Tagged: Z1RTC

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo for Sale


1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo R Fairing

A one-year-wonder, the Suzuki XN85 Turbo was an odd, stop-gap bike that Suzuki all but denies and, just a few years later, Suzuki set the sportbiking world on it’s ear with their GSX-R750.  That bike was a nearly perfect distillation of racing technology in a reliable, streetable package.  The XN85 was nearly the opposite: a quirky, unconventional machine, albeit with the same sporting mission: while other manufacturers’ turbo bikes were pitched towards the sport-touring or “gentleman’s express” end of the biking spectrum, the XN was a no compromise sports machine, with clip-ons, rearset pegs, and a monoshock rear: this was one of the first uses of the “Suzuki Full Floater” system that would feature on other bikes in their range.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Engine Low

The name came from the factory horsepower figures for the force-fed 673cc four-cylinder: 85hp.  While the bike lacked horsepower compared to its rivals, it made up for that shortfall with exemplary handling.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo Dash


Information is pretty minimal in the original eBay listing: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo for Sale.

You’re looking at a Suzuki XN85 Turbo motorcycle.  Only 1153 were made.  New muffler, new forks.  The bike originally came from Great Britain.  A really nice looking bike for its age.  Ask questions if needed.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Engine

There’s not much time left on this auction, so move quickly if you have a hankering for some forced-induction exotica from the land of the rising sun.  Information about the XN is pretty scarce, with only about 1100 made and only 300 or so were imported to the US.  If you like the 80’s styling of funky turbo machines, the XN was definitely the handler of the bunch.  The downside, given the bike’s rarity, is that parts may be less available.


1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo R Rear

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo for Sale

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Front L

The Yamaha Seca Turbo was a result of the Japanese manufacturers’ brief flirtation with boost in the 1980’s.  The forgotten Kawasaki Z1RTC began the trend at the end of the 70’s, but it was not developed in-house and was not ready for prime-time: massive turbo lag, fragile engines, and hair-raising handling made the ride an experience that was exciting in ways the factory had not intended.

The early 80’s brought a raft of factory-developed machines from the other manufacturers, as TURBO became the buzzword for car and motorcycle performance.  But while turbos gave car manufacturers a way to boost performance and fuel economy, it didn’t work as well for motorcycles.  These later machines were considerably more developed than the earlier Z1RTC, but turbocharging technology was still in its youth, and made little sense for bikes, other than as a novelty.

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Front Wheel1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Tail

The Seca Turbo was powered by a modified version of the regular Seca’s 650cc four-cylinder, with a turbo fitted in front of the rear wheel, behind the transmission.  What looks like a twin-pipe exhaust system is misleading: the right hand pipe is actually plumbing for the turbo’s wastegate.  Performance gains were minimal, but the bike had a midrange surge that made it feel like a much larger bike, significantly increasing the “smiles-per-gallon.”  While the bike represented an impressive engineering achievement, the turbo set up added expense and complexity.  A simple bump in displacement would have done the same job more effectively.

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Rear Wheel

There’s still quite a bit of time left on this, and bidding is very low so far, with the reserve still not met.

From the very spare eBay listing: 1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo for Sale

This bike came out of the famed Bortz Auto & Motorcycle collection in Chicago.  As you can see, all plastic is in great shape and the wheels are perfect.  It starts and idles like a new bike!  Since I have owned it I have changed all fluids and installed a new battery.  The carbs have been rebuilt by Mike Nixon, the guru of Japanese carburetors.

1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Dash

At the time, turbocharged motorcycles were an answer to a question no one had really asked, a technological gimmick.  But today, these very 80’s designs are becoming more and more collectible and, while they may not actually be faster than the bigger-bore machines they were designed to compete against, their addictive, boosted engines are definitely entertaining!  The styling is an acquired taste for sure, but I’d love the chance to take one of these turbo space ships for a spin.


1982 Yamaha Seca Turbo Rear R

1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC 1000 Original Turbo Bike

1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC L Side

With all of the weird and quirky turbo bikes that were running around in the early 80’s, it’s easy to forget the bike that started the craze: Kawasaki’s Z1RTC.  Basically a way for Kawasaki to stimulate sales of the moribund Z1 while waiting for the GPz1100 to be developed, the bike was really a kit, a collaboration between Kawasaki and the Turbo Cycle Company, who took complete Z1’s and bolted on a primitive turbocharger system.

Upgrades to the engine internals that would today be considered mandatory were optional extras in 1978, and buyers had to sign liability and powertrain waivers [with witnesses!] and before riding off astride their whistling, explode-y death machines.

1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC Dash

By all accounts, it was an exciting bike to ride: the Z1’s suspension was primitive and the frame was flexible, leading to wobble-prone handling in the stock bike, so the addition of 50% more power hardly improved stability.

The crude turbocharging provided laggy power delivery below 7,000 rpm and then a wild rush of power before the 8,500 rpm redline, with no limiter to stop the insanity.  Riders of the period would actually wait for passing opportunities with the throttle open, dragging the brakes to keep the boost up.

All very entertaining, but not exactly a refined experience.  Sort of like a big, heavy H1, but without the angry, two-stroke buzz and an even greater likelihood of catastrophic engine failure.  Later turbo bikes from Honda and Yamaha utilized fuel injection to help make the experience less explosive, and the Kawasaki drifted into history.

1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC L Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC for Sale

You are bidding on a 1978 Kawasaki Z1RTc Turbo Original bike.  Matching numbers KZT00D-006267 and KZT00DE-006240.  Showing 3329 miles but see that the speedo cable is not hooked up.  Bike Starts up and runs good. Bike is in Nice original Shape for it age.  Could use some cosmetics.  Bottom of the gas tank has some chips in paint.  Left side of fairing has been repaired as well as the Dash.    Left Fork ear is also broke.  Left rear peg has got into exhaust see pictures.  Seat cover has some tears.    Look like original tires but has age cracks.  Has a small dent in right side of tank looks like from a knee.  Turbo #’s are 370  F 40 A  10081159  TC 274 99.  This would make an excellent rider or a great piece to any collection.  Only around 500 originals built. 

This particular example is no concourse-ready trailer queen.  It’s got a few blemishes and cracks in the bodywork, but looks complete, original, and is claimed to “run good”.

So ride this weird and potentially lethal classic and terrify GSX-R1000 owners while rocketing away from them at stoplights or restore it to its former glory and store it in a heated garage.


1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC R Side

Rare Canadian Turbo: 1979 Kawasaki Z1RTC

For Sale: 1979 Kawasaki Z1RTC

These ATP-Kawasaki hybrid bikes are rare birds indeed. Our sister site, RSBFS has only ever posted on one, a 1978 Silver US model bike. Today’s feature, a 1979 model, wears the correct colors for the year and appears to be in great shape.

Preceding the “factory” turbo bikes by a few years, the Z1RTC started life as a basic Z1R. From there, Turbo Cycle Corporation (TCC for short, founded by ex-Kawasaki Marketing Director, Alan Masek) bolted on a ATP turbo kit. These bikes were then sold through a limited number of Kawasaki dealerships sans warranty. It was an effective arrangement for Kawasaki – who recieved the press and performance accolades without incurring any of the warranty headaches.

In 1978, US bikes were painted Silver, while Canadian bikes had the multi-stripe graphic. By 1979 all the bikes were painted in the multi-stripe configuration, including all of the unsold units from 1978. By 1980 increased pressure from the EPA regarding emssions and emissions-related modifications shut the party down for TCC.

From the seller:
Up for sale is a 1979 Kawasaki Z1RTC Turbocharged original

34288 miles
New Turbo
New Tires
New Piston kit
Original invoice, only one owner
Welded crank

The seller has included a lot of pictures of this beautiful bike, and has also offered up the following video. There is no doubt that this Z1RTC is a potent performer!

With an estimated total of 500 units completed, the Z1RTC is a very unique offering. It has all of the “limited edition” appeal of a factory bike, performance that eclipsed the fastest road rockets of the day, and the timeless looks of a classic.

This classified auction is going on right now. The seller has set a rather steep price for this particular example: $31,000 or best offer. While that asking price may be a bit optimistic, he is open to offers and may accept a more reasonable figure. For more information, more pictures and more details on this ultra-rare work of art, . Tell ’em you found it on CSBFS!