Tell me about the KZ750 twins!
This is a discussion on Tell me about the KZ750 twins! within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; I have a chance to pick up a 1978 KZ750 twin,titled project bike for $300.00.
I would look to put some Cafe style bits on ...
Tell me about the KZ750 twins!
Tell me about the KZ750 twins!
I have a chance to pick up a 1978 KZ750 twin,titled project bike for $300.00.
I would look to put some Cafe style bits on it such as drag or clubman bars,cut down seat(but keep rear tail),small turn signals,bar end mirrors,smaller tail lamp,
It needs a lot work of course,but I was just wanting to pick up some pros and cons of this unique KZ model. I believe they were only made the the U.S market from 1976 to 1978.
I know they don't make much power(about 55 H.P.)and are quite heavy for what they are.
I do like the fact that they have both electric and kick starters(just seems uh..right.
They have a nice standard(U.J.M.)style and lend themselves very well to the Cafe treatment without too much trouble.
Edited by - coolatula on Jan 12 2008 4:49:09 PM
I am a big KZ fan and am pretty familiar with the 750 twins. The general thought is that they are dogs. As you said they are very underpowered (55hp but feels like 30) and htoo heavy for a twin. Parts are easy to find a fairly cheap because you will not be fighting people on ebay for them. Check out www.kzrider.com. You can see some pics and ask some questions. There are over 10,600 members there, all KZ so they can answer any question you have. $300 seems pretty high for a project bike in the winter time )assuming you are in the states), especially if it is not running. A non running, titled KZ750 twin whould be around $175 unless the paint and chrome is very nice. Cash alwasy talks so see if you can get the price down a bit.
73 Triumph Bonnie 750
80 KZ1000 drag/street
I agree on the price and didn't act too interested in it when I talked to the guy who had it. The fact is it's just not a very desirable model around here and in rough shape. I will let him sit on it for a while and see if he comes down on it some.
I lost out on getting a running,titled 1983 KZ1100 shafty today because I waited until today to try and get it. It was NOT a big deal to me and neither is this bike.
If they were KZ750 fours/KZ1000 then I would have had them both in my garage LAST NIGHT!
I have gotten a lot of bikes cheap,but they where also very rough to begin with. I can triple my money on parts with very cheap bikes,but for bikes I want to fix up it's hard to pay a good price,put MORE cash into them and make any money on them.
I do have my eye on a old GS750 that's been sitting around for a while
that I could get for $100.00 or so. I also know where there is a titled KZ750 LTD four cyl. that needs work for $200.00.
I would like a nice project bike I could fix up and ride for the season this year and sell it at my leisure and if I break even then hey that's fine. I just don't want to put so much cash into one only to take a bath if I decide to sell it.
Edited by - coolatula on Jan 12 2008 6:28:37 PM
all you need to know is they are a bike best described as being at the bottom of a lake....I however disagree with that statement slightly as I would not suffer mother nature the indignity of having to shelter those things.
The KZ750 four however is a cool bike, and if you can find the super rare Z2 750 (supposedly never imported into NA but there is at least 2 here in the states and about a dozen in canada) then you have yourself a real cool kz750.
Geeto is absolutely wrong!! I believe the KZ750 twin is a perfectly good lump to use in a cafe project. It has some deficiencies if compared to the fours of the time but it is what it is. A 750 vertical twin is a classic cafe type engine. I would consider sticking a 4ls front brake on it and give it a more Brit look for fun.
Vintage racing - old guys on old bikes
I have always liked the looks of the KZ750 twin.
All the major parts are approximately in the right place, and it has a tough-looking motor. Seems like it has cafe potential.
One came up for sale near me awhile back, so I researched it. The advice I got was that they vibrate a lot and they are too heavy for their power output. So I passed on it. But later, after I thought about it, I was sorry I didn't buy it. So what if it vibrates? Lots of parallel twins do. And maybe you could smooth it out with some careful tuning or blueprinting/balancing. It's hard to imagine that motor could not be hopped up and smoothed out. And so what if it's heavy? Stripping off excess weight is what cafe building is all about.
Far be it from me to disagree with Geeto on a matter of fact. But I will disagree on a matter of principle: I would not discourage someone from buying a bike that may have a few engineering challenges. Where's the glory in starting with a bike that is so refined that it only needs a few changes to make a decent cafe bike out of it (*cough* CB750 *cough*)? Nothing is cooler than finding potential where no one else could. And it's only $300 dollars anyway.
I personally get a big kick out of taking a bike that never really handled well, and sorting it out. Are the shocks too short? DO the forks have too much rebound damping? Are the fork springs too soft? Figure it out and the bike is transformed.
Different topic, but too lazy to start another thread: Remember those Yamaha TX750s from the early 70s? Lots of guys talk those down, but what was supposed to be wrong with them? They're parallel twins and they look pretty good. But I have never seen one made into a cafe racer.
Edited by - steve barker on Jan 13 2008 11:24:57 PM
Edited by - steve barker on Jan 13 2008 11:33:46 PM
Years ago a super clean KZ750 twin came into the Rice Paddy; painted purple and cheesy-chromed to the max. We called it "Purple Rain" -- which led to a big debate over what kind of bike was actually used in the movie, turns out the Purple Rain bike was a CM400A (hmmmm, ghey?).
The KZ eventually got stripped and parted out, now long gone. Another one just came in last week, and as we're standing there looking at it just yesterday we had the same discussion about the cafe-worthiness of these bikes.
Hell, yeah. Why not? If I remember right, the top of the frame is nice and flat where the seat mounts and the tank mounts on a nice straight line with the seat, making it potentially an easier bike to do some tank/seat mods...
They do kinda remind me of a KZ400 on steroids though.
The owner of the Paddy's got a Z2. One of his pride-and-joy bikes. Hell, its painted on the sign out front.
Honda go sideways!
Forget it's cafeability potential or whatever...let's start off with the stock bike and it's many flaws. For starters (and while this probably doesn't matter if you cafe it) but the stock bike is uncomfortable. Kawasaki couldn't decide whether these bikes were standards or cruisers or super bikes so it has a really odd riding position which is unusually uncomfortable for just about anybody who rides them.
The vibrations that these bikes have are usually internal vibrations that cannot be smoothed out through tuning. This isn't the good vibration of a brit or honda twin, but the vibration of the balancer chain and balancer shafts loosing the good fight against the normal operation of the engine, plus it makes it 3x as hard to fix anything when you are taking it apart. They have notorious starter clutch problems also. When building this engine, kawasaki looked at their kz400 and basically just made everything bigger.
weight is a factor too as been mentioned by everyone else, but let's put this in perspective: it weights slightly more than a GT750 water buffalo wet and it makes about the same power output as a cb550 (at the crank it is 55, which means at the rear wheel is somewhere in the 40's). the one thing it does have going for it is that it makes 44 ft-lbs of torque which is a lot for any twin, but still not eunogh to make this lump feel sporty.
The chassis has a piss poor layout too. It pitches up by the gas tank to raise the front end up so they could have a "sporting" 28 degrees of rake with a lot of trail. The front suspension these bikes has a lot of travel and is pretty mushy. The frame is exceedingly heavy for what it is - compare a stripped one next to any brit twin and you will think you are looking at an ATV chassis.
the surprising thing about this bike is that the electrics are appalling on it. Japanese electrics are supposed to be top notch in the motorcycle world but not these bikes, they had everything from stator problems to fuse holder problems. For some reason, the company famous for pioneering CDI on motorcycles decided to go with a breaker point ignition on the kz750 twin. Normally breaker point ignitions are fine ignitions, but the kz750s tend to wear through the points faster than a lot of other bikes (I suspect because of the vibration). These bikes also were known to burn through ignition switches fairly regularly.
When I lived in new orleans, a friend of mine let one of the 1977 models follow him home. We worked on that bike for 2 weeks straight and still couldn't get it to run right. It was just a nightmare. We rewired most of the bike, rebuilt the carbs a dozen times, and were constantly replacing things that vibrated loose on the bike. We fought with the thing on a daily basis and in the end the bike was so determined to go to the junkyard we eventually had to stop fighting to keep her roadworthy.
My advice to anyone considering buying one of these and can't be talked out of it....buy a runner. Seriously, no projects with this bike. If maintained properly the bike will go for a long while (there are a few guys who have 50K-60K miles on them), but the moment you start to slack on the maintenance the bike will beat itself to death and multiple things will go wrong all at once.
I am a Kawasaki freak but I avoid these bikes like a 2 dollar hooker after Fleet Week. You can make them look the part but I think you'll be really dissapointed that you spent the time on it. Unless you just want to try something different. If that's the case, have at it.
Gas Right, Clutch Left
Thanks for the replies. I really don't know if I want to give $300.00 for this thing and then stick $400-500 just to make it run well and presentable.
That's why I'm going to hold out for a while and see if the owner will come down or trade for something I may have he might be interested in.
A buddy of mine saw a KZ550 LTD that was pretty complete in some tiny little town about 35-40 miles away. I already have two KZ550 LTD parts bikes and I would like to get a titled frame or a mostly complete titled bike to fix up,so I may look at it instead of this KZ750 twin.
I actually really like the looks of the KZ750 twins all except the weird shaped side covers.
What I really want is a metallic green,wire wheeled KZ650 like my buddy has(He got his at a Pawn shop for $600). I absolutely love those bikes(always have)and will get one pretty soon even if I have to get a frame and build it piece by piece until it's how I want it.
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