Muscular Survivor: 1975 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale

1975 Kawasaki Z1 L Front

Café racer-style conversions often result in bikes with more style than actual function: below-the-triple clamp clip on bars look really cool but they’re murder on the rider. Rearsets can be cramped, and those thin seats don’t have very much padding… So, if you’re looking for a classic ride that’s more accommodating for your, uh… classic joints, then maybe a “musclebike” like Kawasaki’s Z1 is really more your speed. And with the return of bikes like Yamaha’s XJR1300 to the US, your choice could even be considered “trendy…”

1975 Kawasaki Z1 L Side

With an upright riding position, wide bars, and a smooth, torquey inline-four, hot-rods like the Z1 set the standard for performance in the 1970’s. While the owners of European motorcycles had to make do with abstract qualities like “handling” and “brakes”, the big four-cylinder bikes from Japan had it where it really counted on the straight-line streets of America. Something you could easily measure with a stopwatch, or in tire-smoke as you pulled away from every stoplight on a Friday night.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Gauges

Introduced in 1973, the Z1 might seem like a belated response to Honda’s CB750, but it was in fact developed concurrently. But when Honda’s bike was first to market, Kawasaki went back to the drawing board, and took a page from the Hot Rod Handbook, deciding that there was no replacement for displacement: the Z1’s 750 was punched out to 903cc’s, made 82hp, and could reach a top speed of 130mph.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 R Side

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale

This Z1 has low original miles of 18,381 and is in superb running condition.  Lights, turn signals etc., are in good functioning order.
This is a remarkable original factory numbers matching bike, with some light restoration to round it out.  The original factory paint is nice and glossy and has only minor stone chips in the left underside of the tank. Much of the rear wheel was restored with fresh chroming of tire rim and correct new brass nippled spokes.

New sprocket tire and chain were added as well.
The exhaust has factory stamping but the left upper exhaust pipe is a DOREMI.
The valve cover has been polished not chromed the rear fender and front fender were disassembled and re-chromed as new!
The seat is a new reproduction seat and pretty much that and the one pipe are the only reproduction parts on this Z1
No surprises here just and honest original survivor nothing has been repainted!

Unfortunately, the Kawi’s appliance-like reliability meant that riders didn’t need to cherish them, and they didn’t inspire the kind of devoted care that the more idiosyncratic European brands enjoyed. With no need to join the Cult of Desmo or learn the Mysteries of the Isolastic, riders were free to use and abuse their bikes to their heart’s content, stopping only to top off with gas and replace rear tires. Eventually, many of them ended up with an accidental Mad Max aesthetic before they were parked up and discarded.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 R Pipes

Now, as interest in bikes of this era increases, nice examples are very rapidly escalating in value. Not long ago, you could pick up decent Z1’s for a song, but those days are gone and even basket-cases are commanding real money. This bike certainly isn’t perfect, but represents what many buyers want to see: a bit of period patina with a light refresh.

So buy it and ride it, or park it up and fire up GoogleTranslate and head over to the Sanctuary website for some exotic resto-mod parts! Bidding is very active with very little time left, so jump in quick!

-tad

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Front Detail

 

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    Another very viable option is to find a ’91 to ’93 Kawasaki Zephyr they came in 550, 750, and 1100 cc’s.These were Kawasaki’s homage to the Z1 bikes. The styling is very good, the suspension, frame and brakes are much better. I have a ’91 750 and its a great bike! All three engine sizes are still relatively cheap. Frankly I don’t understand why these bikes haven’t become more popular. The 1100 variant is basically a Z1 on steroids.

  2. tad says:

    When I first started riding, I looked around for a Zephyr 750, but couldn’t find one. Pre-internet era.

  3. Jess says:

    Interesting article about the Zephyr series in the Sept issue of Classic Motorcycle Mechanics.They called it the original retro bike.

  4. tad says:

    Well, I’m sure Moto Guzzi 1000S owners might argue, but most people have never heard of those! Also, technically the 400 Zephyr beat it to market by a year. In Japan. Every time I see one of those Z1 or Zephyr muscle bikes on BikeEXIF with Sanctuary parts, I think it might be really nice to have something like that. I could probably just buy a set of their titanium headers, mount them on my wall and stare at the shifting colors all winter long…