I can empathize about the beach. Some years ago I moved from the Arizona desert to fog shrouded Monterey, CA. I watched helpless as my bikes rotted before my eyes. The oceanside is a great place for people—for bikes, less so.
Having looked at some Z1 threads it got me thinking about being a Z1 owner in the 70's and 80's compared to recent times.
When I bought my 1973 in 1979 the 72/73 Z1 was the red headed stepchild of the Z series. It was actually the least desirable bike as the Z1a, Z1b, Z, and Z1000 bikes had come out, each with improvements and styling updates. I bought the 73 because I couldnt afford any of the later model bikes.
From 1973 onwards the Kawasaki 900's were being crashed all the time, it was almost like a rite of passage to Kwaka 9 ownership. The number 1 question when buying was "is the frame straight ?" The number 1 statement when selling was "the frame is straight / the frame has been replaced" The 900 frame left a bit to be desired, was easily bent in a severe enough crash and was the first point of criticism from the anti Kawasaki brigade of the time. the most popular put down line of the time was "I hear these things frames are made from spaghetti !" It was a comment that was mildly amusing the first 389 times I heard it, but then started to get a bit old.
Back then no one actually cared what the frame number was. Fast forward to today and the number 1 question is "what is the frame number ?"
The identity and value of the Z1 bike today is centered around its frame number.
Back in the day I doubt that too many people even knew about date stamps on particular components, I know I certainly didnt.
Things have changed in recent times, the collectible/ muscle car market has gone crazy and motorbikes have been caught up in the nostalgia.
Now if only I had known then, what I know now, I would have gone around buying up all those 72 and 73 bent frames and storing them away !
1973 Z1 900 Kawasaki
The following user(s) said Thank You: kzstreetfighter71
"Only a ginger can call another ginger "ginger"". (Tim Minchin)
I had a 75 that I bought brand new. I rode it for several years before switching the exhaust when it rusted out. In 78 I switched tanks because mine was beginning to peel. I left the tank, side covers and tail piece in my Dad's garage. It sat there for years before he asked if he could throw them out. I finally said OK. Around 1985 I sold the bike for $500 to buy a small boat motor. In 2014 when I got back into biking I advertised in the paper where I once lived to see if my old bike was still around, but I got no response.
I have several restored bikes along with a 2006 Goldwing with a sidecar. My wife has a 2019 Suzuki DR 650 for on and off road.
slmjim still has his first Z1, a late-'73 manufacture date green/yellow Z1-A he bought new in March, '74. It remains the period custom it became over the decades, but still with the OEM green/yellow livery. It would be an easy one-day project to return it to original except for the rims that disappeared from his Mom's garage during a cleaning frenzy in the mid '80's. The spoke wheels were replaced with then-new Lester mags in the mid '70's.
We have a correct set of 4-4 pipes for it, as it currently has Jardine 4/2 crossover headers feeding Bassani mufflers. The main thing is, that it survived slmjim's goofy urge at one time (circa 1980's) to repaint the tankset in a black & white checkerboard scheme. An acquaintance who turned out to be wiser than slmjim counseled against doing so and, that advice plus the cost of the project resulted in the OEM paint surviving in VGC today.
In the day, tens of thousands of decent 4-4 pipes landed in dumpsters in favor of aftermarket 4/2 and 4/1 systems. The refrain "Had we known then what we know now" comes to mind...
slmjim & Z1BEBE
A biker looks at your engine and chrome.
A Rider looks at your odometer and tags.