’81 Kawasaki KZ1100
I’ve written and spoken before about motorcycles that are under appreciated and, once in a while, undervalued, this big Kawasaki is one of them. Kawasaki built its reputation on high performance bikes..the 350cc Avenger, the ‘holy crap’ H1 500, the ‘oh my god I’m gonna die’ H2 750 and, the mighty Z1, but really Kawasaki’s strength was…Kawasakis’ strength. The corporate name is ‘Kawasaki Heavy Industries’. They have built locomotives, steamships and, very fast motorcycles. Building things that go forward, have a lot of power and last, seem to be a Kawasaki heritage.
In the early ’80’s I worked at a Kawasaki dealership and was the lucky recipient of a couple of Kawasaki 1100 demo bikes; a GPz and a standard KZ1100. Being a racer, I loved the big GPz, being a traveller as well as a racer…I loved the standard KZ. Tons of power, good handling (for its size and purpose), a shaft drive and, very comfortable… what wasn’t to like in the KZ?? It really was/is a fantastic motorcycle. I still travel a lot and a large portion of that is two up, the KZ1100 is a perfect touring partner. “Smoother, faster and lighter than its predecessor, the KZ1100 shaft is a big brute of a touring bike” so says Cycle World magazine. The more I think about this motorcycle, the more good memories that keep coming to mind.
I found this one ebay and it’s a beauty. Low miles, good condition and recently all nicely serviced by a great shop in the Bay Area…maybe worth a trip up north?? This might be one of those “uh, honey…I’ve got a business trip this week…why am I hooking up the trailer?? um, well, um…gotta go, see you in a couple of days….love you…”
If you are looking for a touring sled that handles good, is plenty fast, won’t cause you any headaches and, best of all, won’t break the bank in any respect give this KZ1100 a good look. It looks good in purple I think. Click on the pictures below for more info and more pictures. This is a very good buy!