Hagerty Feature – 1978 Kawasaki Z1-R

In Japan, Sport by AbhiLeave a Comment

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In a 1978 review of the Z1-R, Cycle Guide described it as such: “The bike has enough raw horsepower to be truly impressive on the straights, but the first rule of handling for a 90hp motorcycle is to give it a 90hp chassis, and that is something the Z1-R doesn’t have.” It was fast, it had distinctive styling, and it was Kawasaki’s flagship. Thanks to a recent restoration, this is one of the cleanest examples I’ve seen for sale. Apparently Hagerty Insurance agrees, as they utilized this Kawi for a photoshoot so it can be featured in some upcoming marketing materials.

The Z1-R was the brainchild of Wayne Moulton, known as the “Father of the Japanese Cruiser.” His belief was that a solid motorcycle could be moderately tweaked to form four versions, one of which is a sport-tourer. The sport-tourer concept that Moulton introduced to this bike included a smaller front wheel, and the cockpit fairing. Possibly due to the fact that the changes did not include extra horsepower, this bike was a commercial flop – some reports claim only 500 were sold over 3 years. Moulton ended up founding a separate company to deal with the leftovers of his failed product. He dealt with the lack of added power by teaming up with American Turbo-Pak of Santa Ana, CA to throw a snail onto the Z1R and create the first turbocharged production motorcycle. For more on the Z1-R, check out this story on Motorcycle Classics.

According to the seller, this example (VIN: KZ1000D002367) was “very nice” but “not perfect” when he first acquired it. He took it apart and then restored the bike over three years. Per the seller, the only incorrect parts are the dual Hagon shocks, which were custom built to match the factory specs as closely as possible. The original shocks are included but the seller says that “they did not come out the way that I’d hoped”.

Here’s a walkaround video if you want more visuals:

Find this Z1-R for sale in Jackson, Michigan with a BIN of $19,800 or best offer

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