Kawasaki Z1/Z900 – PDF Download


5 Page – PDF Download – Complete Article- Kawasaki Z1/Z900

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5 Page – PDF Download – Complete Article- Kawasaki Z1/Z900

Modern Rarities – Kawasaki Z1/Z900

Even more desirable than the first Honda-4? The Z1 has a charisma unmatched by any other seventies motorcycle… and Rosie Marston is well qualified to say so – she owns one.

Kawasaki’s Z1 is one of THE collectable bikes from the 1970s and one with a particularly well-documented history. However, ‘more’ has not meant ‘accurate’ in my research for this feature. Some of the contradictions I unearthed even relate to Kawasaki’s own information!

Sam Holt, chairman of the newly-formed Z1 Owners Club confirmed this when he told me he is continually finding previously unknown information about the model.

Anomalies may also exist between models destined for different countries but, as with previous ‘Modern rarity’ features, I have concentrated mainly on UK specification models with mention of foreign markets as appropriate.


The Z1 story goes back over 20 years to 1967 when Kawasaki decided to produce a large capacity touring machine to be faster and more powerful than any other mass-produced motorcycle.

Using a 750cc four-cylinder across-the-frame engine with twin overhead camshafts, the secret project ‘Super-4’ was codenamed ‘New York Steak’.

Later that same year, engineers at Kawasaki Akashi works were already working on wooden mock-ups, finalising details and preparing for the launch of this earth-shattering motorcycle.

In 1968 work on the Super-4 came to a halt when Honda unveiled their new masterpiece, the across-the-frame CB750/4. Undaunted, Kawasaki pressed on and used the Honda as a market research vehicle, monitoring the CB750/4’s progress to modify their own 750. Not surprisingly, Kawasaki’s first modification was to increase the capacity – if their machine couldn’t be the first, it was definitely going to be the biggest.

The prototype was ready in Spring, 1970 and undergoing tests at the Yatabe Circuit near Tokyo the following year. Recorded speeds of 140mph and 95bhp were encouraging but teething problems were encountered. Internally there were problems with the pistons and the oil breather insisted on spraying oil everywhere… ”

5 Page – PDF Download – Complete Article- Kawasaki Z1/Z900

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