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Kawasaki Z 1300 1979

10912

Make: 

  • Kawasaki

Model: 

  • Z 1300

Year: 

  • 1979

Power: 

99.00 HP (72.3 kW)) @ 8000 RPM

Top speed: 

217.0 km/h (134.8 mph)

Cooling system: 

Liquid

Category: 

Touring

Engine type: 

In-line six, four-stroke

Front brakes: 

Dual disc

Rear brakes: 

Single disc

Displacement: 

1285.00 ccm (78.41 cubic inches)

Bore x stroke: 

62.0 x 71.0 mm (2.4 x 2.8 inches)

Valves per cylinder: 

2

Gearbox: 

5-speed

Fuel control: 

DOHC

Front tyre dimensions: 

4.10-18

Rear tyre dimensions: 

5.10-17

Fuel capacity: 

27.00 litres (7.13 gallons)

Compression: 

9.9:1

Weight including oil, gas, etc: 

322.0 kg (709.9 pounds)
Six-Cylinders!!!! This is a motor-flippin-cycle! From 1979! And it has a straight-six-cylinder engine, with a 120hp! God, we at Shepsters Towers love the Japanese and their crazy love for motorcycles, creating effectively a two-wheeled Sumo. This is real-life Street Fighting Edmond Honda!
 
Barging in at a colossal dry-weight of 296kg, this hyperbike, or hippo-bike, whichever you prefer, was a one of a kind. Weight not being considered an issue – no kidding! – is had a shaft drive powering the century-plus horses to the rear wheel and a gargantuan twenty-seven litre petrol tank. Taking one home was tantamount to pulling the plumpest thing in the nightclub: it wallowed, weaved and bucked all over the place, but who cared! Kawasaki Heavy Industries was taking its name literally. As you can imagine, fuel-consumption made owners talk-up the practicality of having your own oil-well in your back-yard and finding ways to justify how invasions of Middle-Eastern countries weren’t all bad.

Kawasaki quite reasonably felt the need to upgrade the suspension over the years, and the liquid-cooled engine initially running on carburettors was eventually switched to a digital fuel injection, pumping out another 10hp in the process. Because, well, why not, eh? The design looks conventional enough, until you realise it’s got more pipes than a cathedral. There are triple disc-brakes to try and stop the juggernaut once it got going, and indeed it could go: reaching a 100kmh from a standing start in under 4 seconds, clocking out at a ridiculous 230kph with a considerable amount of torque driving a quarter-of-a-mile in 11 seconds. This was 1979, the record forty years on is only 9.5 seconds!

Despite its uniqueness, it wasn’t an astronomical success, shipping almost twenty-five thousand motorcycles in its ten-year reign. With later versions like the Z1300 Voyager competing with other behemoths like the Gold Wing, selling 640,000 since 1980, Kawasaki were never going to eclipse their rivals. However, we’re not sure that Kawasaki cared: they have a tendency to build because outlandish motorcycles simply because they can. Moreover, despite being a complete pudge-ball, it was an extremely capable machine. Which is subsequently why a great deal of fun is had by strapping two of these engines together: Swiss car manufacturer, Sbarro, created an in-line straight-twelve, as you do, with quite mental results we must add; British enthusiast Allen Millyard created a V12, producing a one-off Kawasaki 2,300 cc motorcycle in this excellent article from earlier this year on rideapart.com.

Additionally, as another one-up on their contemporaries, did Honda or Suzuki frighten authorities so much that governments considered power output regulations on motorcycles? Nope, but the Z1300’s ‘legendary six’ almost certainly did. The French banned anything over 100hp until 2016 purely because of this motorcycle. That’s quite a claim: building a weapon so powerful it makes governments yelp, and they invade countries for oil-wells don’t forget – which of course is very, very reasonable.
 

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