Kawasaki Kz1000
The Kawasaki Kz1000 is a motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

 manufactured in Japan by Kawasaki
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Consumer Products and Machinery Company
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine is a division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries that produces motorcycles, ATVs, utility vehicles, jet ski personal watercraft, and general-purpose gasoline engines. Before the 2011 fiscal year it was called Consumer Products & Machinery...

 released in September 1976 as a 1977 model to replace the KZ900. It has an in-line 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed transmission, in a 'one down and four up' configuration. Producing about 90 hp, it was the fastest production motorcycle of the era.

In 1979 Kawasaki introduced the KZ1300 liquid-cooled engine, which became the engine for the Voyager touring series. Both models were available for several years. The police model continued in production until 2005.

The Kz1000 was featured in the television show CHiPs
CHiPs is an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios that originally aired on NBC from September 15, 1977, to July 17, 1983. CHiPs followed the lives of two motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol...

, wherein it was ridden by the protagonist characters Ponch and Jon, two California Highway Patrol
California Highway Patrol
The California Highway Patrol is a law enforcement agency of the U.S. state of California. The CHP has patrol jurisdiction over all California highways and also acts as the state police....

 officers. The bike was also used in various other TV shows and feature films such as Great Teacher Onizuka
Great Teacher Onizuka
, officially abbreviated as GTO, is a Japanese shōnen manga written and illustrated by Tohru Fujisawa. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from May 1997 to April 2002. The story focuses on 22-year-old ex-bōsōzoku member Eikichi Onizuka, who becomes a teacher at a private high...

 (a Japanese anime series) and Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction (film)
Chain Reaction is a 1996 American film starring Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman, Rachel Weisz, Brian Cox, Kevin Dunn and Fred Ward. It presents a fictional account of the invention of bubble fusion using sonoluminescence and the attempts by the United States Government to prevent the spreading of this...

 (Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves
Keanu Charles Reeves is a Canadian actor. Reeves is perhaps best known for his roles in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Speed, Point Break and the science fiction-action trilogy The Matrix...

' character's bike). The Kz1000 was also featured heavily in the late 1970s movie Mad Max
Mad Max
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller and revised by Miller and Byron Kennedy over the original script by James McCausland. The film stars Mel Gibson, who was unknown at the time. Its narrative based around the traditional western genre, Mad Max tells a story...

, in which Kawasaki donated

Some of the significant differences between the Kz900 and the Kz1000 include that the latter of the two has a heavier crankshaft for less engine vibration, smoother acceleration and a larger displacement. There were various configurations of specifications and assembly, such as having the choice between chain-drive and shaft-drive.


The KZ900 and subsequent 1000 are often credited with heralding the era of modern superbikes, being the first production "literbike" inline fours. With a factory quarter mile times in the low 12 second range, the KZ's enjoyed many years of straight line domination on the street.

Kawasaki swapped the traditional 4-4 exhaust (available on Z-1 and Kz900) for the cheaper 4-2 exhaust. The Kz1000 series came in either a chain drive
Chain drive
Chain drive is a way of transmitting mechanical power from one place to another. It is often used to convey power to the wheels of a vehicle, particularly bicycles and motorcycles...

 or shaft drive ('79-) to turn the rear wheel.

Tires and rims

The Kz1000P (police) sits on 18 inch wheels with Dunlop run-flat tires. The front tire is size MN90-18, and the back tire is size MR90-18. They came in either a cast magnesium or chrome-plated wire spoke rims.


The Kz1000 came optional with a Windjammer brand
Vetter Fairing Company
The Vetter Fairing Company was a manufacturer of motorcycle accessories including the Windjammer series of fairings. The business was founded by Craig Vetter in 1966, sold in 1978, and bankrupt in 1983. Bell-Riddell Inc. acquired the assets, and produced fairings for a few years.-External links:* *...

Motorcycle fairing
A motorcycle fairing is a shell placed over the frame of some motorcycles, especially racing motorcycles and sport bikes, with the primary purpose to reduce air drag. The secondary functions are the protection of the rider from airborne hazards and wind-induced hypothermia and of the engine...

, saddle bags, a sissy bar
Sissy bar
A sissy bar, also called a "sister bar" or "passenger backrest" is an addition to the rear of a motorcycle that allows the rider or passenger to recline against it while riding...

 and highway bars - all of which were removable without any interference with performance or function. The fairing and saddle bags were molded fiber-glass resin made by Vetter
Vetter may refer to:* Vetter Fairing Company, a manufacturer of motorcycle accessories* Vetter Pharma, a German pharmaceutical company* a variation of Vættir, a supernatural beingFamily name:* Craig Vetter, the founder of the Vetter Fairing Company...

, while the sissy bar and highway bar were chrome plated to accentuate the look. Highway bars were also used for comfort on long trips that didn't require constant shifting or braking and usually held additional lighting, in combination with the single 7 inch halogen
The halogens or halogen elements are a series of nonmetal elements from Group 17 IUPAC Style of the periodic table, comprising fluorine , chlorine , bromine , iodine , and astatine...

 head lamp.

Ride, comfort and size

The Kz1000 series weighed about 525 pounds dry and could approach 140 mph. Compared to modern superbikes, handling and braking only barely accommodated its monstrous power. As a 'middle child' (not a fully loaded cruiser and not a light weight), the Kz1000 rode smoothly and easily took to the open roads for long trips or local errand running.

The frame on the Kz1000 is a very conventional featherbed design, but has not been significantly changed in over 30 years of production. The KZ is generally stable at high speed, but can become unstable above 100 mph.
The large disk rear brake can lock up easily under hard braking but in general the condition is predictable if the front end is properly set up. Frame flex on non J model bikes is an issue when cornering hard with a knee down.

Police use

As a fast, reliable, and relatively maneuverable bike-the Kz1000P was a favorite among Police Departments that utilized motorcycles (Kz1000P and Kz900P were used as the police bikes in the popular TV show C.H.i.P.s.
CHiPs is an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios that originally aired on NBC from September 15, 1977, to July 17, 1983. CHiPs followed the lives of two motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol...


Its quick acceleration, quiet exhaust and relatively light weight made sure that a running criminal wouldn't get very far, the officer would be able to use his radio and if the officer dumped the bike over at any time, chances are, he'd be able to pick it back up without any help. For this and other reasons, caseguards are often seen on these models-protecting the lower engine casing from sustaining any damage or potential oil leakage from falls. The Kz1000 can be outfitted with police gear.
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