In the late 1960s and early 1970s when two-stroke street motorcycles were the quickest machines on the streets, the big four-stroke muscle bikes were coming on the market and taking over.
Here’s a look at some fun facts about the Kawasaki Z1 900 and what made the bike great.
1. The Kawasaki Z1 was developed under the project name “New York Steak.”
2. It originally was supposed to be a 750, but Honda released its 750cc four-cylinder in 1968 so Kawasaki decided to beef up the Z1 to 900cc.
3. Production began in 1972. It boasted a 903cc, air-cooled, dual-overhead-cam inline-four engine and no-nonsense styling.
4. The bike produced a claimed 82 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and had a claimed top speed of 130 mph-plus.
5. It was quickly dubbed “The King" by the motorcycling press.
6. The Society of Automotive Engineers in Japan includes the 1972 Z1 as one of their “240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology.”
7. About 85,000 units were manufactured during its production run from 1972 to 1975. It was replaced by the KZ900 in 1976.
8. Macfarlane Studios in California built the original design in 1968-69.
9. The original designed looked like a BSA Rocket 3 and was scrapped.
10. The ultimate styling design with a curving gas tank and tail section, as well as the burgundy and orange paint, proved to be a winner.