Kawasaki Z1000J: Emotional Rebuild
Words: Jeff Ware Photography: Nigel Anderson
Owning a bike for life is one of those experiences that few motorcyclists enjoy. Most of us either have to sell a bike to pay bills, trade for a newer model by choice, or throw a bike or two down the road.
However, keeping a bike for good, from new, should be a goal for all of us riders.
Having owned my trust RZ125 since 1999, although 14 years old when I got it, I feel an attachment to that bike like no other. I’ll never sell it. Owning a bike from new since 1981 must be love on a much bigger scale…
Nigel Anderson bought this stunning Z1000J brand spanking new way, way back in 1981 back in his native South Africa. “I bought the bike for $3000 new, says Nigel, “The choice was easy, as the Z1000J was the superbike of the day. It was the evolution of the Z9”…
After a few years of use riding in SA Nigel moved to Australia. Of course, the Z1000J had to come with him so was crated up and shipped off for the long haul.
A few more years use here in Australia then the bike was crashed and parked in Nigel’s garage.
In 2011 Nigel decided to completely restore the bike back to better than new condition.
The entire bike was stripped back to every last nut and bolt. The mint original 29,000km engine was checked over and given the green light with only valve clearances required, however, some running gear was replaced.
New coils were fitted along with leads and caps. New spark plugs went in, and the Mikuni CV carburettors were completely stripped and rebuilt. A new stock airfilter went in as well as new standard inlet manifolds. Nigel even managed to find a brand new stock exhaust system in Japan!
Lloyd Penn MC in Artarmon, Sydney, tuned the engine then Nigel turned his attention to the chassis.
The frame was stripped and sandblasted by Laurie Alderton and re-painted original black with 2-pk paint by John at Mototech. Triple-clamps and bars and all alloy was polished to a new shine and the forks were rebuilt to standard specification. A set of Ikon shocks went on the rear.
The next job was rebuilding the calipers with fresh seals and fluids. Kawasaki OEM brake pads were fitted and Hel brake lines. Front and rear wheel bearings went in and the rims were cleaned up to brand new with fresh rubber fitted.
The bodywork had to be perfect to set this bike off, so the seat was sent off and re-covered in black leather while all bodywork including the fuel tank went to Collideascope in Hornsby, NSW, to be painted the original colour and design.
Even the switch blocks were re-engraved and painted to look new again. The clocks were like new but the housing looked old so was re-painted and anything chrome was re-chromed by Blu-Chrome in Bankstown, NSW.
The finished product is simply stunning. Just take a look at the images…
“I’ve put around 400 hours into this bike,” admits Nigel, “It will never be sold. This was an emotional rebuild, having owned the bike since new. I am now halfway through a CB750K1. I have a K0 to do next, then I’ll get a Jaffa”.
Sounds like Nigel is well and truly stuck in 1981. Lucky man!
SPECIFICATIONS 1981 Z1000J
ENGINE: DOHC inline four-cylinder air-cooled, eight-valve 998cc four-stroke, 69.4 x 66mm, 9.2:1 compression, five-speed gearbox, wet multi-plate clutch, Mikuni CV carburettors, electronic ignition
PERFORMANCE: 98hp@8500rpm, top speed 211km/h
CHASSIS: 21L fuel tank, 19in front wheel, 18in rear wheel, dual front rotors, single rear rotor, twin piston calipers, twin Ikon rear shocks, non-adjustable telescopic front forks
BODYWORK: Original bodywork repainted to OEM colours, leather covered seat