2021 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction
1976 Kawasaki Z900 A4 Solo Motorcycle
|Engine||In-line four-cylinder, 903cc|
|Body Work||Diamond Green|
This lot is no longer available
A pioneering industrialist, Shozo Kawasaki’s company was founded in 1896 and manufactured everything from locomotives to steel components, diversifying into aircraft in 1937 and from the end of the Second World War, motorcycle engines. Kawasaki merged with Japan’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, Meguro Works, in 1960 and the company’s first foray into four-stroke design combined the resources of both, with Meguro’s engineers taking charge of the chassis design while Kawasaki developed the engine. Kawasaki engineers had been well underway with a mocked-up 750cc 4-stroke engine in the late ‘60s when Honda burst on the scene with its now-legendary CB750. Work stopped on the project initially, but Kawasaki picked it up again in 1970 and created the Z1 for 1972, the most powerful Japanese four-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle ever made. The Z1 set the world FIM and AMA record for 24-hour endurance on the banked Daytona racetrack in 1972, recording 2,631 miles at an average speed of 109.64 mph. By 1976, the Z1 had morphed into the KZ900, essentially a dressed-up and developed version of the Z1. The new KZ900 was powered by Kawasaki’s 903cc DOHC in-line two-valves per cylinder air cooled four-cylinder engine, which was transverse mounted and driving a five-speed gearbox via chain drive. The engine was good for 81 horsepower at 8500rpm and 53 lb/ft of torque at 7500rpm. The KZ900’s frame was a double tubular steel cradle affair, with telescopic folks up front and dual shocks with five-way preload adjustment at the rear. Overall, the Kawasaki Z900 weighed 230kg and was good for a top speed of 240km/h. The Z900 was ultimately replaced by the KZ1000 in 1977 and has rapidly become one of the most collectible Japanese bikes of the era.