Posts by Category: Kawasaki

Kawasaki February 15, 2018 posted by

Boosted: 1978 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Z1-R TC Turbo for Sale

Turbochargers are pretty ubiquitous these days, allowing for insane levels of reliable performance and fuel economy, especially when coupled with modern electronics permitting compression ratios that early adopters of boost could only dream of. Modern cars offer flat torque curves and seamless power, but older turbocharged set ups were notorious for lag that felt like you were towing a piano, right up until the turbo finally spooled up and launched you at the horizon. For a brief, glorious period in the 1980s, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, all flush with cash from their domination of the world motorcycle market and caught up in the rush towards an exciting, digital future, introduced turbocharging to the motorcycling world. Slapping TURBO badges onto cars was already the cool new thing, so why not bikes? Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple, and the trend died out after a few short years. But it all started here, with Kawasaki's Z1-R TC.

When the Z1-R TC was introduced, turbocharging was considered pretty exotic technology for the most part, and only rarely seen even on production cars. At the time, the Z1-R was at the end of its life cycle, and newer, better, faster things were being offered by other manufacturers, so Kawasaki needed to drum up some interest in their lame-duck model before the introduction of the GPz. What better way to do that than by creating something that would likely kill inexperienced riders? Hey, it worked for their famously lethal two-stroke H1 and H2... The new turbocharged version of the bike quickly developed a widowmaker reputation like its predecessors, and for similar reasons: an on/off powerband coupled with primitive handling and marginal brakes. Even passing cars required a bit of precognition, and riders learned to build boost while waiting for a gap in traffic, dragging the rear brake to control speed while holding the throttle open to keep the turbo spooled...

Ultimately, the bike was a hoot, but if TCs didn't kill their riders with their unpredictable power delivery and sketchy handling, they had a tendency to blow up: the Z1-R TC Turbo was basically a stock bike with the addition of an aftermarket turbo package from the Turbo Cycle Company that included a log-style or 4-into-1 header and a boost gauge. Oh sure, you could specify a fully built engine to handle the boost if you wanted to, but how many buyers do you think opted for that when the bike was new? Not too many. And how many new owners do you think ignored the safety sticker instructing them to not, under any circumstances, adjust the wastegate to allow more boost and sweet, sweet performance, basically for free? The answer again? Not too many.

Luckily, this example avoids the whole "four-cylinder grenade between your legs" issue with a built motor that should provide years of trouble-free, if not lag-free, hooliganism. Which just means you're that much more likely to wheelie into a hedge, but at least you'll have a better idea which of the bike's lethal characteristics will most likely kill you.

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

Here we have a beautiful '78 Z1R-TC Turbo. It has been completely rebuilt and gone through. Engine has a welded crank, fresh MTC turbo piston set with Teflon buttons, valves have been reseated with new seals, all engine seals have been replaced, new clutch, cam chain and guides are new as well, copper head gasket, carb rebuilt, as well as petcock, new o-ring chain and sprockets all brakes rebuilt, new pads, turbo spins freely, opened and inspected, new gaskets, you get the point. tires are Dunlops, tank replaced with a rust free one, no bondo fresh paint with lots of clear, one defect on decal on left front, (if it really bothers you, my painter will fix it, I just wanted to get the bike up for sale now rather than waiting for that, original bike had about 18k on speedo, was growling so it got replaced, boost gauge was cracked, so it got replaced with a Mr. Turbo new old stock.

I did my best to keep it as original as possible, tail pipe is dent free and freshly triple chrome plated. all chrome on engine is brand new triple chromed, (if you hate the chrome, I have a very clean non turbo '78 Z1R that I will swap out the chrome for stock) but it looks incredible with the black engine, exhaust head pipes were badly blued so I chose to paint them with header paint (no sanding, just painted) new owner can choose to rechrome head pipes, but they will blue again. I built this bike to be ridden (welded crank and forged turbo pistons). Without those mods these bikes twisted cranks and melted pistons.

That being said, still has original Bendix/Zenith carb, and stock ignition and advancer for originality, but Nice coils were added. I put some break-in miles on bike, waste gate is set to just seat as for break in I didn't want to boost it, but the sweet sound of the turbo is evident while riding, hoping to put some miles on it before end of auction as well as a little more fine tuning. I was a certified motorcycle mechanic and worked on the big 4 Jap brands through the eighties and nineties, have changed careers since then, so now I truly enjoy working on these old bikes for a hobby, but can't keep them all. I'm sure I forgot something, but be assured, engine is built correctly and bike is really nice. 

I was assured by previous owner it is the real deal, My buddy had it at his shop for a while getting title sorted out and gathering parts for me. He also contacted a Z1R turbo Guru who claimed he could tell you if it was a true Z1R turbo, and he was unable to tell us it wasn't. For what that is worth, wish I had original bill of sale etc. but I don't. Bike does have the correct ATP stuff that only came on true TC Z1-R's, Nice bike, contact me with questions, I have a slight reserve on bike which I may lift if we get close, good luck... Thanks for looking, will try to add more pics,  and update listing as needed, also new battery, and Amsoil, engine cranked over with plugs out to ensure full prime with oil, and oil return from turbo verified before initial fire up of course.

If you're concerned about the bike's authenticity, I know it can be a challenge with TC: if you can source a nice, clean Z1-R and the original parts for the turbo kit, you can build one of your own, since that's pretty much what Kawasaki did with the original. It's nice to see that kind of transparency from a seller, and the fact that the engine has been fully built to survive actual use should go a long way towards helping the bike find a buyer. So a bit of a question mark surrounding the bike's originality might keep the value down slightly, but you can't argue with the build quality so maybe this one will actually get ridden, instead of tucked away in a corner somewhere. Ultimately, the same things that made the TC a lousy motorcycle are the qualities that endear them to collectors today: they're wild, wooly, and savage, a rite of passage more than a practical mode of transportation.

-tad

Boosted: 1978 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Z1-R TC Turbo for Sale
Kawasaki January 30, 2018 posted by

Say it Ain’t So – 1988 Kawasaki KR-1 / KR250B

Dan would have to weigh in on how many bikes Gary has listed and sold on RSBFS, but suffice it to say the past year has been a great success.  Saving the best for last would be a debatable and bittersweet claim, maybe there's another container of gray-market wonders back there ?  Better to relish the KR-1 presented here.

1988 Kawasaki KR-1 KR250 for sale on eBay

Not actually derived from or intended to be a race bike, the KR-1 had a meteoric rise and quick retirement just a few years later.  The parallel twin pushed 55 hp, but peaky like no one's business, making power just between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM.  Never offered stateside, it thrilled young riders in the U.K. and the Pacific rim, and has only occasionally found its way here.  The super-light under 300 lbs. machine was over-equipped with dual disks, adjustable suspension, and 17-inch front / 18-inch rear wheels.

Gary has made presentation of gray market specials look easy, but this one is different.  Rather than doll up someone else's issues, this KR-1 was brought over restored, low miles, just about perfect.  As always, it's ready to run with legal title and registration.  His comments from the eBay auction:

Up for sale is a 1988 Kawasaki KR-1 with only 20,640 kilometers (12,825 miles). Bike is in mint condition. The collector whom I purchased it from in Japan did a full frame up restoration. Complete engine, front forks, front and rear brakes, drive train, rear suspension, custom paint restoration. I don’t normally buy bikes like this but when I saw that no expense was spared to make this bike look and run new, I just had to have it. Bike looks gorgeous and is in mint condition. There are only a few very light scratches and handling marks. All fairings and components are 100% Genuine OEM Kawasaki factory. All replacement parts used in the restoration were genuine OEM parts. Bike is completely stock. Bike runs like new. Comes with new battery and new engine fluids.

I’ve saved the best for last. The last is here.

Kawasaki saw the writing on the wall early and focused on four-strokes for 1993.  But the power delivery, quick steering, and riding position of the KR-1 are legend.  Hopefully an adult rider can keep it out of the tank slappers it destined novice riders to experience.  In a era where a successful design could be considered 100 machines ( Buell or Bimota ), or a thousand ( Ducati or Moto Guzzi ), Kawasaki saw the future on the other side of 10,000 KR-1's.  But for a fan of the green and white, there was never such a lightweight.

-donn

Say it Ain’t So – 1988 Kawasaki KR-1 / KR250B
Kawasaki January 28, 2018 posted by

The Green Alternative: 1989 Kawasaki ZX-7

As slab and Slingshot Gixxers from the mid to late '80s get more and more expensive and desirable, now is an increasingly good time to look to their competition to snag an equally capable but much cheaper mount. Early Kawasaki ZX-7s are a great alternative, with more forward-looking styling and a reputation as the baddest race replicas George Bush-era money could buy.

1989 Kawasaki ZX-7 for sale on eBay

This 1989 Kawasaki ZX-7 hits all the boy-racer high points, with a garish tri-color livery that extends across the seat from the fairing, monochrome Japanese character decals and the infamous Ninja badge. If it were mine, I'd ditch the green tinted screen and have the wheels powder coated in their stock single hue. Otherwise, its pretty much as it should be, down to the period Vance and Hines can.

From the eBay listing:

SECOND OWNER 1989 KAWASAKI ZX7 WITH 23000 ORIGINAL MILES. GOT A BUY IT NOW PRICE OF $6500 OR WILL CONSIDER THE NEAREST BEST OFFER. GOT A CLEAN AND CLEAR TITLE IN HAND.

PLEASE ASK ALL QUESTIONS AND CLEAR ALL DOUBTS BEFORE BIDDING. IT IS THE BUYER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO INSPECT THE BIKE PRIOR TO BIDDING. CALL 718 966 0606 TO COME INSPECT THE BIKE. THE BIKE IS BEING SOLD 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTIES. NO RETURNS.

PAYMENT: $200 NON- REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT IS REQUIRED VIA PAYPAL WITHIN 24 HOURS OF END OF AUCTION AND THE BALANCE PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE BY CASH IN PERSON, CERTIFIED BANK CHECK OR BANK TRANSFER WITHIN 7 DAYS OF END OF LISTING. IF IT IS A BANK CHECK, THE BIKE WILL BE HELD UNTIL THE CHECK CLEARS. I WILL NOT ACCEPT BALANCE PAYMENT VIA PAYPAL UNLESS BUYER MAKES PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS.

SHIPPING IS BUYER'S RESPONSIBILITY. BIKE NEEDS TO BE PICKED UP WITHIN 2 WEEKS OF END OF AUCTION. IF BUYER IS UNABLE TO PICK UP THE BIKE WITHIN 2 WEEKS THERE WILL BE A STORAGE FEE, IN THE EVENT I AM NOT INFORMED OF THE SITUATION.

The pictures don't give a huge amount of detail, but the bike looks mostly squared away but not perfect. With a little elbow grease it could be a decent collector piece, but it's a very nice rider as-is.

The Green Alternative: 1989 Kawasaki ZX-7
Kawasaki January 28, 2018 posted by

Boosted Optimism: 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo

You are looking at what Cycle magazine dubbed the fastest motorcycle of 1985. Ripping off a quarter mile faster than liter bikes of the day, the Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo took the latest fad and turned it into a very sharp weapon indeed. Easily the most potent of the Turbo set, the GPZ750 Turbo pushed the boosted boundaries further than any of the Big Four. Yet despite the performance possible, Kawasaki failed to achieve success with their Turbo offering - much like the rest of the Big Four. Turbos screamed with graphics, torque and power, but generated few sales.

1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo for sale on eBay

Kawasaki bolted a Hitachi HT-10B turbocharger in front of the engine, positioned as close to the headers as possible to reduce lag. Utilizing digital fuel injection, the air-cooled, transverse four-stroke in-line four was otherwise comparatively simple in design. Kawasaki engineers raided the parts bin, adding some strengthening to the normally-aspirated GPz750 block handle the Turbo pressure. The top end came from the more conservative KZ650, lowering the compression ratio to a range more compatible with a turbo and pump gas. Expect approximately 95 unfettered horses from this combination.

From the seller:
YOU ARE LOOKING AT A 1985 KAWASAKI GPZ 750 TURBO THAT I HAVE OWNED SINCE NEW. THIS BIKE LIVED ALL OF ITS LIFE IN A CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT. THE BIKE HAS NEVER HAD FUEL IN ITS TANK, NEVER BEEN STARTED OR HAS HAD ANY ELECTROLYTE PUT INTO THE ORIGINAL BATTERY. MOTORCYCLE WAS PICKLED WHEN NEW AND MAINTAINED THAT WAY THROUGH OUT ITS LIFE. I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY ARE STILL OUT THERE IN THIS CONDITION, I'M THINKING VERY FEW IF ANY. BIKE IS STILL ON MSO, NEVER REGISTERED. I HAVE ORIGINAL OWNERS MANUAL AND BROCHURE. THIS IS A CHANCE TO OWN A BRAND NEW PIECE OF MOTORCYCLE HISTORY. I HAVE MORE PHOTOS IF NEEDED. TIRES ARE STARTING TO SHOW THEIR AGE WITH A LITTLE CRACKING ON THE SIDES, REMEMBER THEY ARE 33 YEARS OLD. PAINT IS FLAWLESS AS IS THE REST OF THE BIKE. PUT IT IN YOUR OFFICE OR MUSEUM , IT IS CURRENTLY IN ONE OF MY LIVING ROOMS.

The Turbo era has remained a relatively underperforming element of the collecting world. Sure, Turbo bikes are rare and unique - and slowly (glacially) gaining in value over the years. However they have failed to ignite the collector world just as they failed to ignite showroom fires back in the 1980s, and just as they failed to deliver on "literbike performance" from a smaller package. One might be willing to call the entire Turbo era a wholesale failure according to nearly every standard by which we compare motorcycles. Those might be harsh words, but the unfortunate reality of this particular segment of our two-wheeled universe. These words, by the way, come from an owner...

This particular Turbo GPz is perhaps the last "new" bike of its type in the world. Zero miles, never filled with fuel and original battery and tires make this a unique find for the right collector. And it would need to be a collector, as after sitting this many years unused, considerable care would need to be taken to turn this back into a rider. But riding it would destroy the value of this zero mile example, making this a museum piece at best. And what price does a brand new 1985 model go for? Would you believe six figures? Me neither. Props to the seller for asking a huge sum, but not riding the fastest quarter miler back in '85 does not necessarily escalate the value tenfold. Yes, it can only be new once - but few bikes make it to the $100k milestone (and those are far more coveted models). Still, it is a cool time capsule worth looking at. Check it out here, and then jump to the comments and share your thoughts and experiences with Turbo bikes. Good luck!!

MI

Boosted Optimism: 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo
Kawasaki January 24, 2018 posted by

Tennessee Stud: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR400 H1

The hard-edged Kawasaki ZXR400 is something of a rarity among grey-market Japanese 400cc sportbikes, as importers drag far more Honda VFR 400s and Yamaha FZR400Rs to our shores. For whatever reason, the Hondas and Yamahas seem to command most of the demand.

1989 Kawasaki ZXR400 H1 for sale on eBay

It's not for lack of trying on the Kawi's part, though. The ZXRs are known to mimic their epic ZX7 big brothers, bringing racebike handling and revs to a street package aimed at tiered licensing laws. Never as comfortable as their competitors, the ZXRs made their mark at the apex.

This 1989 Kawasaki ZXR400 wears British registration plates in the pictures, though the seller shows photos of a Tennessee plate and title. The pictures don't show a whole lot of detail, but the bike looks very clean and well cared for.

From the eBay listing:

Here we have an ultra rare and cool looking 1989 zxr400 H1. It is Tennessee registered and ready to be ridden. This team green Kawasaki has lots of power for a 400, and is perhaps the fastest example of any of the Japanese 400 I've ever sampled. It suits taller riders better than the 400cc VFRs or CBRs. Handling is spot on as well as the brakes. This would make a fine lightweight class racing machine were one so inclined. Please contact me with any questions by texting or calling 423 747 3265.
A $300 deposit is due via PayPal within 24 hours of the auction's conclusion, and the balance within seven days. Please only bid on this item if you are serious and are willing and able to dispense with the transaction in a timely fashion. I will be posting several collector motorcycles for sale over the next couple of weeks, so please look for my other auctions. I can provide or arrange for shipping at a reasonable rate if needed. Thanks, and happy bidding!

If the video below fails to play, please visit my Youtube channel (Israel Gillette) and search for ZXR400 Test Ride

Bidding is low with the better part of a week to go in the auction, which means this could be a slick pickup to sort as riding season approaches the East Coast.

Tennessee Stud: 1989 Kawasaki ZXR400 H1
Kawasaki January 11, 2018 posted by

Cali-Titled Two-Stroke: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the vibrant quarter-liter two-stroke class saw the NSR, RGV, and TZR go at it with knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth intensity. Notably missing from much of the action was Kawasaki. It didn't help that Kawasaki didn't start building a two-stroke sportbike until 1988 and abandoned the class in 1992, before the other Japanese manufacturers and, as a result, the Kawasaki KR-1S is a bit of a holy grail for two-stroke fans in the USA. They're really nearly impossible to find in any market, as Kawasaki produced less than 10,000 examples in total, and they were obviously never sold here in the US.

If all you've done is glance at the spec sheets of the class competitors, you could be forgiven for thinking the bikes in this class were pretty much the same, with two-cylinder, liquid-cooled two-strokes, aluminum beam frames, six-speed gearboxes, and a suspiciously identical 45hp output. In fact, sometimes only a catchy acronym for the power valve gives the manufacturer away, although KIPS, ATAC, SAPC, and YPVS all performed basically the same basic function. But period road tests and two-stroke enthusiasts claim that each has a distinct character that seems line with corporate sterotypes: Honda's NSR was sophisticated and refined, while Suzuki's RGV was a bit of an unruly wild-child, fast and a bit fragile. But although Kawasaki joined the party late and left early, they left an indelible impression and their KR-1S was claimed to be the fastest, the easiest to tune, and have the hairiest handling of the bunch.

The KR-1S was powered by a liquid-cooled 249cc parallel-twin with a 180° crankshaft that also drove a balance shaft to improve smoothness, and put power to the back wheel through a six-speed gearbox. The "S" model seen here featured wider wheels at the front and rear, and tested top speed of 139mph. An "R" model was also available, but is nearly impossible to find, with fewer than 200 built. Interestingly enough, last month's Practical Sportbikes features an article that discusses the rebuild of a KR-1R in detail.

Like yesterday's ZX-7R, this KR-1S is slathered in green, white, and blue graphics that suit the bike's brash personality. Happily, the seller also includes images of the bike with the fairing removed, as it shows off the very slick aftermarket expansion chambers and another odd detail: the engine sits almost entirely below the frame! That of course keeps the bike relatively narrow, but seems strange that most of the engine is suspended beneath the frame, rather than nestled between the frame spars.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale

1990 Kawasaki KR1S C2. I am relisting and selling another bike out of my prize collection. Journalist called the KR1-S the most exotic and fastest of all the 250 2 stokes of that era. This KR1S is a UK model. Which means UK CDI power box, mile per hour speedo. Non-restrictive. Always been in street bike form. Not a converted back race bike. This is truly a rare bike. Unlike NSR’s, TZR’s and RGV’s and even Aprilia RS’s that come up for sale now and then, you very rarely see one of these for sale. I have owned this bike for over 10 years. I have spent many of thousands of dollars on upgrades. I mean many! I installed a pricy set of Dyna mags magnesium rims. The old KR1S aluminum rims came with a 17” front and an 18” rear. These are 17” front and back. Light weight magnesium and make sporty tires more available. I have put on a set of Michelin pilot sport tires. Green D.I.D.  O-Ring chain with gold aluminum sprocket. Beautiful high end custom steering damper. Then I had made a JMC fully braced swingarm with eccentric adjustment. Beautifully polished. I was told at the time that this was the only top braced swingarm that JMC has ever made for the KR1S. I installed a huge custom made “Pace” radiator made for the KR1S. This radiator is huge, and solves the problem of any overheating. If anything I have to tape of part of the radiator when its cool out. But a nice position to be in. Silicone radiator hose are used. Then I purchased a nice new set of Jolly Moto pipes with Carbon silencers. Bikes sound great and pulls better. I had the rear shock rebuilt and the shock spring powder coated green to match the bike. Front forks have been recently rebuilt with all new bushings, oil and seals. Rebuilt both the front and rear calibers with new stainless pistons, bolts, and seals. I had them powder coated too. Custom made steel braided brakes lines with aluminum fittings. They look like new. I also installed new light weight disks front and back.  Have a fortune in light weight titanium, stainless, and aluminum bolts throughout.  All the lights and switches work. The bike has 16,600 miles on it. So a far as I know the motor has never been touched.  I had plans to rebuild the motor and including all the parts to do it.  I have everything needed to build it included. But now I have gotten old and don’t have time for this project. I have tuned it up, changed all the fluids. Adjusted the power valves, etc. Bike does still run strong but mileage is getting up there for 28 year 2 stroke. The original bodywork on the bike is not too bad for its age but not perfect either. I had a few tabs and small cracks repaired. The tank has a couple tiny little chips, but is in remarkably in good shape for its age. No dents. The tank is clean inside without rust. The body panels have a few scratches and touched up spots.  Still not all that bad for its age either. Please refer to the pictures for more details. I am including the stock rims with a brand new fresh powder coat on them. The stock pipes, radiator, manuals, and various other parts as seen in my list and pictures. Lots of stuff.

The following is a list of some of the parts that are included with the bike, but not complete. No much to list. Please refer to pictures.

  • 4 brand new piston sets, including, rings, pins, clips, and small ends
  • Complete set of crank seals and crank bearings, plus new rod sets. Everything needed to completely rebuild the crank like new.
  • 3 gaskets set, plus one extra head gasket
  • New Water pump part set
  • New carb sets including floats
  • Power valve seals
  • New billet aluminum power valves and power valve wheels
  • 1 extra new front disk
  • Numerous new seals and bearing that go into the motor
  • Stock pipes in good condition
  • Stock swingarm with fresh paint and new bearings and seals. Like new
  • Stock radiator in excellent condition
  • Stock wheels with fresh powder coating, sprocket,  and cush drive

All the old wheel bearing, wheel spacers, front and back disks, sprockets, brake lines, and caliber parts. The old original nuts and bolts that were replaced with titanium and stainless, aluminum

Bike comes with a current California registration and title!  Has all the correct serial and engine numbers, but is listed as a 1980 instead of a 1990. You might think that wow I am asking way too much for this bike? I say “find don’t buy it then”. What I can say how often you see one of these for sale in this condition, with all these extras and titled too? Try to find another? These bikes are only going to increase in value as time passes. Plus I am including thousands of dollars in extra parts.

So the $17,500 asking price is big money for a two-stroke sportbike, but I'm betting it will find a buyer: if that California title is valid, I know a couple folks who'd love to snap it up, and it's really not all that far off what folks have been asking for pristine NSR250s recently. It isn't completely stock, but all of the upgrades described by the seller are clearly intended to thoughtfully boost performance and handling. All-in-all, it's one of the coolest bikes we've posted recently.

-tad

Cali-Titled Two-Stroke: 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S for Sale