Kawasaki Z1 Super 4 – Black Head

2 March 2021

The 70s. These are the years of freedom and transgression, of political struggles but above all of great creativity in all fields: years that saw the birth of revolutionary innovations especially in the motorbikes. In that era of consumerism and change, one of the most beautiful and important motorcycles was born in the two-wheel panorama: the Kawasaki Z1.

The troubled 5-year project cut the starting line in 1967, when Kawasaki Heavy Industries motorbike division decided to point its marketing in America. Following a series of surveys carried out in the USA, designers outline the first dictates of the new project: a secretly hidden project, to avoid any "unfair competition" by other brands, under the unusual name of “New York Steak”.

Gyochi Inamura, commonly known in the world of motorbikes as "Ben Mister Z1", is at the head of the project, who begins to trace the contours of the new engine that initially had to be 750cc, 4 cylinders in line with double overhead camshaft. The goal is to take out the competition, but in a completely unexpected moment it is Honda that take the first step: in 1968 during the Tokyo Motor Show is shown what will be for Kawasaki the major challenge: the Honda CB750. A bike so modern that all the remaining price list of the 70s immediately ages.
Gyochi Inamura decides to take up the challenge and dare with the aim of doing better.

The work of Kawasaki designers is incessant, until the birth of an engine with a larger cubage, 903cc to be precise: it proves to be lightning on the road. As much as 95 hp and a top speed of 225 km/h, even too many for a prototype that has some youth gaps. After a thorough review of the projects, more than 21000 km secretly traveled during the test in the USA in just two weeks, and two records in the Stock Bike category of the AMA championship, Gyochi "Ben" Inamura declares himself satisfied with the Z1.

5 years after the beginning of the works, exactly at the Cologne Motor Show in 1972, Kawasaki presents his creation to the world: the Kawasaki Super Four Z1 900. Such a resounding success that for the first time the term "Superbike" was created. Compared to its eternal rival, the Honda CB750, the Z1 has a larger displacement, more power, a more modern line, performance and cycling of an extraordinary motorcycle.

The Kawasaki myth begins with the first series (the bike of the following article, for sale at Ruote da Sogno Showroom) called Z1 900 Super Four and produced from 1972 to 1973, recognizable by different details such as: two-tone painting on the tank with two large drops on the sides (in our case "candy green/yellow"), head, cylinders and part of the engine casings colored in black that give it the nickname "black head".


The standard engine undergoes a slight undergrade compared to the prototypes due to the durability, powered by 4 28mm Mikuni VM carburetors, capable of 82 hp at 8500 rpm. The 230 kgs are fluid and easy to handle: thanks to an excellent balance of the frame.
A worldwide success that was repeated for 4 successive series with some variations, 115,089 units produced in total, 7423 of which were sold in Italy.

The bike of the following blog is available for sale in Ruote da Sogno Showroom.

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