1978 Kawasaki Z1/R TC Turbo for Sale

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo R Front

Look, safety is great, and technology is amazing: it keeps us from flying ass-over-helmet into a ditch when our ambitions overreach our skill, and modern bikes pushing 200bhp surely need some kind of rider-assistance. But we’re obsessed today by basically pointless numbers: with performance of modern bikes so far beyond the average or even skilled rider’s ability, abstractions like quarter miles, Nürburgring lap times, and horsepower numbers become our only yardsticks.

But unless you really are competitive in some form of club racing, it’s really all just bragging rights. What I think we’re all really looking for is the sensation of speed, the thrill of motorcycling, and sometimes the best way to feel that is through something not so perfect.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Dash

That’s the reason bikes like the Kawasaki Z1R TC are sorely missed.

Wild and wooly, unrefined and possibly even dangerous, the Kawi is from an experimental time in motorcycling, where some slightly unfinished ideas got unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Originally, the bike was a bit of an improvised stopgap, a way to shift slow-selling Z1R’s, a bike at the end of its production life. The whole package would give Kawasaki’s attorneys nightmares in today’s litigious culture: the turbo kit was simply bolted on to an otherwise stock engine, along with a boost gauge, “TC” badges, a liability waiver, and instructions not to tamper with the wastegate and increase boost.

Right, because no one would ever do that….

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Engine

This particular example looks to be in good shape, but the owner doesn’t seem to know all that much about the bike’s history.

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1/R TC Turbo for Sale

I am not an expert but I would say that this bike has oiginal paint and has never had anything done to it other than a tune-up.

*** Had a call from a guy in Florida aho says that the exhausts are not original *** He sounded like he knew what he was talking about, so just passing it along.

I bought in about 8 years ago from a dealer in St. Louis .  If these miles are not correct, the bike certainly has very low miles.  I rode it one time for about 3 miles, and yes it’s very fast! I have a 2012 VMAX, this bike is very fast! Different, but comparible.

I am listing it today and I will clean the carbs and put a new battery in her this weekend – It will be sold in running condition even if i have to re-list it to get it right.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Headers

In its day, the bike was a handful: the power easily exceeded the chassis’ handling limits and the rev limiter-less engine was basically an explosive device disguised as a powerplant… So it was expensive, dangerous, and fragile, but it did the job and gave Kawasaki some performance credibility while they developed the all-new GPz1100.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Side Panel

Bidding is very active and already up to $11,000 with the reserve not yet met. Look, for a day-in, day-out ride, maybe something this raw and finicky isn’t your best bet. I’m hoping my next daily rider has ABS, TCS, and a whole bunch of other acronyms on the spec sheet. But for pure giggles, this kind of point-and-squirt motorcycle really can’t be beat.

-tad

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo R Rear

 

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1 Response

  1. Jess says:

    The seller must have a thing for notorious, fast bikes. I believe that is a 1st generation Kawasaki H2 750 lurking in the back round.

    Great description! “Wild and wooly, unrefined and possibly even dangerous, the Kawi is from an experimental time in motorcycling, where some slightly unfinished ideas got unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Originally, the bike was a bit of an improvised stopgap, a way to shift slow-selling Z1R’s, a bike at the end of its production life. The whole package would give Kawasaki’s attorneys nightmares in today’s litigious culture: the turbo kit was simply bolted on to an otherwise stock engine, along with a boost gauge, “TC” badges, a liability waiver, and instructions not to tamper with the wastegate and increase boost . . . ..Right, because no one would ever do that…”.