Kawasaki Z OwnersVictoria  

"The following content is from www.kawasakiz1.com and is reproduced with the permission of Paul Mercer. All photographs are subject to copyright of the respective owners who are mentioned on Paul's website."

Kawasaki Z1R

In 1978, Kawasaki introduced the Z1000-D1, better known as the Z1-R. This was a factory customised motorcycle featuring a small handlebar fairing, a four into one exhaust system and eighteen inch, seven spoke cast alloy wheels at the front and rear.

The Z1-R had twin drilled disc brakes up front with a single drilled disc at the rear.

The Z1-R was the first of the Kawasakis to feature the new angular look and was finished in a light metallic blue described by Kawasaki as Metallic Stardust Silver. The fairing and front mudguard were also finished in this colour.

The wheels were finished in black with polished edges to the spokes and rims.

The slimline angular fuel tank was only 13 litres in capacity. The KAWASAKI badges on the fuel tank were the same as those fitted to the standard Z1000.

A larger capacity 22 litre fuel tank later became available. This tank featured Kawasaki badges in the style of the later Z1000 Mk II.

The instruments of the Z1-R featured a speedometer on the left calibrated to 240kph and 20 kilometer increments. The tachometer was calibrated to 11000rpm with the redline starting at 8500rpm.

The warning lights between the speedometer and tachometer were, from top to bottom, NEUTRAL, HIGH BEAM, TURN and OIL. Set into the tachometer were warning lights for REAR LAMP, HAZARD and STOP LAMP.

bove the speedometer and tachometer were rectangular FUEL and AMP gauges.

he engine of the Z1-R was finished in black and was very similar to the early Z1, however, the edges of the cooling fins were not polished as on the Z1. A return to 28mm carburettors enabled a power increase to 90 bhp.

Although the kickstarter mechanism was still present, the kickstarter lever was replaced by an emergency lever that was kept under the seat.

Unfortunately, European sales of the Z1-R were not as good as Kawasaki had hoped.

In an effort to reduce stocks, Kawasaki Germany introduced the Z1000S in late 1978. This was a standard Z1000-D1 Z1-R in Metallic Stardust Silver fitted with the larger 22 litre fuel tank and the four into four exhaust system from the Z900.

In 1979, the Z1000-D2 was introduced. This was basically a MkII engined version of the Z1-R and featured a four into two exhaust and a nineteen inch front wheel. It was available in Ebony or Luminous Dark Red.

The model was continued into 1980 as the Z1000-D3 when it was only available in Ebony.


In 1978, in association with the American Turbo Cycle company, Kawasaki also introduced a turbo charged version of the Z1-R known as the Z1-R TC using a turbo charger developed by the Turbo-Pak Company. This machine could produce between 105 to 145 bhp depending on how much boost pressure was applied.

Around two hundred Z1-R TCs were produced in the standard Z1-R colour scheme.

A further two hundred or so Z1-R TCs were produced in Black with Yellow, Orange and Red stripes on the fairing, fuel tank and tail piece.
These were known as the "Molly" Z1-R TCs after Rollin "Molly" Sanders, the hot rod and custom designer who, until his death in 2010, ran a custom paint shop in California.

It was "Molly" who was responsible for the Lime Green Kawasaki race team colours after Kawasaki executives approached him in the early 1970s asking him to come up with a colour scheme that would set them apart from the rest of the crowd.

He also designed the Yellow, Black and White graphics for the Yamaha race team made famous by Kenny Roberts in the late 1970s.

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