1973 Kawasaki Z1
Years back a couple of friends and I seemed to be having an ego competition that centered around motorcycles. It started with my friend Eddie, I had my Bultaco Matador, he bought a Yamaha DT1 250 because it was faster. The Gaunlet had been thrown.
After a few months of looking at his taillight I relegated the Bultaco to racing only and bought a Honda SL350. Hah! now who’s laughing? Yes, I still had my BSA650 but that wouldn’t have been a fair fight. Fast forward a bit and Eddie shows up in my driveway on a new Honda CB500/4. OK, the gloves come off. Bring out the BSA Lightning. I really got tired of looking at that Honda tail light.
Lurking in the shadows was my friend Mike K. He bought a used Yamaha XS650 from a relative (word to the wise, never do that) and now he was the king.
One day while buying parts for my BSA at the local dealer I set my eyes on a beautiful Kawasaki H2 750 triple. The fastest bike in the world! The next day I traded my BSA 650 in on the Kawasaki. Now, I was definitely the king among my riding friends. Until, the Z1.
Mike was always the kind of guy that had to be one up. He had the best car, the prettiest girlfriend and made really good money despite barely graduating from high school. As Eddie, Beny, and myself were getting ready for our regular Sunday morning ride and waiting for Mike (as usual), he shows up on a brand spanking new Kawasaki Z1. God, what a beautiful motorcycle. Those have to be the best looking exhaust pipes of that era. The metallic RootBeer and Orange paint…truly stunning. At that moment I realized Mike was yet again King.
Mike was really good about letting me ride his Z1 anytime I wanted and I gotta say I took advantage of that offer pretty often. What a motorcycle. He, Beny and myself took a week long road trip and I had the opportunity to spend hours on the Mighty Z…an incredible motorcycle.
The Z1 was originally designed to be an inline 4 cylinder 750cc machine. However, Honda beat them to the punch with the CB750 in 1969. Back to the drawing boards. “Lets make it bigger better and faster” Kawasaki upped it to 903cc, made the chassis better (not all that much though). It was pumped up to 82 HP, had a top speed a bit north of 130mph. Now, it was a bit on the porky side a bit over 500 lbs dry but you know what, it was lighter handling than CB750.
The Z1 truly found it’s home in drag racing. I thought my H2 was fast, the Z1 had no problem having me eating it’s dust. I found a project Z1 bike on ebay this morning that you have to have had some sort of football head injury to want. A vintage Kawasaki Z1 Drag Bike…in pieces.
This conglomeration of parts includes everything you would need to get down the 1/4 mile before you could even take a breath…wheelie bars and all. The motor is fully built, the bike just needs some detail work and your own personal touches. Oh yeah, and you have to put it together.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. If you want to drag race older motorcycles, this is the bike for you.