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Kawasaki Kz1000

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1977 Kawasaki Z1000 exhibited at classic car show in 2014
Parent companyKawasaki Heavy Industries
PredecessorKawasaki Z1
Engine1,015 cc (61.9 cu in) 1977-1981
998 cc (60.9 cu in) 1981-2005 4 stroke DOHC air cooled Inline 4,
Bore / stroke70 mm / 69.4 mm × 66 mm (2.76 in / 2.73 in × 2.60 in)
Compression ratio8.7:1
Top speed132 mph (212 km/h)[1]
Power83 hp (62 kW) @ 8,000 rpm (1977), 90 hp (67 kW)(1978)[2]
Wheelbase1,505 mm (59.3 in)
DimensionsL: 2,210 mm (87 in)
W: 880 mm (35 in)
H: 1,200 mm (47 in)
Weight245.5 kg (541 lb)[1] (dry)
563 lb (255 kg)(½ tank)[1] (wet)
Fuel capacity16.7 L (4.4 US gal)
Fuel consumption45 mpg‑US (5.2 L/100 km)[1]
Turning radius2.4 m (7.9 ft)
RelatedZ 1000 Z1- R

The Kawasaki Kz1000 or Z1000 is a motorcycle made in Japan by Kawasaki, manufacturing commenced in September 1976 for the 1977 model year. The Z1000A1 was an upgraded model to replace the 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 (Z900), which in turn replaced the Z1 launched in 1972 in the Z series.[3] It has an inline-four cylinder engine and a 5-speed transmission, in a 'one down and four up' configuration. Producing about 90 hp, it was one of the fastest production motorcycles of the era.[1] The police model continued in production until 2005.

Model differences[edit]

Some of the significant differences between the KZ900 and the KZ1000 include that the 1000 has a heavier crankshaft for less engine vibration, smoother acceleration and a larger displacement as a result of increasing the cylinder bore from 66mm to 70mm. The 1000 received a rear disc brake. There were various configurations of specifications and assembly, such as having the choice between chain-drive and shaft-drive. The cruiser version LTD was assembled in Nebraska and sold in the United States and Canada.

Kawasaki swapped the traditional 4-4 exhaust (available on Z1 and KZ900) for the 4-2 Jardine exhaust (which came standard on the KZ900B) on the LTD and quiet and restrictive muffler on the 1000 A1 and A2 as shown in the top photo in this article. The KZ1000 came with either a chain drive or shaft drive in 1979 and 1980 named ST and SHAFT, KZ1000E1 and E2. The frame on the KZ1000 was a conventional featherbed (duplex cradle) design, but was not significantly changed in over 30 years of production in terms of basic geometry. There were changes to frame construction with the use of thicker frame tubes in the MkII models (1979/80) to improve frame rigidity.

The 1980 Kawasaki Z1000H was the first mass-produced fuel-injected motorcycle in the world and also Kawasaki's first fuel injected motorcycle. It was based on the KZ1000A3/A4 Mk.II frame and body work, with a unique black/gold/white colour scheme and gold mag wheels .[4] There were only 1000 examples of the Z1000H made for the global market. The Z1000H was manufactured for 3 months only, during March/April/May of 1980 and was a test-bed for the incoming new 1981 fuel-injected model, the GPz1100B1.

In the US market, the Z1000G "Z-1 Classic", based on the LTD frame and body work, also featured the same fuel injection system used on the Z1000H.

The 1981 Kawasaki Z1000J debuted with Kawasaki's new "J" motor with displacement down to 998 cc (60.9 cu in) the drop in displacement from 1015cc to 998cc was in order to comply with the new rule for superbike racing-which stipulated a maximum of 1000cc..[5]

For the 1982 model year, Kawasaki introduced the KZ1000R1 Eddie Lawson Replica (ELR); based on the KZ1000J2. The 1983 model was designated KZ1000R2 with cams and a cylinder head from the 1982 GPz1100B2, boosted power from 102 to 104 at 8500 rpm. The bike had a limited run of 750, and was named after the Eddie Lawson 1981-1982 Superbike. It had a claimed 59 kW (79 hp) rear wheel HP @ 8,500rpm and 246.5 kg (543.5 lb) dry.[5]

Aside from the 1982-2005 KZ1000P Police motorcycle, the model was discontinued in 1984, in favor of Kawasaki's liquid-cooled bike, the Ninja GPZ900R.[5]

Wheels and tyres[edit]

The Kz1000P (police) has 18 inch cast wheels with Dunlop run-flat tires. The front tire is size MN90-18, and the back tire is size MR90-18.


The KZ1000 had optional dealer installed Windjammer brand fairing, saddle bags, sissy bar and highway bars. Highway bars were also used for comfort on long trips and sometimes held additional lighting.

Z1000 Z1-R[edit]

Kawasaki Z1-R
ManufacturerKawasaki Motorcycle & Engine Company
Parent companyKawasaki Heavy Industries
ClassStandard (muscle bike)
EngineDOHC 1,015 cc (61.9 cu in) air-cooled, inline-four
Bore / stroke69.4 mm × 66 mm (2.73 in × 2.60 in)
Compression ratio8.7:1
Top speed132 mph (212 km/h)[6]
Power90 hp (67 kW) (claimed) @ 8,000 rpm[6]
TransmissionWet clutch, 5-speed, chain
Frame typeDouble tubular steel cradle
SuspensionFront 36 mmTelescopic hydraulics forks
Rear Dual shocks, swinging arm,
BrakesFront2x 296mm discs
Rear Single 290mm disc
Rake, trail26°
Weight541 lb (245 kg)[6] (dry)
Fuel capacity13 L; 2.8 imp gal (3.4 US gal)
Fuel consumption5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg‑imp (45 mpg‑US)
RelatedZ1000 MKII

The Kawasaki Z1000 Z1-R is a Japanese motorcycle from Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Styling characteristics are the front fairing, black engine finish, the 4-into-1 factory exhaust system and cast wheels.


Following the success of the original Z1000, Kawasaki developed the "Z1-R" as a new top model that would set standards in design and performance. This emphasized motorcycle with a fixed half-shell fairing was only available with a metallic stardust silver paint. Although the design was well received from the potential buyers, sales remained unsatisfactory after tests in motorcycle magazines. They criticized the poor engine performance and the small fuel tank.[7]

Readers of the German Motorrad magazine selected the Z1-R as their Motorcycle of the Year for 1977.[7][dubiousdiscuss]


The Z1-R was introduced for the 1978 model year, the same year as the Yamaha XS11, the Suzuki GS1000, and the Honda CBX. Magazine tests showed all three competing bikes to be quicker in the [|quarter mile] performance test. In response, the company quickly introduced the semi-production, turbocharged Z1R-TC.[8][9]

Police use[edit]

The KZ1000C and KZ1000P were police sub-models. The KZ1000C was based on the 1977-1980 KZ1000 (KZ1000 C1-C4 from 1978-1981) while the KZ1000P (KZ1000P1-P24 from 1982-2005) was based on the "J" model. They had a number of technical problems, including electromagnetic interference between some radios that caused problems for the ignition system.[citation needed] In addition, the combined set of equipment mounted at the rear (and particularly the placement of the radio on the rear rack) caused high-speed handling difficulties.[citation needed]. That said, with a relatively light weight, comfortable seat, good cornering clearance and powerful engine, it remained so popular for the police market that it remained in production until 2005.


Moriwaki Kawasaki Z1000 ridden by Wayne Gardner in the 1981 Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race

The Z1000 was successfully raced in European, Australian, American and British Superbike racing. A KZ1000 ridden by Reg Pridmore won the AMA Superbike Championship in 1977 and 1978.[10] Pops Yoshimura first began to make his reputation in the mid-1970s by fielding fast, reliable Kawasaki KZ1000s in the AMA Superbike championships.[11] Kawasaki Z1000s tuned by Mamoru Moriwaki were successfully raced in the Australian Superbike championships in the late 1970s by New Zealander Graeme Crosby.[12] John Cowie riding a Z1000 for the Pecket & McNab team, won the 1978 British ACU Formula One championship for production bikes.[13][14] Freddie Spencer rode a KZ1000 during the 1979 AMA Superbike Championship, winning two races and finishing third in the final championship points standings.[15] Wayne Gardner and co-rider John Pace qualified their Moriwaki-Kawasaki Z1000 on pole position at the prestigious 1981 Suzuka 8 Hours, ahead of all the major factory racing teams.[16] Also in 1981, Eddie Lawson won the AMA Superbike Championship for Kawasaki on a factory-backed KZ1000S1.[3]

Film and TV appearances[edit]

The KZ1000C was ridden by California Highway Patrol officers Ponch and Jon of the 1977–1984 TV show CHiPs. It was also in the anime television series Great Teacher Onizuka, and ridden by Keanu Reeves in the film Chain Reaction. Fourteen of the motorcycles in Mad Max (1979) were Z1000s. The bikes were donated by a local Kawasaki dealer and modified in appearance by Melbourne business La Parisienne; one as a police bike ridden by 'The Goose', and thirteen for members of the Toecutter's gang, played by a real motorcycle club called the Vigilantes. The KZ1000P appeared in the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


  1. ^ a b c d e Robert Smith (November–December 2009). "Kawasaki Kz1000 Z1-R". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  2. ^ Ker, Rod (2007), Classic Japanese Motorcycle Guide, Sparkford, UK: Haynes Publishing, pp. 126–127, ISBN 978-1-84425-335-7
  3. ^ a b "40 years of Kawasaki's 'Z' sleds". iol.co.za. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  4. ^ Watson, Tim (October 26, 2013). "33 Years Ago: Motorcycle Fuel-Injection". Ride. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ a b c Siegal, Margie (January–February 2007). "Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Smith, Robert (December 2009). "Kawasaki Z1-R: Into the R Zone". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Thomas Schmieder (2010-01-21). "Vorgänger der Kawasaki Z 1000" (in German). Motorrad. Archived from the original on 2016-08-23. Retrieved 2016-07-06. Kantig mit Gussrädern und Cockpitverkleidung: Zur Z 1000 kommt die sportliche Z1-R dazu, "Motorrad des Jahres" 1977.
  8. ^ Smith, Robert (January 2013). "1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC: Turbo Power". Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  9. ^ Cormier, Jason. "Kawasaki Z1R-TC - The Psycho Turbo Z". www.odd-bike.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Reg Pridmore at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame". motorcyclemuseum.org. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Pops Yoshimura at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame". motorcyclemuseum.org. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Wayne Gardner's 1980 Moriwaki Kawasaki". ma.org.au. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Peckett and McNab, a brief history". f1network.net. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  14. ^ "British Motorcycle Champions - 1970s and 1980s". Retrieved 1 February 2016 – via PressReader.
  15. ^ "Freddie Spencer at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame". motorcyclemuseum.org. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  16. ^ "1981 Suzuka 8 Hours qualifying results". motoracing-japan.com. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2016.