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My Route To KZ1300 Ownership 10 years 4 months ago #1442

  • biltonjim
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My first motorcycle was a Honda CB250-G bought second hand in 1977. I passed my test on that bike, then began considering what to get next. I was quite attracted to the Honda CB550 K3, and the Yamaha XS750, but the Japanese superbike war broke out before I made my choice. In a the space of a few months, the Honda CBX, Yamaha XS1100, and Suzuki GS1000 were unveiled. The CBX was tremendously appealing, but financially beyond reach. The GS1000 was nice, but looked just like most other four cylinder bikes. The XS1100, however, had power packed styling,shaft drive,three large disc brakes,superb self cancelling indicators, great details such as socket screws on the engine casings (instead of those dreaded cross head screws the Japs seemed so fond of) and of course - that astounding engine. It was everything I wanted in a bike, so 15th June 1978 I took delivery of a brand new maroon XS1100. The machine exceeded all my expectations, except one: the paint finish on the frame was terrible. Within months, rust was visible around the frame welds. The fuel tank was bare unpainted metal in places on the underside - cost cutting in the extreme! Well, I can't live with things that are not right, so ten months after buying the bike, I decided to completely strip it and re-finish as necessary. I got the frame and various fittings powder coated, painted a multitude of fittings and components, exhausts re-chromed, and used stainless fasteners for assembly. It took me five months, working each evening. The bike looked great, and I was very proud of it.
In 1980, I visited the annual motorcycle show in Birmingham, England. Walking through the car park as I was about to leave, I heard an engine being warmed up with a series of vigorous twists of the throttle. It sounded smooth, quiet, and wonderful. My eyes sought out the source of the sound, and there, asserting its presence amongst a sea of other more common bikes, was a mighty Kawasaki 1300. The sound and sight of the machine stayed in my mind long afterwards.
A few months later, whilst riding to work on my XS1100, I noticed a bike catching me up at a rapid rate from behind. As it came closer, and then blasted past as though I was standing still, the unmistakable profile and sound left me in no doubt as to the make and model - a Kawasaki Z1300. That was it - the seeds of desire were sown! I began to consider buying one. After some investigation, I found out that the 1981 A3 model on sale in the USA had a new design of fuel tank, which I liked more than the european version available here in England. So I looked into ordering a US spec. A3. Unfortunately, a change in personal circumstances caused me to shelve the idea at the last minute.
I sold the XS1100 in 2000. I had a break from owning a bike until 2012, when I bought a Yamaha XJR1300 – a fantastic looking motorcycle - in need of cosmetic restoration. Unfortunately, an offer of workshop facilities in which to carry out the work fell through, so I had to sell the bike. Logic dictated that I should resist buying another bike until I had somewhere to work on it, but logic went out of the window last December when I bought a KZ1300 A4 off eBay. It was a rare opportunity to buy a US specification 1300 in the UK, and since the price was quite low, I placed a bid in the last few seconds of the auction, and won it. The bike needs lots of re-finishing, in fact I plan a full strip down to powder coat the frame and paint the engine etc.. It also needs the cam chain tensioner modification and carbs cleaning. Hundreds of hours work I am sure, but what rewarding work! The bike is just astounding to look at, despite its beauty being withered by the passage of time and neglect. It seems to have an aura around it. And the thought of what it COULD look like when renovated just fires me with enthusiasm! I just need to find a suitable garage to rent in which to do the work. I can’t wait to get started

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My Route To KZ1300 Ownership 10 years 4 months ago #1448

  • strate6
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Well done mate, that story was honest & straight from the heart........where all the best ones come from........it was a great one to read start to finish.

I read that with so much interest, as its so familiar & similar with my own being a 50 year old English Biker who had the good fortune to live thru the same era of Jap Muscle bikes as you did and be caught by the Z1300 addiction.

We have a lot in common & both have superb taste in bikes. !!
It would be good to meet you one day soon......with a very good mate of mine who lives 3 miles away.......and owns two Z1300's himself too.
We are so lucky Brother Bill made this site the conduit to being in touch......!!

Maybe this summer ?

Respect.

Pete F
Northumberland UK
Why Have Four When You Can Have Six ?

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Last edit: by strate6.

My Route To KZ1300 Ownership 10 years 4 months ago #1450

  • tackelhappy
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Yea, nice story !
" If you can't say what you think, very soon you won't be able to think !
OKANAGAN FALLS. BC ,Canada

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My Route To KZ1300 Ownership 10 years 4 months ago #1457

  • Toddh
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Speaking of the XS1100, who remembers those Hitachi carburetors? I recall in the mid 80's Yamaha stopped making those parts available, making a carb overhaul quite difficult.

Some people speak of how difficult our BSW carbs are on the 1300, try a set of those Hitachi carbs.......

Best of success on your A-4 refurbishment.

Todd.
KZ1300 A-4 4TH 1300 IN 30 YEARS
KZ1000 D-3/ Z1R
ZX900 GPZ A-3
KZ750 E-1
K1200GT
CB750F 1978

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Last edit: by Toddh.

My Route To KZ1300 Ownership 10 years 4 months ago #1459

  • strate6
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Hitachi Carbs ?

They must have only fitted them to USA models. All the XS1100's I worked on were regular Mikuni Carbs ?

Interesting as I never knew Hitachi ever made carbs.

Pete F
Why Have Four When You Can Have Six ?

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My Route To KZ1300 Ownership 10 years 4 months ago #1475

  • RickG
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I used Hitachi carbs on a few cars in the early 70s
Live your life so that the Westbro Baptist Church will want to picket your funeral
Z1300 A1 x 2

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