Sunday, August 01, 2010


I must be crazy

And I probably am, but I just couldn't help it. As of two weeks ago, I am the proud owner of a very troublesome 1978 KZ1000 Limited.

The photo at right shows the bike on the day I got her. She runs strong, but needed just about everything you'd expect: tires, tubes, paint, lots of engine polishing, new carb kits, some minor electrical work, and a battery. So far, I've taken care of the battery and begun the arduous task of polishing. I repainted the frame myself in gloss black, but will have the fender, tank, and side covers done professionally. All the other aforementioned parts are on order, and should be arriving over the course of the coming week. There's no such thing as getting into an old motorcycle cheaply if you intend to do it right.

So, "Why do it?" some would ask. "Why put all that time and money into an ancient Japanese superbike that can't hold a candle to the burning sun of modern motorcycle performance?" Well, if you don't understand why, it probably won't do much good explaining, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

The first thing you need to understand about the KZ is that it's one of the motorcycles of my childhood. I had an uncle, some cousins, and a father (my biological father, to be exact, whom I've not seen in decades -- long story) who were all into Z bikes at one time or another. It seems every time I turned around from the ages of five to twelve years old, someone in my family was sporting a Kawi triple or KZ. I got to touch them, smell them, sit on them, and go for rides on them pretty regularly during that time. So resultantly, there's a special place for them in my heart. In fact, the early Kawasaki superbikes are a big part of the reason I'm hooked on motorcycling today, and am strangely drawn to Kawasakis in particular. I do own four now, after all. Not to mention the other four I've owned previously.

Beyond that, I look at the restoration and ownership of my KZ as sort of a sacred thing. Somebody has to keep these old bikes alive and kicking. They're important. They're historical. They're just flat-out awesome pieces of motorcycling's past.

I'll keep you all posted with regular updates on my progress with the KZ. As with all old-bike purchases, you never really know what you're getting into until you're in the thick of things, and so I'm hoping for no surprises. Wish me luck.

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