Tagged: inline four

Sophisticated Performer: 1957 Ariel Square Four for Sale

1957 Ariel Square Four L Side

A vintage luxury sports machine, the Ariel Square Four had, as the name suggests, four whole cylinders at a time when most motorcycles of the period had just one or two. Automobile components can get away with being heavy, but over-engineered solutions in a motorcycle application mean significantly reduced performance and, for years, four-cylinder engines weren’t compatible with twin demands of light weight and reliability. Inline fours can be tricky to package into a motorcycle, particularly when configured longitudinally, as was common before the Honda CB750. But the Ariel uses an interesting “square” format that features a pair of parallel twins, complete with a crankshaft for each. Not only did this solution offer up the power and smoothness of an inline four, the very compact design meant it could be squeezed into existing frames meant to house a parallel twin. No surprise, as the design was originally intended for BSA.

1957 Ariel Square Four R Side Rear

The first generation of Square Four displaced 500cc with a bump to 601 for increased torque, so riders using the bike as practical transport could more easily drag the weight of a sidecar around. That early overhead cam design had issues with overheating, as the square four configuration naturally has a hard time getting cooling air to the rear pair of cylinders. Suzuki’s later RG500 engine used liquid-cooling to get around this problem, but that was obviously not an option here.

1957 Ariel Square Four Dash

The engine saw a complete overhaul in 1937 with a shift from overhead cams to cam-in-block and pushrods, but a big jump in displacement to 997cc.  In 1949, the iron head became aluminum for a huge savings in weight and the version seen here is the final iteration, with four individual exhaust pipes, instead of the earlier pair of siamesed parts that make the bike look like it’s powered by a bulky parallel twin.

1957 Ariel Square Four Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1957 Ariel Square Four for Sale

Up for sale is a restored Ariel Sq4 This bike was completely restored 10 years ago and sat in a collection for 5 years.  I bought it and meet the person who restored it in Mass. He is good at what he does and the bike still shows very well. All the miles were put on by me, last being a 50 mile ride 2 years ago. The bike has been started and ran in the last few months. It will start right up and operate very smooth. There are no known problems. The restoration was both mechanical and cosmetic at the time. Buyer will be responsible for transportation from Pgh PA.

I’m assuming “Pgh” is Pittsburgh in this case. There’s very little time on this auction, with bidding up just north of $16,000 and the reserve not yet met.

1957 Ariel Square Four Tank

So what’ll she do, mister? Well that nearly full liter of displacement gave 45hp and the bike weighed a surprisingly svelte 425lbs, so the Square Four could very nearly “do the ton.” But while bikes like the BSA Gold Star were about ultimate performance, the Square Four was about the way in which it delivered that performance, and the smooth relaxed power and sophistication was really in a class by itself from the bike’s introduction in 1931 until it was discontinued in 1959, a remarkable production run for any motorcycle.

-tad

1957 Ariel Square Four R Side

Rocket Man: 1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC for Sale

 1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo R Side

Lots of sportbikes, even vintage sportbikes do many things well: handling is almost always part of the package. Many are very fast, some are reliable, and a few will even take you on long journeys in relative comfort. The Kawasaki Z1R TC does only one of these things, but it does so with such enthusiasm that it’s hard not to give it a pass on the others. In the 1970s, Kawasaki built bikes that seemed to be in-tune with the American Psychology of Going Fast that stressed straight-line speed over handling prowess, very much like musclecars of the era. Their H1 and, to a lesser extent, H2 two-stroke triples had power that easily overwhelmed their limp chassis and got miserable gas mileage, but that hardly mattered for folks interested in beating the car or bike next to them away from a stoplight. The four-stroke Z1R had acceptable handling and decent brakes, but slap a big, uncivilized turbo on there as seen on the TC and all that went out the window.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Rear

The Z1R TC was the first bike of the turbo craze that afflicted all of the Japanese manufacturers to a certain extent in the 1980s, a trend that was largely a dead-end at the time. Modern turbos are refined and smooth, giving us engines with durability, increased power when you need it and good gas mileage when you don’t, all with minimal lag. These characteristics are largely the result of modern fuel injection systems and the electronics that control them. Both of which are missing here.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Front

Early turbo engines needed to have low compression-ratios so they wouldn’t explode when the boost was up, which exacerbated “turbo lag,” the delay between when you put your foot to the floor and when the power kicks in, a result of the turbo needing to time to spin up and begin generating boost and thus power. Turbo lag was notoriously tricky to manage in sports cars of the era and is even more challenging when combined with skinny tires, marginal handling, and the lean angles you’re looking at when riding a motorcycle aggressively.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Gauges

And that was assuming the bike didn’t just grenade between your legs. Early test bikes were “built” with stronger engine internals, but bikes sold to the public only included these at an additional charge, and many went without what should have been a mandatory upgrade. Shopping online, you’ll find that they often have had significant engine overhauls, because of blown motors or smart owners looking to prevent hot, fast-moving engine parts from sharing space with vital organs…

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC for Sale

I have decided to sell my dream bike of my younger years. If you know what you’re looking at and your youth was in the late 70’s and early 80’s this bad boy was likely on your wish list along with Farrah Fawcett and the Whale Tail 930 Turbo Porsche. Next to Farrah this was the wildest thing you could throw a leg over! What more could a bulletproof wild child ask for? 

Make no mistake this bike was the things fantasies were made of and the tool required to make them come true. Much like the efforts that delivered the Shelby to Ford, Motion and Balwin cars to Chevrolet and the Hurst Hemi’s to mother Mopar, Turbo Cycle and Kawasaki teamed up to build a two wheeled rocket that would clean the clocks and wallets of whoever stepped up to the line against it.    

This bike is all original with a copy of the original sales certificate registered in the archives of Turbo Cycle confirming this is the matching numbers motor and frame and truly one of the original 250 produced. All original manuals are included as are all original parts less the Warblo fuel pump that was long gone when I bought the bike nearly 10 years ago. The bike is shown with and currently runs a newer Mikuni flat slide and K&N air filter but the original Zenith carb and triangle air filter are included.

The bike is shown with the white tank emblems and shorter LTD shocks on the rear but again the originals are included and in excellent condition.

The bike has newer tires, battery and had one quality repaint years before I bought it with new original Molly Graphics. This is not a kit/clone or wanna be-it’s the undisputed real deal that any collector or museum would be proud to own and display. 

The bike runs great and is a piece of styling art to behold. Mad Max would be proud to spool it up down under. When this old girl comes on the boost you better have your toes under the shifter and brake levers and a firm grip on the bars because just like when you hit hyperspace playing Space Invaders things are going to get blurry in a hurry. This thing is no game or toy-it is still scary fast.

While I had had the privilege of owning I have displayed it a many vintage / classic bike shows and was honored to be invited to display it at the AMA display and the Kawasaki featured marque display at Mid-Ohio Vintage Bike Days a few years back. The bike deserves to be on display and in the hands of a curator to insure this piece of history is enjoyed and around for years to come. 

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Paint

It’s not clear if the engine in this bike has had any serious work done from the listing, or if it had the upgrades installed originally, but it appears to otherwise be in excellent condition: many that come up for sale are pretty rough cosmetically, seemingly the fate of many Japanese bikes of the era. The seller is looking for $25,000 as a Buy It Now price, which is top-dollar, but these are certainly some of the rarest and fastest streetbikes of the era and have been steadily increasing in value.

-tad

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo L Side

Mean, Green, and Canadian: 1984 Kawasaki KZ1100R ELR for Sale

1984 Kawasaki KZ1100R R Front

Big, brash, and charismatic, big superbike replicas like the KZ1100R put paid to the stereotype that a UJM is doomed to be some sort of boring appliance. Sure, the “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” does sound a bit familiar and unexciting, but the formula flat works. Based on the garden-variety KZ1000J, the original KZ1000R displaced less than that bike’s 105cc, down to 998cc to make it eligible for racing and it featured general updates to the already venerable air-cooled inline four aimed at increasing power and keeping the bike’s reliable reputation intact. But engine updates alone don’t a sportbike make and, although the R was heavy, revised frame geometry gave the bike the agility needed. The K1100R was an update to the original bike, with a bigger 1089cc engine.

1984 Kawasaki KZ1100R L Rear

So what about this whole “ELR” thing? Well this lurid green monster was a race replica meant to celebrate the successes for Eddie Lawson, rider for Kawasaki and successful AMA Superbike competitor. The original K1000R was the real-deal Eddie Lawson Replica and, although the K1100R certainly looks the part, purists often seem to consider it less desirable.

1984 Kawasaki KZ1100R Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1100R for Sale

Second owner, 1984 Kawasaki Eddie Lawson superbike replica KZ1100R with 20,000km (13,000 miles). Canadian model. Bike starts, runs, and drives excellent. Needs nothing except a new home. original bike color changed from Stardust Blue to Green last year. Top quality paint work with 6 coats of clear and a new decal kit from England. Inside of tank was professionally recoated and guaranteed for life. Every other part on this bike was powdercoated other than the frame and engine. Engine is completely stock and has not been worked on or modified (other than valve cover gasket). Updated brake lines front and back. These beautiful bikes are getting more rare every day. Original owners manual and tool kit included as well as spare keys. Kerker purchased last year. Clean and clear title in hand. All original parts included with sale (I have spent years collecting hard to find parts). See list below for all extras included with sale. 

Extras included:

  • New front tire
  • Set of working carbs
  • OEM front fender (new paint as well)
  • Shop manual
  • Gasket kit
  • Fuel petcock complete
  • OEM crash guards
  • OEM airbox and filter
  • OEM intake boots
  • Spare chain guard
  • OEM decals
  • Decals, cables, and hardware

1984 Kawasaki KZ1100R L Tank

The starting bid is $10,000 with no takers yet and very little time left on the auction. This second generation machine represents and evolution of the original KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica but was built in greater numbers and is generally considered less desirable. The price is on the high side, but I wonder if the color change is affecting the bidding as well: even a really good paint job isn’t likely to be as desirable as the original paint in good condition and, no matter how high the quality, a change of color definitely has an impact on values. I prefer the green as well but, if the seller was concerned about maintaining the bike’s long-term value, I’d have suggested he keep it original.

Also, the bike’s in Calgary, Canada so that may be turning folks off buyers here in the US as well.

-tad

1984 Kawasaki KZ1100R R Rear

Origin of the Species: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype Road Racer #001

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Front

The second of three very rare Yamaha TZ750 race bikes available this past week, this 1973 model is claimed to be a rare prototype machine. Fans of both ClassicSportBikesforSale.com and RareSportBikesforSale.com have proclaimed all three of these machines to be overpriced, but you can’t argue that they are very cool and very valuable motorcycles regardless of their asking prices. Yamaha’s TZ750 was all brawn and no brains, a power-mad beast of a bike that packed 140hp into a sub-400lb package good for 185mph, with basically terrifying handling when it was introduced. But that power came with reliability, and the TZ dominated AMA racing for years in spite of its lethally bad manners.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine3

This example is supposedly a “prototype” numbered #001, although I’d definitely want to consult with a TZ750 expert before plunking down my hard-earned cash. It’s certainly in impressive cosmetic condition and will undoubtedly look amazing on display. Early TZ’s used a twin-shock rear suspension as seen here, although later bikes moved on to a more modern monoshock set up that vastly improved handling from “scary” to “less scary” as the bike struggled to cope with increased power from the significantly revised powerplant that went from 700cc’s in early bikes to the full 750cc’s in the name.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 Bare Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype #001 for Sale

This is the rare only one built by the Yamaha Race department. It was finished in 1973 for Kel Caruthers to inspect and make final changes for the completion of the production TZ700/750 for release in 1974 for Daytona and European distribution.

What you see are some of the salvaged parts that were intercepted on the way to the crusher and torch. The main part being the frame and swing-arm stamped 409-100001.

This bike remained in the hands of factory rider Sadeo Asami until it was returned to Yamaha USA in the late 70`s. 

I sat in storage until 2012 when I was able to purchase the parts. A good friend and I spent 3 years bringing it back to as last race condition and another year to where it is now.

This is the bike that changed racing history.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine2

I would be curious, and I’m sure the seller can tell you, whether or not it runs. From the description, it sounds as if it does. This would obviously make a beautiful display piece and centerpiece to a collection, but racing machines I feel should always be kept in running condition, even if it’s only for parade laps and demonstrations. The Buy It Now price is set at $78,000 which, as stated previously, is very high for a TZ750. They’re pretty rare, but 600 were made and, even accounting for the attrition that naturally occurs during racing, it’s possible to find these regularly circling tracks in vintage racing events.

Regardless, I’m happy to see the bike offered up for sale, so we can all drool over it and think about how many extra kidneys we’d need to grow in order to be able to afford it….

-tad

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side

Bee Sting: 1975 Yamaha TZ750B for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Front2

Looking like the world’s angriest bumble bee, complete with four stingers, this Yamaha TZ750B race bike is ready for a new life, terrorizing tracks in vintage racing classes. And “terror” is probably the right word: with as much as 140hp, the TZ750 was very fast and exceptionally reliable, although the concept of handling was still in its infancy and a “good-handling bike” was any motorcycle that exhibited cornering or straight-line behavior that didn’t involve a terminal death-wobble.

Early TZ750s may not have qualified…

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Naked

The earliest liquid-cooled two-stroke fours look suspiciously like they were built up from a pair of 347cc parallel-twins to make the TZ700. The later 750cc engine that debuted in 1975 supposedly shared no parts at all with the smaller machines and was essentially a bored-out 500 Grand Prix engine. Power predictably overwhelmed the bike’s rudimentary handling and primitive tires. Early machines used a twin-shock rear, although the frames were eventually updated to a more modern monoshock design as seen here: this particular bike was obviously ahead of its time and uses a rare Kanemoto frame, according to the seller.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L RearFrom the original eBay listing: 1975 Yamaha TZ750B for Sale

Show Winner – Fresh Rebuild – Race Ready. Very Unique Early TZ750; C&J Mono-Shock Frame equipped, Raced in the 1976 and 1977 Daytona 200!

C&J made 4 special TZ750 mono-shock frames for Erv Kanemoto in the mid 1970`s. They were ridden by Gary Nixon, Freddie Spencer, and Gary Fisher. This particular unnumbered chassis was built using a 1975 TZ750B donor bike, and made it into the hands of AMA Pro rider Cory Ruppelt; he finished in the money in the 1976 Daytona 200 Roadrace on this bike.

Original period equipment includes: Morris Magnesium wheels, Lockheed front calipers, early Vesco fairing, and silenced crossover chambers. 
Modern KR series Dunlop racing tires, D.I.D. endless chain, and Boysen reeds make it track-worthy.

Rebuilt motor has 1 hour track time; tear-down inspection just completed. Un-numbered cases. Genuine TZ750D Master Cylinder just installed – carbs, ignition, controls, forks and C&J modified bodywork are original TZ. The bike is near exactly as raced in the 1970’s including paint. Has been preserved for 30 years on display before being brought back to a rider. Unrestored from the 1970’s, in “as-raced” condition.

The seller also includes some on-track video of the bike doing some parade laps here.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Rear Naked

Many classic racebikes are non-running display pieces with too much history for the owners to risk a crash, or because they cannot afford the upkeep on a rare, non-production machine more than forty years old. Luckily, this particular bike comes with period looks, unrestored paint, and a refreshed motor that looks like it’s ready to rock.

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Front

Unrestored Race-Replica: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Front

Originally designed for the European market, where handling and agility often trumped straight-line speed, the Suzuki GS1000S offered the best of both worlds, although the US received only a handful of these well-balanced machines: just 500 were imported in 1979 and 700 in 1980.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side Engine

A race-replica from the 1970s Superbike era, the GS featured Suzuki’s famously rugged, 997cc air-cooled inline four in a relatively lightweight, very stiff frame. Lighter than the GS750 that spawned it, this engine went on to serve for many years in Suzuki’s line up, and while it wasn’t the most powerful of the Japanese fours, the complete package offered up an impressive balance of handling, braking, and power that allowed bikes ridden by Wes Cooley and tuned by Pops Yoshimura to win the hotly contested AMA Superbike Championship in 1979 and 1980.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Dash

The bike seen here was never officially associated with Wes Cooley, but the link was undeniable and the name “Wes Cooley Replica” stuck.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for Sale

Up for sale is my Super Rare Unrestored WES COOLEY GS1000S, the bike is unrestored and has 22k original miles but looks almost brand new and runs like brand new and if you didn’t look at the odometer you would think it is a 1000 mile bike, there are no scratches, dents or chips in the paint and the chrome pipes look new. If your looking at this motorcycle you probably know all about it as bikes of this caliber and rarity do not come up often so don’t miss your chance, bike is all original and unrestored. Pictures speak for themselves

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Engine

Bidding is very active on this bike and is currently north of $7,000 with plenty of time left on the auction. These were pretty rare to begin with, and their practical nature means many have racked up pretty high mileage or been ridden hard and put away wet. This example is about as clean as you’ll ever find, and is claimed to be completely original, striking the perfect balance between a usable machine that’s been ridden and a museum-perfect collectible.

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side

Raw Elegance: 1977 MV Agusta 750S America for Sale

1977 MV Agusta 750S America L Side Front

It really doesn’t matter if Honda’s new RC213V will be beaten by a bone-stock ZX-10 in every quantifiable measure of performance. It also really doesn’t matter how much it will cost: you probably couldn’t afford one and they’re all spoken for, anyway. And that’s the point: much like today’s MV Agusta 750S America, the RCV has a direct link to Honda’s MotoGP hardware and represents a blue-chip investment, and a one-of-a-kind experience for the most well-heeled enthusiasts, regardless of performance.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America R Side

Certainly, the 750S wasn’t the lightest or the most powerful bike available at the time. Saddled with a heavy, power-sapping shaft-drive system that helped the America weigh in at a Rubenesque 560lbs wet and dragged around by a mere 75hp, performance was certainly brisk, but nothing particularly impressive. But people plumping for this bike likely weren’t concerned about the ultimate performance: they wanted looks, sound, and feel, and they got that in spades. Comparing it to other bikes of the period, you can see that it has presence, and if you’ve been weaned on modern four-cylinder motorcycles, nothing can prepare you for the rough metallic shriek these machines make.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America Gauges

Originally displacing a shade under 750 at 743cc’s, the America featured, as you would expect, a bigger, bored-out 788cc engine for moar powar… It also moved the gearshift to the left to suit a less European clientele. But the engine was otherwise unchanged: the sand-cast four was sophisticated and smooth, with a cam-driven geartrain and an overall width less than a Honda CB400.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1977 MV Agusta 750S America for Sale

Frame# 221017
Engine# 221017
2,770 miles
NYS Title

Original, un-restored and in beautiful condition. Not only one of the lowest mileage Americas in existence, but probably the best one in original condition. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better one on this planet. The bike is absolutely stunning. and drives as beautifully as it looks. When the bike is idling it purrs like a cat, and when you hit the throttle it roars like a lion. It’s one of my favorite bikes of all time to ride. The 4-cylinders are so smooth and capable with or without passenger.

This bike will not disappoint.

Stored in climate-controlled space. The bike is located in downtown Manhattan. I don’t have any videos of the bike running but it sounds amazing.

1977 MV Agusta 750S America L Side Rear

While I appreciate Instagram as much as the next guy and this bike does look cool in the pics, I’d appreciate a less… saturated set of images. But the bike does look to be in very nice shape, excepting what appears to be some oil or fuel on the outside of the engine. Or is that just some Instagram-y filter effect?

1977 MV Agusta 750S America Engine

Obviously, this is a serious amount of money for a motorcycle: bidding is currently north of $55,000 and there’s still plenty of time left on the auction. That money could buy you a whole collection of cool motorcycles, and that’s exactly what I’d do with that lump of cash. But for those who want the most sophisticated machine the 1970’s had to offer from one of the most exotic brands of all time, there’s really not much to compare.

-tad

1977 MV Agusta 750S America L Side

Widowmaker: 1974 Yamaha TZ750A for Sale

1974 Yamaha TZ750A L Front

As is so often the case in motorsports, the power generated by Yamaha’s four-cylinder TZ750 racing machines far outstripped their relatively primitive handling. Putting the 140hp of a modern sportbike into a twin-shock, spindly-framed motorcycle with bicycle-skinny tires was a test of the most skilled reflexes and, combined with the vicious powerband of a two-stroke, made these professional-grade motorcycles in every way.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A Clocks

This was the bike to beat during the 1970’s and even newer bikes from Kawasaki and Suzuki couldn’t reliably compete with the TZ. Powerful, reliable, and eventually even nimble, the TZ750 was ridden by men brave enough to hang on while the Yammie dragged them, kicking and screaming, to victory.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A Engine

Interestingly, while the bike is listed as a 1974 TZ750, the 750 was actually introduced in 1975 and featured a sleeker look that eventually included a monoshock rear suspension that made the power more controllable and the bike overall less terrifying to ride. The early bikes were reportedly built up from a pair of liquid-cooled 350 twins to make the TZ700, which is supported by the seller’s mention of the “347cc” stamped into the side of the engine.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A L Rear

From the original eBay listing: Yamaha TZ750A Road Racer for Sale

Engine and Frame Number: 409 – 000191.

HISTORY:
This motorcycle was imported to the USA (Los Angeles) in the first batch of (95) TZ750A models for the 1974 racing season, per the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Shipping Invoice No. A-1547.
It was initially raced by Denny Fox and Bill Betts and entered by Syl Kulaga of the “Twin K” Sport Center in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.
The Yamaha has since been stored in temperature controlled conditions for more than 30 years.

IDENTIFICATION:
Matching numbers are stamped on the Engine and Frame, as shown in the pictures 23 & 24.
The Cylinder Barrels have the following identification cast on the rear: “40900” on the Left side and “347cc 409000” on the right.
The Mikuni 34SC carburettors are lightly stanped L38 on #1 and B3X on the other 3.
The tires are Goodyear Motorcycle Road Racer 3.25-18 & 3.75-18.

ORIGINALITY:
The Yamaha was restored using the TZ750A Parts List and is original in almost every detail except for the following:
1) The troublesome original exhaust pipe support band has been replaced by a compression spring and bracket design, which is shown in many of the pictures. The original support band is available with the motorcycle (Part Number 409-14715-02).
2) The front brake flexible hoses do not have a matching appearance.

CONDITION:
The fairing, fuel tank, seat, front fender, frame, swing arm and attaching black parts have been professionally painted to the highest standard.
However, this is not a 100% restoration because some of the replacement metric fasteners are “non-Yamaha” and a few of the components are not perfectly plated. Also, the screen has some lower area imperfections which are concealed by it’s installation inside the fairing.
The rubber grips on the footrests, handlebars, gear and brake levers and the seat cover are intentionally left unrestored to give the Yamaha a “previously raced appearance”.

1974 Yamaha TZ750A Engine2

So while you won’t be taking this to the track without some work to get it running, it is otherwise impressively clean for a 41 year old motorcycle that was designed to do one thing and one thing only: go really fast. Racing motorcycles are generally not designed to look good up close and are used ruthlessly by teams and riders to win races, and the life span of most racebikes is very short. Considering that hard life, this bike looks beautiful and although it has been on display for most of its life, it was originally used in anger, and many race fans will pay shocking prices to get this close to such a legendary race bike.

-tad

1974 Yamaha TZ750A R Front

Hang On For Dear Life: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo for Sale

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo L Side

Today’s one-owner Kawasaki Z1R-TC is a potentially combustible combination of explosive power, unpredictable handling, and overtaxed mechanical components, a milestone in the Japanese motorcycling industry’s efforts to distinguish itself and find a truly distinctive voice. Turbo bikes were, in general, a bit of a dead end: the added complexity of turbocharging and non-linear response of a boosted engine didn’t outweigh the power gains.

The TC ended up being an exercise in self-control: keep the throttle pinned and the bike was hideously fast, but you’d also be almost guaranteed to be picking engine parts out of your chest. Because the ZR1-TC wasn’t a refined, heavily tested factory bike: it was a lash-up put together from stock machines sitting on showroom floors by a third-party turbo manufacturer. And without modern electronics to moderate boost and ignition, simply slapping a turbo onto an otherwise stock motor is a recipe for disaster.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo R Side Rear

But that’s what Kawasaki sold the public. Sure, beefed-up internals were available for purchase, even recommended… But how many buyers plunked down that extra dough for what amounted to a fully-built engine? Not many.

So you have an engine that will almost surely grenade itself if you actually, you know: use it. And Kawasaki’s safeguards to make sure you don’t mess with the technically adjustable boost setting? A sticker that says, basically: “Don’t adjust the boost level. No seriously: don’t. You’re thinking about it right now, aren’t you? Stop thinking about adjusting the boost level!”

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Dash

And an even bigger problem with adding 50% more horsepower to the Z1R was that the bike really couldn’t handle the original 90hp to begin with: the frame was outdated and notoriously bendy. The bike was heavy and clumsy, with handling that varied wildly, depending on tire choice, but at least it had triple disc brakes to try and bring the whole thing to a halt if things started to get out of hand.

When things started to get out of hand…

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo L Side Detail

In the original listing, the seller suggests it’s a “TC1” but this looks like it’s a “TC2:” that stripey paint job and “spider” style header were both second-generation additions. First generation bikes were painted a very cool silver-blue color and has a much simpler exhaust.

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

All original only one owner. Has new tires, chain and sprockets the entire exhaust system was just rechromed and added factory ATP water injection system. This bike will sell itself it is amazing shape never get to ride and enjoy as much as I would like anymore cause of health reasons. hate to sell but want someone to enjoy it. I still have every invoice and all paper work for any work done to the bike dated back to when I bought it. it has 14,650 miles motor has never been out of the frame. I’m the only person to drive this bike and still dives like I just bought it a week ago every thing works no issues. Oil has been changed every 500 miles and never been rode rough.

This Kawasaki is in very good shape for 38 years old. The bike shows its age on lower front end tubes but paint looks good to be original paint and speedometer has small crack but not very noticeable

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Engine

It’s very cool to see that water-injection system that’s been added, which should help keep the engine from blowing itself to bits when used enthusiastically. It’s obviously not perfect, but it’s very nice and, perhaps even more importantly, is all original.

Bidding is active with four days left on the auction and is north of $14,000 with the Reserve Not Met. While recent prices of many 1970s Japanese bikes have seemed a bit outrageous, considering how many were originally produced, this is one classic that is truly rare and very special, if slightly dangerous.

-tad

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo R Side

Blue-and-White Bullet: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica for Sale

1980 Suzuki GS1000S L Side Front

Suzuki’s blue-and-white bullet, the GS1000S was, in spite of the hulking style, dual shocks, and bulbous fairing, really more of an all-rounder than its looks would suggest. It was originally intended to appeal to European riders but, while road riders here in the USA prize straight-line stability and torque over handling, racers saw the appeal, and the GS1000S became the basis for Suzuki’s AMA Superbike racing machines.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Engine Detail

Compared to the Kawasakis and Hondas of the same era, the Suzuki wasn’t as quick, but it made up for its power deficit by being nimble, with a stiff frame and excellent brakes. None of these bikes were really featherweights, but the difference was noticeable both on and off the track.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Front

Race bike building was handled by the iconic “Pops” Yoshimura and ridden to victory by Wes Cooley, both of whom transitioned from Kawaskakis. The relationship was beneficial to everyone involved, and Wes won the AMA Superbike Championship two years running. The GS1000S was never officially associated with Wes Cooley, but riders in the States dubbed them “Wes Cooley Replicas” after the fact and the name stuck.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Dash

Specification-wise, the bike isn’t particularly exciting: a two-valve, 997cc air-cooled four putting 90hp through a five-speed box, 525lbs wet weight, and a 130mph top speed. But it’s really the package that made this work and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Replica for Sale

If you had the resources to rebuild a classic, limited production Superbike and fit it with every upgrade available back in the era when this bike ruled the streets, this is what you would have.

NOTE: This is a 1980 Wes Cooley Replica. It was produced for only the years 1979 and 1980 with production numbers estimated to be in the 750 range for 1980. The factory rear-set foot controls fitted only to the 1980 version makes this a one-of-a-kind frame as all of the other GS1000 standard chain drive bikes had the same frame. The 1980 version cannot be “faked” because of its unique frame, unlike the ’79 version that used an ordinary frame.

This bike was a frame-up rebuild which included the following:

ENGINE:

– New Valve Job 

– Freshly honed cylinders with brand new OEM Suzuki rings

– Valves adjusted

– New Mobil One synthetic oil and Fram oil filter

– New NGK spark plugs

PERFORMANCE EXTRAS:

– Dyna Tech electronic ignition

– Dyna 3 Ohm (green) coils

Taylor ignition wires (brand new)

– Yoshimura Replica stainless steel exhaust (cost $750 shipped here on eBay)

– Aftermarket wire wheels with stainless spokes – wider than stock

– Aftermarket Rear sets. Especially rare as these only fit this one exact year/model bike

– Braided stainless brake lines with clear covering (that won’t scratch paint)

– Adjustable Clutch Lever and dogleg front brake lever

There’s more information about the build over on eBay, so pop over for a look. The Buy-It-Now price is set at $12,000 which honestly seems like a very nice price for a bike with this much work put into it. Yeah, you can find a decent Wes Cooley for less, but they’re appreciating in value, and this one has been comprehensively restored and tastefully upgraded. These are extremely rugged motorcycles as well, and that makes them especially appealing to collectors who want to actually ride and enjoy, rather than display their pride and joys.

-tad

1980 Suzuki GS1000S R Side