1976 Kawasaki Z900 A4 (903cc transverse four)
81bhp, 510 lbs, 130 mph
A Kawasaki development team, under the leadership of Ben Inamura, began development of the Z1 in the late 1960s in secret, under the project name "New York Steak". The objective was to produce the first four stroke four cylinder production bike. They were, however, pipped to the post by Honda's CB 750 in 1968. Consequently Kawasaki held back and upped capacity to 903cc and launched in 1972. With its double overhead camshafts (versus the CB 750's SOHC), outstanding performance and good rideability, it became an instant icon. Some 85,000 Z1s were produced.
The Z900 A4 (4 for the fourth production year) was released in 1976. The frame was stiffened, smaller 26mm Mikuni carbs were fitted (to improve mid-range performance) and a variety of cosmetic changes were also made. Bikes for the US market were assembled in a plant in Lincoln, Nebraska - Kawasaki being the first Japanese motorcycle manufacturer to set up a factory in the USA.
This bike was acquired in 2012 from Classic Bikes (Tom & Will Swinnerton) - who had undertaken a nut and bolt restoration to original spec including the Diamond Dark Green paint job. It was originally a US market bike. It is a great smooth ride - and shows clearly why this bike is so highly regarded.