Tagged: kz1300

Reader Suggestion: 1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 for Sale

1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 R Side Front

One of our readers suggested this beast, but wasn’t sure if was sporty enough for this site.  It may be pushing things a bit to call the leviathan Kawasaki KZ1300 a “sport bike”, but it certainly could be called a sports-tourer, in an era when “touring bike” meant that you could cover large distances behind the bars, not necessarily that you could pack enough stuff for a week of camping once you got there, charge your iPhone, navigate via GPS, and listen to Skynrd…

No this is a touring bike from a simpler era.  And as far as I’m concerned, if I can justify weird and unusual or forgotten machines as “sport bikes” I’ll include them.

Looking like a traditional UJM that’s somehow… off…  Just what is it, something wrong with the scale, just slightly…  Oh my god!  It’s huge!  And are those six cylinders?!  It really is a bulky machine, but with simple lines and undeniable presence.

1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 L Side

Pumping out 120hp from its straight six, with water-cooling and shaft drive, it got exactly the reviews you’d expect from a machine like this:  it was smooth.  Powerful.  It was stable, like a locomotive.  There was limited cornering clearance.  It was powerful.  Comfortable.  Did we mention powerful?

And oh look!  An eBay ad with a video clip!  But don’t get too excited, unless you’re a big AC/DC fan…

1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 for Sale

The original Trifecta of “six cylinder” motorcycles in the late 70’s and early 80’s consisted of the Honda CBX, the Kawasaki KZ1300, and the two Benelli Six Cylinders [750 cc and 900cc].  These motorcycles were originally of course made for the purpose of riding, touring, and eating up hundreds of miles on the road in comfort.  They were all fast for the day and were also considered very reliable.  Today the Trifecta is considered highly collectible and the smart collectors are getting a copy each in their collection.  Today we have a most unusual offering that the KZ1300 in this ad is the exact motorcycle that was used in both the Cycle World road test and Motorcycle Classic road test.

The owner has indicated that he would consider ending the auction on this motorcycle for the sum of 6,750.00.


Really?  You’d recommend I buy your bike first?  Wow, I’m glad I asked.

1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 Tank

In any event, this looks like a classic Japanese bike that offers the sort of performance that most riders are looking for in the real world.  It’ll out-cruise just about anything on the road, and classic, carburetted straight six motorcycles sound simply amazing.  Oh, and it makes lots of lazy power.  I read an article once about one of the fathers of the stunting-scene in the UK, who started out riding one of these simply because it was cheap to buy and so stupidly easy to do burnouts on.


1979 Kawasaki KZ1300 R Side

Six Italians, Bennelli 900 Sei

1983 Bennelli 900 Sei for sale

You may have guessed the Sei is six in Italian. While there have been six cylinders in a motorcycle before (Honda RC166), Bennelli was the first production 6 cylinder bike. Designed in 1972 but hitting  the market in 1974 with 750cc and increasing in 1979 to 906cc. With the Single Over Head Cam (SOHC) and 80hp offered at 8400rpm this portly 549lb bike was still able to reach 120mph and a quarter mile in 13.3 sec at 99.8 mph. Three Dellorto carbs are easier to tune then 6, but appear to be up to the job. I imagine the sound of six cylinders with each of their own exhaust offered on the 750 would be a great song, but for the 900 the six were funneled down into two.

Other changes going from 750 to 900 were the addition of mag wheels, duplex drive chain and rear disk. Reviews of the time give good grades on handling, but seem to fall short of the performance compared to the Japanese sixes, the CBX and the KZ1300. Drawbacks seem to be in the fit and finish allowed oil leaks with all those cylinder surfaces. The dry clutch also was not up to the task of putting 6 cylinders to one rear wheel.

The seller gives very little detail about the bike itself.

            If you’ve been looking for an original, unmolested, not passed around 900 Sei, this is the one. I bought this bike in 1990 from a friend, and have ridden it only for Sunday breakfast rides…..Also included is the original tool kit.

The pictures show a very clean bike with no obvious flaws. One of the criticism given in the few articles I read was that the design draws a lot from the Japanese CB750, and not an original Italian design (think Desmo twin) This might be a reason why so many cylinders work so well together and appear to give little mechanical problems.

If you are a high speed, well handling engine with a bike around it, this looks like a nice choice.