of their 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology.

 

This was followed by the Z1A, the Z1B and then the Z900, Z1000 and the Z650, all lovely practical reliable bikes. These are some of the most stunning bikes ever made by the Japanese, gorgeous to look at fun to ride and they sound great !

 

 

 

Z1

82bhp  230kg  130mph  12.6std1/4

Z900

81bhp  230kg  130mph  12.7std1/4

Z1A

82bhp  230kg  130mph  12.6std1/4

Z1000

83bhp  240kg  130mph  12.6std1/4

Z1B

82bhp  250kg  130mph  12.8std1/4

Z650

64bhp  222kg  120mph  13.0std1/4

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