engine - 1286cc, dohc six top speed - 130mph maximum power - 120bhp weight - 300kg (660lb) mpg - 35 production - 1981-1989 price new - £3099
1980 kawasaki z1300
1981 kawasaki z1300
1978/79/80 A1 or A2 engine fitted. This can be verified by the round ignition pick up casing system behind the cylinders.
Kawasaki Z1300 A3
UK spec 1981 model.
The late 1970's were marked by a power struggle between the four Japanese manufacturers. Kawasaki's Z900/Z1 dohc four had spent the majority of the decade at the head of the performance league, challenged only by the likes of Ducati, Laverda and Moto Guzzi in terms of outright speed, if not value for money, reliability and availability. However, as the decade closed their position was under threat. Increasingly tight emission laws in the US had forced Suzuki to move to four stroke production initially with the GS750 quickly followed by the GS1000, both of which were (remarkably) similar to their rival Kawasaki models both in performance and design. Likewise, Yamaha had been forced to use their considerable four stroke experience, gained as consultants to the likes of Toyota in the four wheeled world, to produce the XS1100 which majored on torque and the sleeping giant, Honda, had woken up and were gleefully announcing the imminent release of their (self proclaimed) "mechanical" tour de force, the CBX. Kawasaki needed a response and delivered it in 1979 with the Z1300, a motorcycle that looked as if it had been designed with a marker pen instead of a fine liner. Here was a machine that out torqued the Yamaha, could hide a Suzuki in its tyre smoke with the twitch of the right hand and technically made the CBX look like a moped. It quite simply was bigger, more powerful (120bhp) and more complex than its rivals or anything that had come before and consequently stunned the motorcycle world. The liquid cooled across the frame, twin cam six was housed in a traditional frame with twin rear shocks and telescopic forks . Shaft drive was employed to transmit the power and twin 260mm discs helped slow the monster down. Fuelled and ready to go the big Zed easily tipped the scales at over 700lbs, could achieve 130mph plus and destroy a rear tyre in 3000 miles. It was also exceptional at covering vast distances at high speed two up with luggage and prompted discussions about voluntary power limits and weight lifting training programmes in parliaments and bars around the world. Image kindly provided by www.classic-auctions.co.uk.
Kawasaki Z1300 A5