Kawasaki Z

With the Z- series managed Kawasaki, to today to establish more of superbikes since the early 1970s on the market of heavy motorcycles. At the same time laying the foundation of a highly successful brand of the fourth major Japanese motorcycle brand besides Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha was laid. The manufacturer who, Nebraska produced initially in Japanese Akashi and later also in Lincoln, was thus able to make the leap away to be made instead of the original two-stroke engines and the English rather than copies of models four-strokes towards an all-round manufacturer with a particularly sporty and at the same time martial Image.

Model profile

Z 1 (internal Z900A1 )

After in 1972 the Z1 (originally " pilot 900 "), a pioneering been successful since they all could be a little better than the previous Star on two wheels, the Honda CB 750, Kawasaki set out to modify the model of success continuously. As initially formed Z1 A ( 1974), the Z1 B ( 1975), each with a more minor changes, such as other coating design, the color of the motor, the other side cover emblems and other more conservative changes, but now in inside and collector circles are controversial and very variously estimated. Naturally, the original model is the most searched in the series.

Z 900 (internal Z900A4 )

For the same price as the Z 1 came in 1976 with the Z 900 (internal Z900 A4) the successor to the market, in the far more different from the three previous models, as these among themselves. Thus the '76 model received a more stable frame, an enlarged and double front disc brake, other side cover, a differently shaped tail part, which also matched the revised rear light, redesigned gauges and much more. Of course, the paint design was significantly changed. The striking 4-in -4 exhaust system of the previous model was retained. With this exhaust system, each of the four cylinders introduced its waste gases through a separate exhaust pipe to the outside. She made for an impressive sound and also the powerful sight of the numerous chrome pipes may have contributed to the fascination exerted by this motorcycle.

Z 1000 (internal Z1000A1 and Z1000A2 )

In 1977, the series underwent significant changes again. The engine capacity increased by increasing the bore to 1009 cc, which then nominally 85 hp at 8000 rpm incurred (torque 80.4 Nm at 6500 rpm ). The classic four-pipe system accounted for and was replaced by a 4 -into-2 system. In addition, the bike now also received a disc brake at the rear. The Z 1000 (internal Z 1000 A1 ) and was quite successful and in the following year by the Z 1000/1978 (internal Z 1000 A2) has been replaced.

In addition to new enamel paint design changes, there were some minor modifications: To the front brake calipers were installed behind the fork tubes, a trapezoidal hand brake cylinder replaced the high round of the A1, the pattern of the seat reference was changed and there was a vacuum-controlled fuel tap, which automatically worked to a certain extent. In addition, the red area of the tachometer started now at 8500 rpm and ends at 11.000/min (A1: 9,000 - 12,000 rpm ). Although there have been in other markets the more rounded design longer, but in Germany ended with the Z 1000 A2 the era of big round Kawasaki Z series. The Z 1000 (A1 ) was (VAT incl. - Today corresponds to 10,700 euros ) in early 1977 for 9000 DM available.

Z 1000 Z1 -R (internal Z1000D )

Apart from the more original sounding Z models, Kawasaki but decided in the year 1977, a very sporty motorcycle acting to bring the Z1 -R (internal Z 1000D ) on the market. The model differed significantly from the previous. Instead of round shapes edges were now ubiquitous. The machine had a standard handlebar fixed small trim, a 18 -inch front wheel ( the previous and also the largest number of followers possessed always about a 19 to inch front wheel), a hydraulic dual front disc brake, but - unlike so far - a cable was run. In addition, a single exhaust pipe for every cylinder was only available with which Kawasaki obviously wanted to be the trend of the so-called 4-in -1 exhaust systems as well just as with the die-cast aluminum wheels that were also in vogue and replaced the used prior to the spoked wheels. In the first test, the model then disappointed surprising, because previously it was promptly elected to the Motorcycle of the Year 1977. Nevertheless, the Z1 -R was granted a fairly big success; Z purists, this model because of the many features rather from, however a lover range developed for the Z1 -R. From the Japanese manufacturer point of view, however, it was with the Z1 -R in terms of performance (although now 90 hp ) advised, but also with regard to the faulted when tested chassis weaknesses behind. Therefore, one mused afterwards to regain the top position established itself.

Z 1000 MKII (internal Z1000A3 and Z1000A4 )

With the Z 1000 MKII (internal Z1000A3 and Z1000A4 ) this succeeded. The model that was presented to the public in 1979, was again advised edgy, but possessed in addition to a new design again ( without casing ) once again has a two-pipe exhaust system. The engine also wore a starched Rest in a sales success. In parallel, a model that was completely dedicated to the touring rider fraction offered for the first time, with the Z 1000 ST = Shaft ( Z1000E1 and E2). Among other features, the vehicle ultimately distinguished significantly from the chain model Z1000 MKII, it was mainly the maintenance-free shaft drive which characterized ST. Relatively low load change reactions ( ie raising the vehicle during acceleration and dive during deceleration ) showed impressively how well the manufacturer of Akashi this throw was successful. After all was given at a time when the German manufacturer BMW 's nickname " rubber cow " the bikes because the bikes response to load change significant up-and -down movements made ​​, the big boat from Akashi was surprisingly quiet. Although the MKII and the ST itself looked very similar at first glance, they differed in an incredibly large number of mounted parts.

Z 1000 FI (internal Z1000H )

In 1980 there was a further step in the evolution to the Z 1000 FI (internal Z1000H ), which was characterized in addition to the paint, especially through the first time for use next injection system, with which the model - from today's perspective - his time was far ahead.

Z 1000 J (internal Z1000J1 -3)

Another step to adapt to the demands of the market was in 1981 offered Z 1000 J (internal Z1000J1 -3), which presented itself, but technically modified only careful with fresh design. But that produced up to 1983 J- model posed for the first time no longer represent the tip of the mark; Top model was since the year 1981, the GPZ 1100 ( internal Z1100B1 ), which seemed quite aggressive with their outfit available exclusively in red. In the GPZ 1100, the injection of the previous model Z 1000 was built FI further, but technical innovations such as an electronically driven speedometer were limited. Instead, aroused the instrument panel, which was mounted on the first square headlights, whether its size quite surreal associations. Here, the term " bread box " was one of the more harmless. Accordingly, in Kawasaki had relented and made with the model year 1982 with the GPZ 1100 ( Z1100B2 ) model a much smaller panel, which was also re- housed behind a small handlebar fairing fixed. The injection system was significantly modified, the aluminum wheels were just like the springs of the rear shock absorbers painted red and the last chrome was gone with the zeitgeist.

There were since 1981 again Kardanmodell what the tour operator should respond, the Z 1100 ST ( Z1100 A1 -3), the externally now but clearly differed from the chain driven models.

In addition, there was also this series again as a soft chopper model, as they were already mainly on the U.S. market since 1976 (as KZ900LTD ) available, had these vehicles, the trend, beginning in the 1980s, adopted a few features of the chopper without being able to even begin to actually follow the model.

Z 1000 R ( Z1000R2 )

In 1983, appeared on the U.S. and European markets the model Z 1000 R ( Z1000R2 ), which was a replica of the successful racing motorcycle from the U.S. Superbike series. In 1981, the American Eddie Lawson won the local AMA Superbike Championship with a prepared from the tuner Rob Muzzy Z 1000 J. In 1982, the KZ1000S1 as a pure racing machine in 1982 in parallel with the road version KZ1000R1 on the market. Kawasaki wanted to use the 1000R1 as a replica of the master machine Z1000J of 1981 the success for themselves on the street. Therefore, the R1 also got a sticker on the tank, which bore the signature Lawson and identified him as AMA Champion. The S1 in turn was a pure racing machine, which was built in a limited series of 30 copies and many technical features ( dual ignition, Alurundrohrschwinge with joist, larger oil cooler, etc. ) of the Championships machine took over in 1981 and virtually offered racing technology on sale since 1982, the last season the major engines with 1000 cm ³ was. The purchase price of the S1 shares was 10,990 U.S. dollars. Eddie Lawson won on the S1, the AMA Superbike Championship in 1982, and that was also the last year in which this championship was held with 1000 cc engines. 1983 joined the reduced displacement in force, and Wayne Rainey won the championship on GPZ750UT. The initially limited only to the U.S. market KZ 1000 R1 from 1982 was built with a circulation of about 1,100 copies. Among them were still about 200 pieces, sold as Z 1000 R1 in South Africa. Essential features of the Replica, which is called today in all series only " Eddie Lawson Replica " or simply " ELR " were the first used in a wide road Kawasaki house color "lime - green", an extremely aggressive -looking light green, the well-known fairing the GPZ 1100 B2, a graduated so cut bench that the driver sits literally in the motorcycle while the front passenger almost perched on a lookout tower, golden rims and just such a shock with reservoir. The Americans also designate only the first series as the ELR ( " Eddie Lawson Replica " ), while the 1983 models are simply called Superbike Replica.

From the second series, which was introduced in 1983 in almost all markets, exact numbers are unknown. However, since the chassis numbers are known by now about 6000 and originated from the first series about 1100 copies, the number of R2 models should be around 4900, but could also still vary upwards. Significant differences between the first and second series did not exist. However, the R2 in some markets was - only available in white, while she was in Germany, but also the USA exclusively available in green - such as in the UK. In some other markets, the customer could choose between two colors, such as in Italy, Switzerland, France and the Benelux countries. Today, the green version is the most widely searched tere variant without any doubt. From the green Z1000R 1983 originally 750 units were launched; the popularity of the motorcycle, however, led many 1000J were converted to R. Such a modification can be seen but easy on the chassis number, the ( KZT00R ) begins in contrast to the original with KZT00J.

Z 1100 R ( Z1100R1 )

In 1984, finally followed nor the Z 1100 R ( Z1100R1 ), which was in Europe (but not in the German market ) and offered in Canada. This had a 18-inch chassis (110 front, 130 rear) and as the Z 1000 R sold alternatively in Silver Blue Metallic in green and. The engine comes from the GPZ 1100 Unitrak, but with the 34 mm carburetors of 1000J / R instead of the injection system of the GPZ. The performance was indicated unthrottled with 114 hp. The number should be around 1300 copies.

Sister models and engine capacity variants

Also the Z - series includes the following models, some of which were never officially imported to Germany:

  • Z 200 (from 1977-1979 )
  • Z 250 (from 1980-1983)
  • Z 305 (1981)
  • Z 400 (from 1974-1983 )
  • Z 440 (from 1980-1985 )
  • Z 450 (from 1984-1989 )
  • Z 500 (from 1979-1983 )
  • Z 550 (from 1980-1997 )
  • Z 650 (from 1976-1983 )
  • Z 750 (from 1976-1989 ), also known as Z 750 Turbo
  • Z 1300 ( from 1980-1989 ) with the peculiarity of a water- cooled six -cylinder engine


The offered from 1983 GPZ series relied on the successful Z- models by the "Z" still wore prominently in the name and in some details the older sister quoted, eg in engine displacement and number of cylinders. Thus alleged Kawasaki GPZ 900 R with the GPZ 1000 RX and again the title of the fastest in their time series motorcycle in the world, already the first Z1 could chalk up. It also particularly powerful chopper variants were offered with the GPZ engines that carried the symbol " ZL " (500, 600, 900 and 1000).

From 1988, followed sporty, fully enclosed series with the abbreviations " ZX ", " ZXR " (1989) and " ZZR " (1990).

The retro fashion in the late 1980s Kawasaki moved to also bring in 1989 the Zephyr series in a clear style similar to the original Z- series design on the market. It comprised in Germany with models 550, 750 and 1100 cc capacity, which were sold for about ten years. In Japan there is still a Zephyr X 400, which carries the tank decor of the first Z1 and features a four-in -one exhaust system.

As of 1996, followed unfaired motorcycles in more modern design with the traditional " Z": the ZRX 1100 and from 1997, the " ZR -7".

Since 2002, Kawasaki is once again building a 1000 "Naked Bike" under the legendary original symbol " Z1000 ", but in a citing only in very few details, the original design, see Kawasaki Z1000. This is since 2004 also available in a version with 750 cc.