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Featured Listing – 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1F

Featured Listing – 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1F asking $29,500 – RSBFS Exclusive!

I’m no salesman. The craft has always puzzled me but I gather my lack of patience and lack of empathy are two main culprits. However, I have learned a couple things over the years and one of them are that the easiest sales are those when you don’t really have to do any selling. Today’s RSBFS exclusive featured listing fortunately won’t require me to flex any of those muscles because I don’t think it’ll take much else other than the pictures for our readers to visualize themselves at the helm of this stunning machine.

The Kawasaki 900 Z1F is one of the more decorated bikes to come across RSBFS as of late. Admittedly it does’t align perfectly with our niche but many consider it to the be precursor to many of the superbikes that followed in the 80s and 90s. In addition to the superbike lineage that followed, the 900’s seed is responsible for another spectacular, enthusiast-driven, category of motorcycle: Muscle Cruisers. The 900 LTD paved the way for Suzuki’s “L” models and the Honda’s Magnas. Good enough for us.

The 900’s Ghengis Khan-esque history isn’t the only reason it maintains the status it does today. One must understand that Ol’ Ghengis wasn’t just known for his power and expansive genealogy. Some say he was quite good looking as well and that’s yet another trait the he shares with the 900. All UJMs are pretty similar (hence the name Universal Japanese Motorcycle) but the 900’s profile managed to stand apart while still being wildly attractive to buyers. If the Mongol Empire had made it to the the 1980s, it’s undeniable that the Ghengis would have ruled on a 900 Z1.

After spending the better part of the early 70s boosting casket sales with their two stroke machines, Kawasaki had another crackingly fast bike on their hands in the 900 Z1. As innovative as Kawasaki had been in the past they weren’t first to the market with a big bore 4 cyl. Honda landed the first shot with the famed CB750 and Kawasaki merely countered with the 900. A counter that landed squarely on Honda’s chin.

It’s no mystery that the Kawi had another 150cc behind their strike on the CB750 but what is more important to the history books is that the 900’s motor propelled it to 131 mph which, at the time, was the fastest top speed ever recorded for a production motorcycle. It also grabbed a top speed record at Daytona by hitting 160 mph around the 2 mi circuit. That stock + bike had fairings but check out the story here. That banking is no joke and it takes a serious bike to get that record. With the extra displacement and an 8,500k red line, the 900cc needed to breathe. An extra valve made possible by a DOHC setup gave the 900 the lung capacity it needed. That is relatively menial today but it gave Kawi a leg up over the reigning CB750 of the time

At some point during ownership, the 2nd owner must’ve have gotten used to the power as they opted to add a 1,105cc Wiseco big bore kit. The power numbers today are unclear but it is probably safe to assume it’s plenty good. The motor was also completely refreshed in 2010 and the bike has had ~10k mi put on it since then. The 900 was always under braked and this definitely would be the case with the big bore kit. The seller has installed an additional rotor and a steering damper to keep this machine away from any trees, guard rails, or ditches.

The Kawi design and engineering teams knew that if this bike were to succeed at the level they wanted in the American market, they had to think like Americans. There are only a few aspects of life that are easily deciphered and understood by most everyone on the planet. Booze is the first one that comes to mind. A strong second is food. In this case, a New York Steak. The New York Steak was the codename used for this project as that was the top item on the menu at any American restaurant from their perspective.

All this is to say a good motor was not enough to KO Honda. The bike had to be visually pleasing similar to the many well-plated New York Sirloins a few Kawi employees must’vee encountered at multiple points in the 60s and 70s. The teardrop tank and and ducktail fender give the eye a continuous line to track. The narrow, sleek figure also add to the visual length and when combined with the wide set bars result in a profile similar to a flat track bike that invites the rider to move around and sit up on the tank.

However, the design team is only partly responsible for the appearance of a motorcycle. The owners also play a big part and by some miracle this bike has remained in phenomenal shape under 3 owners. All the paint seems to be in great condition. The exhaust tips, fender, and cases all look great as well. On any air-cooled bike, the absence of road grime or oil around the cooling fins is the tell for an OCD owner. Nothing to be seen here! I’m sure that wasn’t ideal for the seller’s mental health but should be great for yours. Want more proof the owner is crazy? The paint was inspected and restored in 2004 along with fresh powder coat for the frame.

There aren’t many companies that can distill a motorcycle from a steak. I doubt many have tried either but the 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z1 was certainly a storied success regardless of its ideological origins. Certainly enough for Kawasaki to tap the 900 Z1’s aesthetic as a starting and ending point for their current neo-cafe offering, the Z900 RS.

With 40k mi this bike is not a low-mile example. However, it was ridden, maintained, and cared for over it’s life. The seller has all the service records and has refreshed the carb gaskets and fluids prior to sale. I think it’s safe to assume the quality of the machinery is top notch here. We’re certainly excited to see the interest in the bike not only because of the condition and pedigree but also due to modifications. Its got a lot of interesting upgrades that move the performance envelope while not hampering reliability.

We’ve covered most of the big items but the seller, Shaun (sennaducati79@gmail.com), can help with all the finer details and any questions. Shaun has the title in hand and is asking $29,500. Worldwide shipping can be arranged as well.

 

Thanks for reading!

Norm

 

 

 

 

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