Let the Good Times Roll – 1977 Kawasaki KZ650

In Japan, Standard by Tom WackerLeave a Comment

When Kawasaki introduced the 900 CC Z1 in 1972 it was an instant game changer. The Z1 set the 24 hour endurance record at Daytona with 2,631 miles, an average speed of 109 MPH that exceeded the former record by over 19 MPH. The Z1 was on its way to legend status.

In 1977, Kawasaki decided to take on the middleweight class and brought out the KZ650. Known as the son of Z or little Z the KZ650 actually looked much like the Z1 but was a serious redesign that addressed some of the nagging flaws from the Z1. It got a lot of horsepower on the ground and it’s light weight made it a very good handling machine, also. Brakes were considered very good and the KZ650 helped solidify the UJM tag that lives on to this day. The model was an enormous success and clearly lived up to the advertising tag “Let the Good Times Roll”.

The 1977 KZ650 used a 652 CC air cooled overhead cam 8 valve inline four cylinder four carb motor that produced 62 HP through a five speed transmission with a dry weight of 465 LBS pushed the top speed near 120 MPH. A front disc and rear drum brakes stopped the dual cradle framed machine very well for the time. Telescopic front forks and adjustable twin shock rear suspension made for a fine handling motorcycle.

This particular KZ650 (VIN # KZ650B-504707) is in Abilene, Kansas and is listed as a very good running 9,915 mile barn find. This is a B model, the very first KZ650 available and shows pretty well. The bike is available with a Buy It Now price of $3,600

Classic Japanese Bikes
Tech Specs
Classic Motorbikes
Wikipedia (Z1)