’79 Kawasaki KZ750 Twin
Talk about flying under the radar, I don’t think you can get any further under than with a KZ750 Twin. As someone once wrote about the twin, “it’s the stepchild of the Kawasaki lineup”. Sad, but accurate. The 750 Twin is a very good motorcycle, more like the Rodney Dangerfield of Kawasaki’s line, “it don’t get no respect”. Most people have never heard of the KZ750 twin much less seen one, yet it was in the showrooms for seven years in one version or another. Kawasaki must have sold quite a few of them but where are they? They’re hiding in garages around the country waiting for people like me to sing their songs and tell their stories…and maybe convince somebody to go out and buy one.
The KZ750 came out at a time when Kawasaki had put the 2 stroke street rockets to sleep and building the 4 stroke inline four powerhouses. So why a relatively sleepy twin? The Triumph twin was still selling well, the Yamaha XS650 was a moderate success, and it seemed to Big Green that riders still wanted a simple, easy to maintain, reliable ride. They hit the nail right on the head with the KZ750. Not flashy, but not too traditional looking, comfortable, decent handling, and easy to maintain…only two cylinders and two carbs to tune. The KZ was a little porky at around 500 pounds, but it’s 55HP motor would get you anywhere you wanted to go quickly and easily enough. Fully loaded for traveling up and over mountain passes were no problem for the twin. Decent gas mileage and a somewhat smooth motor, for a twin, made for a decent ride.
Through the ’70s and ’80s I was a big time Kawasaki fan. I owned a 750 triple, a GPz1100 and raced a GPz550 and loved them all…I loved about as much as I loved my Triumphs! I rode a couple of KZ750’s, before they became the CSR750 cruiser, and really didn’t think all that much about them…back to the Rodney Dangerfield image. They were Ok, but that was it…no real personality. The KZ didn’t have the history of the Triumph nor the feel of the Yamaha but it was a nice motorcycle. Nobody ever wants to be called ‘nice’. Especially a motorcyclist or his bike!!
There is a lot that you can do with a KZ750, under the radar. The motorcycle aftermarket never embraced the lowly KZ, (that happens to all stepkids…), but there are many 750 twin enthusiasts out there that love sharing what they have done to help inspire you to make yourself and your stepchild stand out from the crowd. Cafe racers, street trackers, even touring riders all have good ideas for this poor misunderstood and unloved motorcycle.
So, this morning while not drinking my English Breakfast Tea, I came across this very nice, super low mileage KZ750 Twin. I remembered riding a couple of them in decades gone by, but I also remembered one I rode back in 2000 that was no ordinary KZ750. The big stock mufflers were gone (nice looking but truly stifling) replaced with a set of Dunstall replica mufflers that not only looked great but let the bike sound like a good vertical twin should, the carbs had been changed out and some suspension work had been done. It was a totally different motorcycle, but it was the same…I loved it.
Back to the bike on ebay. This is a really good bike at what should be an incredible value. This KZ has lees than 1000 miles on the odometer, new by pretty much anybody’s standards, a handy rack on the back and, if you are going to tour on it two up, a comfy ‘King and Queen’ seat…junk the seat as fast as you can !!! This is a great bike if you want a rock solid, reliable, good handling, easy to live with motorcycle. And…you’ll have money left over to make it the motorcycle you really want. Click on the pictures below for more pictures and a little more info. The Kawasaki KZ750 Twin is, in my book, one of the most under rated and under valued motorcycles ever built. Grab it while you can. It is the next cult bike.