Posts by tag: turbo

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 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
Honda October 4, 2017 posted by

Featured Listing: 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo!

Update 10.9.2017: Joe wanted to note that this bike was used in Cycle World article published in May 2011 by Peter Egan, "Gone with the wind". -dc

When it comes to the rapid pace of motorcycle development, nothing could beat the 1980s. Every manufacturer was scrambling to find the next Big Thing, the next best way to motivate a motorcycle for the claim of top dog. And for a brief, meteoric period in the early 1980s, the Turbo was the thing. Each of the Big Four offered a turbocharged motorcycle, but only Honda developed their bike into a second generation model (starting with the CX500 Turbo, and evolving into an all new 650). As a result the 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo was the most evolved of the Turbo set, offering manageable, reliable power. And power was available in spades - the CX650 Turbo nominated as "the roll-on king" for the amazing push of torque while underway. This particular example has 153 original miles and is as new a bike as you are likely to find. I'll let the seller pick up the story from here:

Featured Listing: 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo!

From the seller:
The 1983 Honda Turbo “No Mileage” CX650 in this ad is truly extraordinary because it has 153 original miles on it. This bike comes from a serious automobile and motorcycle collection in the Chicagoland area. The bike has everything original including paint, chrome, seat…even the tires are believed to be original. The bike runs flawlessly and is kept on a trickle charger. About 5-20 miles put on it each year in recent years.

This bike currently and for the last ten years has been a very well-known motorcycle collection. It has been very well maintained and driven a few miles every summer and kept on trickle charger. The bike looks and runs great (you could say ‘like new’)!

More from the seller:
It is generally considered that any motorcycle with less than 200 miles is considered to be under the classification of a “No Mileage” motorcycle and certainly this Honda falls within this category. All 650 Turbos are excitingly fast when you hit the pike but they are also very rare as it is believed that they are the lowest production classification of a Honda’s that was ever made. Top that off with this Honda that is a 100% original (and we believe the tires are too) and just 153 miles and you have one of the rarest Honda 650 Turbos that exist. The bike looks like new, and runs like new and has one very small chip on the entire bike.

More from the seller:
In 1983, turbocharging was the wave of the motorcycle future. The Honda CX650 Turbo was the best of the turbocharged motorcycles that lit up the 80s super fast bikes. The 1983 Honda Turbo is now one of the rarest production Hondas ever, with only 1,777 built and fewer than 1,200 imported to the U.S. and Canada.

Call to discuss price 847-668-2004 cell 10 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CST

One of the most rare motorcycles of the era, all of the Turbo bikes were one year models. Honda was the only factory that took an evolutionary approach to boosted power, and despite the poor showroom performance these 1983 CX650 T models are truly excellent motorcycles. The Silver Wing-derived longitudinal twin is extremely robust; this model has very few weak points from a mechanical perspective. There are known issues with the stator failing over time, but that is on examples with more than 20k on the clock. Otherwise, this is as bulletproof as you can get on two wheels. Build quality is typical Honda, and if you decide to ride this example you will find a well-sized and comfortable cockpit with good wind protection.

Values for Turbo models have started to hit a stride - but the 650 models from Honda appear to be particularly strong. This is especially true for nearly new examples such as this particular specimen. Expect slow but steady valuation growth over time as the tiny pool of Turbo bikes continues to shrink. Traditionally these have not been extremely popular bikes, but the law of Supply and Demand is a predictable mistress for collectors and this 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo has all the right elements to lead the charge. Interested individuals should contact the seller to discuss: 847-668-2004 or email: adreply514@gmail.com

Kawasaki September 18, 2017 posted by

One Complete, One in Pieces: Turbo’d 1975 Kawasaki KZ900 and 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000

Here's a weird one. This seller in Oklahoma has two turbo'd Kawasaki Z bikes for sale in two separate auctions and in two very different states of disrepair. They wear identical paint schemes, and the seller says they come from the estate of a good friend.

1975 Kawasaki KZ900 Turbo for sale on eBay

The original owner bought the complete 1975 Kawasaki KZ900 brand-new and then added a Blake turbo kit and his own Turbo logo and paint job. The seller says the bike does not run, and the thick layer of dust and rat's nest of wires poking from under the right side cover back that story up.

The same gentleman bought the 1977 KZ1000 to build what the seller calls "a real hot rod," and it comes with an American Turbo Pak, among a vanload of other spares. It is unclear whether this project was complete before being disassembled, or if it never got off the ground in the first place. Either way, the '77 will need a lot of love to be whole again.

As grubby and daunting as these two bikes are, they are from a unique, frenetic time in the evolution of sportbikes. They came at the end of America's obsession with the muscle car, and before the collective interest had discovered corners. Though they are not as collectible as a factory-optioned Z1TC, they are a rare and incredible look into the not-so-distant past.

The auctions have little time left, but are no reserve, so the high bidder is taking home a full garage worth of intense, rewarding project.

From the eBay listings:

'75:

NO RESERVE

I'm selling this on behalf of the widow of the one and only owner of this bike. Randy bought this Kawasaki Z1 brand new in 1975 and then added the Blake turbocharger and his own spin on the paint scheme. His old riding buddy has lots of stories about how fast the bike was. BUT, Randy then bought a second bike to build into a real hot rod. That bike is listed separately, partially disassembled, and comes with a large number of extra parts.It's possible many of those parts will fit this bike, but they're being sold right now with the 1977 KZ 1000 with the American Turbo-Pak. (See our other auction.) These bikes have been in his garage for years and are not in running condition. Sold as-is, where is.

Ideally the same bidder will win both auctions and keep this great collection of authentic hot rod Kawasaki history together.

'77:
NO RESERVE

I'm selling this on behalf of the widow of the owner of this bike.  Randy bought a Kawasaki Z1 brand new in 1975 and then added a Blake turbocharger and his own spin on the paint scheme.  His old riding buddy has lots of stories about how fast the bike was.  BUT, Randy then bought a second bike (this one) to build into a real hot rod.  That bike is listed separately, partially disassembled, and comes with a LARGE NUMBER OF EXTRA PARTS.  It's possible many of those parts will fit both bikes, but they're being sold right now with this 1977 KZ 1000 with the American Turbo-Pak. (See our other auction for the 1976 Z1 with Blake turbocharger.)  These bikes have been in his garage for years and are not in running condition.  Sold as-is, where is.

Ideally the same bidder will win both auctions and keep this great collection of authentic hot rod Kawasaki history together.
There is just over a day left in the bidding for these insane machines, so click through and make your play, if you dare.
One Complete, One in Pieces: Turbo’d 1975 Kawasaki KZ900 and 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000
Suzuki September 13, 2017 posted by

Mr T: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo

Given the title, I'm sure you're looking for some "I pity the fool..." type of comments here, but you will get none from me. Although looking back some 34 years from the future - in a world where nearly every car (from econo box to sports car) is either turbocharged, supercharged or both - it feels like we have not come very far at all. And while every one of the Big Four offered a puffer-enhanced model in the early 1980s, each was a dismal failure in the showroom, despite the investment and technology. Take the 1983 Suzuki XN85: this 650cc sport bike was labeled as the best handling motorcycle of that year. But nothing ages faster than last year's model, and the heavy, expensive, complicated XN85 was quickly left behind.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo for sale on eBay

Looking back, the XN85 paved the way for more successful Suzuki models, such as the original GSX-R series. In fact, the air/oil cooling technology that enabled the GSX-R's light weight was pioneered on the XN85. What about the GP-inspired 16" front wheel? Today this is seen as an antiquated attempt to lessen gyroscopic forces and improve transition maneuverability, but given the chassis technology at the time it was effective. So, too, was the adjustable anti-dive fork and the single shock rear suspension - which was carried onto other sporting models. Computerized fuel injection was a necessity for the turbo application, but represented a giant leap forward in the day (despite the computer being roughly the size of a toaster). Today this technology is a given, but the DNA has deep roots and a long memory.

From the seller:
For sale is a 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo. Bike is original an survivor with only 07772.1 miles. Read item condition for specifics, look over the photos or email for any questions. Thanks for looking.

This one year only model looks to be in decent condition; no obvious missing pieces or major damage. It would have been nice for the seller to take a minute to wipe the bike down (or, gasp!, wash it) before taking pictures, but this is not the worst we have ever seen. The corrosion is pretty typical of the age; most of these models have some rash on the brake master and the aluminum forks. While it does detract from the aesthetics, it should not prevent the bike from being ridden. And Turbo bikes need to be ridden regularly. Otherwise critical seals become old and crack, waste gate actuators stick, and myriad other problems can develop.

The Suzuki XN85 is perhaps the rarest of the US-imported Turbo bikes. Suzuki did everything they could to deny its existence, and buyers boycotted the extreme price differential between the XN and a performance-comparable GS750. Today these are interesting milestones along the racetrack of development. They are unique, rare, and relatively affordable. Prices are on a very slow ascending curve, making this a collectable you can afford - and afford to ride. Parts are difficult to find (especially the computerized bits and the bodywork), but if you locate a good one there are few weaknesses in the overall package. Boost is slow to hit - and doesn't hit nearly as hard as say a CX650T or Turbo GPz - but the handling is sublime by 1980s standards. This particular bike is a true survivor. Check it out here, and get boosted. Good luck!!

MI

Mr T:  1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo
Honda June 27, 2017 posted by

Oddity: 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo

Honda is well known as an engineering company. It's where engineers thrive on unique challenges, novel solutions, and experimentation. It is what brought us such varied hardware as single cylinder 2-strokes and 4-strokes, twins in every conceivable combination and vee angle, V-3 2-strokes, V-4s, inline fours, horizontally opposed fours, and of course a wonderful mix of six cylinder machinery. Somewhere in all of that lies the very rare CX650 Turbo - a one year only model showcasing the pinnacle of Honda talent. Within a year - and with a whoosh - it was over.

1983 Honda CX650 Turbo for sale on eBay

With a longitudinal vee formation, the CX650T utilized liquid cooling, fuel injection and four valves per cylinder. You can think of it as a Moto Guzzi dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age. Honda was really up on their game with this bike, shown by the counter-rotating transmission to counteract the torque from lurching the bike to one side when the engine is rev'd (you BMW riders know exactly what I'm talking about). The cylinder heads are twisted in relation to the motors position by several degrees. This places the intake ports closer to the centerline of the bike and - most importantly - out of the way of the riders knees. Of course the big deal with the T model was the Turbo - a single IHI unit that produced a maximum of 16.5 PSI. This is lower than the predecessor's (CX500T) 19 pounds of boost, but together with increased compression and different valve timing the lower max boost made for better on/off transitions and rideability. Honda created the Turbo line with programmable fuel injection and a multitude of redundant systems to maintain the life of the motor. Largely they succeeded; these things are pretty close to bulletproof.

From the seller:
1983 CX650 TURBO - YOU CAN EAT OFF THIS BIKE - SUPER MINT CONDITION.
HAS BEEN MAINTAINED IN A CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT GARAGE FULLY COVERED. THE BIKE HAS A NEW BATTERY, FORK SEALS, TIRES, AND ALL FLUIDS HAVE BEEN CHANGED. I HAVE OWNED THIS BIKE FOR MANY YEARS, HOWEVER, HEALTH ISSUES FORCE SALE.

With less than 1,800 worldwide, and only about 1,000 making their way into the US, the CX650 Turbo is a pretty rare bird. The problem is that of those 1,000 US bikes, half (or more, if stories are to be believed) wound up in the hands of schools who used the bikes for tech training. The reason for this is not because they made such great training platforms, but rather because they flat out did not sell. Honda dumped them, wrote them off the books and moved on. The Turbos were a big win for Honda "the engineering company" but a bad bet from a revenue standpoint.

Fast forward nearly 35 years and the supply of these magnificent beasts (all 600 lbs) has dwindled. While most were cared for, these Turbos fall into neglect easily. With no real market to speak of, bikes were dumped for a song and treated as disposable. Today, these are still cult machines that speak to certain individuals. Unloved 35 years ago, largely unloved today. That is a shame, as these are truly unique motorcycles. They pull surprisingly well for their size and weight, and have all the hallmarks of Honda quality. Bidding on this 1983 Honda CX650 Turbo is only up to $4k. There is a reserve in place, and a BIN of - ahem - $16,999 (!). While values for good examples are slowly creeping up to the $10k mark, this appears to be a bit optimistic - even for a super clean and low mileage bike like this. Hats off if the seller gets his price, but I think this unloved-beloved model will need to age a bit further before the market takes that type of notice.

MI

Oddity:  1983 Honda CX650 Turbo