Looking Back – Kawasaki Z1

kawasaki Z1Kawasaki’s Z1 was released in 1973 and stunned with its combination of power, looks and its – high tech at the time – engine. The Z1’s four cylinder, 903cc engine had twin camshafts, unlike Honda’s single cammed 750 four, and produced a maximum of 82bhp to give the Kawasaki a top speed of over  210kph (130mph). Its straight-line performance outclassed that of the Honda, whose launch in 1969 had caused Kawasaki to revise their Z1 project which had originally been designed as a 750.

With its ducktail rear, the swoopy tank shape, chrome ducktail rear guard, and blacked-out engine, the Z1 made the 4 year old 750 Honda design look dated. The “King” as it was nicknamed, quickly became “the” superbike, an era which lasted nearly the rest of the 70s for the big Kwaka.

Various updates showed on subsequent models, but the basic engine and shape lasted right thru till 1978 with the Z1000, which by then had grown 100cc, sprouted twin discs on  the front, a disc rear, and a  four into 2 pipe replacing the classic “4 megaphone” look from the original.

Many consider the Z1 the first real “superbike”.


Model Kawasaki Z1
Capacity 903cc (55.1 cucic inches)
Engine Type 4-stroke, DOHC in-line four, 2 valves per cylinder
Power 82.00 HP (60 kW)) @ 8500 RPM
Torque 53.0 ft lbs @ 7000 rpm
Gearbox 5-speed
Weight Wet: 247.0 kg (544.5 pounds) 
Seat Height N/A
Front Brakes Single Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Power to Weight 0.33 hp per kg













Kawasaki instruments Z1

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