October 26, 2016 Feng

Project 101


Make Kawaskai
Model KZ1000 A1
Year 1977
Engine Type DOHC 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, Air cooled, dual overhead camshaft
Bore x stroke 70mm x 66mm
Displacement 1015 cc
Rated output 83 hp at 8000 rpm
Maximum torque 81 kg-meter at 6500 rpm
Compression ratio 8.7: 1
Carburetors Keihn Racing Roundside CR33 Sidedraft Carbs
Gas 90+ Octane
Oil Rotella T 15W-40
Oil Additive Red Line Break-in with Zinc
Oil Capacity 3.7 liters
Starting System Electrical and Kick
Gas Tank Capacity 4.4 gallons
Exhaust Marving header, straight pipe.
Maximum speed 131 mph
Braking Distance 10 meters @40 mph
Fuel type Premium Unleaded, w/ Red Line Oil Additive
Electrical system
Spark Plugs NKG B8ES
Ignition Dyna DS2-1 Electronic Ignition , 3ohm Dual Output Coils
Control Motogadget M-Unit V.2
Harness Custom Wiring Harness
Battery Anitgravity High Power Lithium 12 Cell
Type 5 speed, constant mesh, return shift
Clutch 5 speed, constant mesh, return shift Multi-disc wet clutch, mechanically operated
Frame Unmodified.  Sandblasted. Powder coated.
Front Suspension Race Techsprings, fork tubes, gold valve emulators, fork stabilizer brace
Rear Suspension Race Tech custom GS-3 rear twin shocks.
Wheelbase 60″, 1505mm
Steering Angle 41 degrees left/right
Dry Weight 475 lbs
Seat Custom leather seat. Original seat pan
Wheels Stainless Spokes, Powder coated rims.
Rim, front 3.25 x 19″
Rim, rear 4.00 x 18″
Front Tire Shinko 705 Dual Sport 110/80 R 18
Rear Tire Shinko 705 Dual Sport 120/80 H 18
Brake, front Dual disc, 250mm diameter, single 38mm piston caliper
Brake, rear Single disc, diameter 250mm, dual-piston caliper


The Kawasaki KZ1000 was a motorcycle made in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and released in September 1976 as a model to replace the Z1 and KZ900. It has an inline-four cylinder engine, wet clutch, and a 5-speed transmission, in a ‘one down and four up’ configuration. Producing just over 83 horsepower with a maximum speed of 131mph, it was the fastest production motorcycle of its era and won the AMA Superbike Championships in 1977 and 1978.

Below is an original stock image of the bike when it released in late 1976.

The huge success of the 1977 Z1000 A1 was due in part to the massive marketing budget that Kawasaki allocated to the model and the dealersincentives they provided to get them off the showroom floor. The suits at corporate had invested heavily in ensuring that this launch would be a worldwide success and the American, Japanese, and European markets were saturated with advertisements and promotional events. The bike was well received by just about everyone and quickly became the must have gear head toy of the late 1970’s. It’s powerful engine, clean lines, torque, and detailed styling blew away any of the other bikes in the large 4 cylinder category. When the bike took top honors at the AMA Superbike Championships in 1977 and 1978, it all but solidified the legendary status of this classic motorcycle.

Below is a rare photo of the sell sheet that was advertised in major publications and given to dealers to ‘wet the whistle’ of potential buyers.


In the spring of 2012 we were contacted by a friend who had seen the bike we ended up purchasing for this build in a barn in Mystic, Connecticut.

Three years later, we headed up the east coast and spent two days stalking the property where the barn was supposedly located. On the edge of giving up hope and on our last day we came across the owner, a local stonemason, whowas more than happy to give a proper Amercian Pickers tour of his land and show us the barn where the bike was purported to be.

He told us he had inherited the bike from his father at age 19. His father, also a stonemason, had purchased the bike in December of 1977 in Michigan as a Christmas gift to himself. He had rode it for four years, logging only 17,459 original miles.

The son never rode the bike, but he drained the gas and fluids and prepped for the bike for winter storage in 1981 hoping to get his motorcycle license and ride it in the spring of 1982. That never happened. The bike sat in his barn, wrapped and covered, somewhat expertly, by three old bed sheets and a spool of yarn. Within 10 minutes of unwrapping the sheets and seeing the pristine condition of this bike, we had purchased it for $1000 cash and few beers at the local pub.


Our focus on this build was to pay homage to the original and restore the bike with a mix of modern technology and NOS/OEM parts. We decided that Project 101 would be ground up restoration and rebuild and in the summer of 2016 we tore right into her.

Here are some of the things we did to make this 1970’s superbike faster, stronger, lighter, and more agile than the factory original model.


We researched, sourced and purchased every original manual that was issued by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in 1977 for the KZ1000 A1. We have scanned, cleaned, formatted, and digitized them for your reading pleasure. Please feel free to download them (for free of course).