1979 Kawasaki KZ1300-A1
Arguably the most bullet proof, advanced and over engineered bike made -- in a league of its own
Nothing to report so far. It's reliable and runs great.
Cam chain tensioner has not been replaced, though I'm considering it.
Initially, one cylinder was dead or mis-firing. But this cleared up on it's own after a bit of driving.
Bike was imported in (used) from South Africa, so this is German/European Z1300 model (but without the HP limitation). It was obviously well maintained and in 'high speed open road tune' from all those South African bush roads when I took ownership.
Overall, this is an amazing machine, even to this day. It's big, comfortable, torquey, reliable, SMOOTH and fast... in a subtlety understated way. It comes on like a freight train, and is rock steady on the interstate. Seemingly impervious to cross winds, gusts and semi truck bow waves. But it is surprisingly nimble and a good handler -- for it's size and weight. Quiet too... a bit too quiet... but with a NICE muffled powerful sound. Not a 'flashy' six like the CBX or Benelli Sei. Probably that's why it didn't sell well. How would you type cast or position/market this bike? It's in an unique category of it's own.
I still can't believe these didn't sell better back in the day. It's much 'better' (IMHO) than Honda CBX or original Bennelli 750 Sei (which I also own). Water cooled, longer stroke, shaft drive and 3 into 2 carbs make it much more civilized, quiet and less frenetic than CBX. But it has big power rush just the same and it doesn't seem to make a difference which gear you're in... :-) Only wish it was made with 6 speed tranny instead of 5 speed as it has the power and legs to support an 'overdrive' gear in the top end. Kawasaki missed an opportunity there I think...6 cyl, 3 carb, 6 speed. :-) Agree with comment about running hot in traffic though...
Sure it's big and heavy. Sure newer bikes w/much smaller engines wax it. Who cares? For comfort on high way AND backroads -- this bike does it all. And with great ergonomics, comfort and a 'secure' and stable feeling. Gas mileage is directly proportional to how hard you push it. I get between 30 to 38 MPG... so what's wrong with that? No wonder it became the Voyager. Definitely a GT bike. Find a good one though!!! Sorting out anything on this bike will cost you many pretty pennies. PS... mine is NOT for sale. :-)
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 8th September, 2009
1st Feb 2010, 20:39
Agree totally. I have had 2 of them, both bought new. It's a Jaguar XKE, not a Ferrari. It's BIG, and comfortable for all day riding. and plenty quick for non racing speeds.
The reason it didn't sell well was that Honda had come out with the INTERSTATE package, which was a much better integrated package than Kawasaki offered. Kawasaki just bolted on modified Vetter bags, and a few optional UGLY (But immensely practical) Fairings, and side by side, the Honda beat it hands down. I bought the 1300 because I did not like the way that the Goldwing felt in slow corners; the 1300 felt more stable and controllable to me.