Launched in 1977, the Kawasaki Z650 (KZ650 in North America) was generally often known as the “Son of the Z1” — a middleweight model of the mighty 900cc Z, the “King of the Superbikes.” The 652cc inline 4 packed 64 hp at 8500 rpm, good for a high pace of 126 mph, and Kawasaki was assured sufficient of their new machine to host its unveiling on the unforgiving salt of Bonneville Speedway. The bods at Cycle World had been properly impressed:
“Massive Z’s Little Brother Packs a 750 Punch in a 500 Package deal.” –Cycle World, 1977
A 12 months later, after placing 10,000 miles on their KZ650 check mule, the CW crew hadn’t modified their tune. In actual fact, they had been singing the 650’s praises even louder.
“As a test on all this on the spot enthusiasm we borrowed a inventory 650, with the concept we’d trip it every day and flog it within the curiosity of product analysis and deal with it simply as we’d deal with our personal bike, that’s, the standard combination of over-indulgence and neglect, till the odometer learn 10,000 miles. Then we’d see simply how good the KZ650 is.
Verdict: Good is simply too weak a phrase. The KZ650 is nice.” –Cycle World, 1978
Enter our new good friend Phil Moore of Leicester, UK, whose very first non-moped motorbike was a Z650 — a motorbike he nonetheless owns 40 years later! Phil additionally has a historical past of racing air-cooled twin-shock Kawasakis on the membership degree. As you may anticipate, meaning a variety of elements and spares have accrued in his workshop — what higher means to make use of them than one other construct!
“The inspiration behind the construct was to make use of up all of the elements I had mendacity round from a few years of constructing Kawasaki tasks…. Initially a good friend requested me to supply him an engine, so I received him this 1170 flowed Z1000J engine. As soon as I did, he modified his thoughts and stated he now not wanted it. So I had a spare engine, which shaped the guts of this construct.”
Sure, that’s proper, Phil and his crew of mates and track-day fanatics wedged a flowed and ported 1170cc Z1000J engine into the 650 body, full with smooth-bore carbs and an Exhaust Craft chrome steel 4:1 system. The remainder of the construct can be track-focused, emulating Phil’s first Z1000 racebike.
This “Big650” is now working 43mm ZZ-R1100 forks, ZX-6R wheels and swingarm, Öhlins rear shocks, and tons of elements both do-it-yourself or courtesy of assorted Kawasaki superbikes. Phil’s first outing on the machine was a track-day at Cadwell Park, the place he says it “carried out brilliantly all day,” monitoring properly and holding traces with out drama.
What’s extra, you’ll see that it nonetheless retains a license plate and high-output LED headlight — so it’s street-legal.
All in all, that is one imply road and monitor weapon, and we’d even see it tackle Mount Jaizkibel subsequent 12 months throughout Wheels & Waves:
“Its future will likely be principally as an attention-grabbing old-school road racer with the occasional traditional bike trackday outings. But it surely exhibits that with some cautious planning and a bunch of fine mates what might be inbuilt a couple of months. In actual fact, it could make its hill-climb debut at Punk’s Peak 2024 if I can get an entry.”
Under, we speak to Phil for the complete story on this “Big650” Kwaka.
Kawasaki Z650: Builder Interview
• Please inform us a bit about your self, your historical past with bikes, and your workshop.
I began using bikes at 16 with a moped however shortly moved on as soon as I handed my check. My second bike was a Z650, which I nonetheless personal 40 years later.
I’ve beforehand raced massive air-cooled Kawasakis at membership degree in Earlystocks sequence within the UK, which was for normal twin-shock air-cooled machines, so this bike emulates my first Z1000 race bike.
All my builds are finished in my dwelling workshop, which is at present over populated with three different tasks. My actual ardour is traditional bike trackdays, and we try to do 10 or so days every summer time. There are a gaggle of us all with traditional and modified monitor bikes and all of us assist one another with recommendation and elements and abilities so it’s a great group.
• Inform us about your Bike…
The bike is a Z650 chassis with a tuned 1170cc motor fitted, together with many fashionable upgrades to the working gear.
The inspiration behind the construct was to make use of up all of the elements I had mendacity round from a few years of constructing Kawasaki tasks. I’ve at all times thought that the Z650 is a superb bike, as I nonetheless have the one I purchased 40 years in the past.
Initially a good friend requested me to supply him an engine, so I received him this 1170 flowed Z1000J engine. As soon as I did, he modified his thoughts and stated he now not wanted it. So I had a spare engine, which shaped the guts of this construct.
The one elements I sourced particularly for the construct had been the body and ZX6R swingarm — all different elements got here from my stash of spares.
All of the engineering work has been accomplished by my shut mates; all of us had been educated engineering apprentices, the place all of us met by our love of bikes. One welded the dual shocks onto the swingarm; the opposite aligned the forks and fitted the wheels with new spacers.
As soon as we had the rolling chassis set as much as take 350mm Z1000 shocks and ZZR1100 entrance forks, I then eliminated the underside engine mounts for the Z650 and myself and one other good friend braced the body and fabricated new engine mounts. (The highest and rear wanted solely minor alterations to take the bigger engine.)
As soon as fitted, I then constructed a customized loom finding the coils underneath the seat, and put the remainder of the construct collectively.
Probably the most stunning factor concerning the construct is with a full tank of gas, the load of the bike is similar as an ordinary Z650, and the dealing with is excellent.
The bike’s first outing was a Cadwell Park trackday and it carried out brilliantly all day.
Its future will likely be principally as an attention-grabbing old-school road racer with the occasional traditional bike trackday outings. But it surely exhibits that with some cautious planning and a bunch of fine mates what might be inbuilt a couple of months. In actual fact, it could make its hill-climb debut at Punk’s Peak 2024 if I can get an entry.
• Are you able to inform us what the bike is wish to trip?
The bike may be very highly effective off the underside finish with the torque kicking in early. It’s a must to take care with the smooth-bore carbs that you just feed the facility in rigorously, however the bike itself is secure. Going by the curves it tracks properly and holds a line with none drama, which have to be as a result of Öhlins shocks and massive forks.
Braking is sweet however perhaps an space I’ll replace because the lever journey on is greater than I would really like, so an improve to the grasp cylinder is on the listing of issues to enhance.
• Is there anybody you’d wish to thank?
Andy from A-weld for the ally welding. Gareth for wheel spacers and fork fitment. Paul for body bracing and welding, and Hooperman for sorting the paintwork. And likewise the above for at all times being there to take the mickey!
Full Construct Sheet
- Z650 body, tank, seat, bodywork.
- ZZR1100 43mm forks and yokes.
- ZX6R (1998) wheels and swingarm
- ZXR750 entrance calipers and 310mm discs.
- ZX12R grasp cylinder.
- Öhlins (Z1000 350mm ) rear shocks positioned to retain Z650 trip peak.
- Dyna S coils and ignition.
- ZX10R change gear
- ZXR400 tacho and fool lights
- ZRX1100 entrance mudguard.
- Do-it-yourself customized undertray and battery field.
- ER5 rear gentle
- Exhaust Craft “Harris” stainless exhaust
- Race Direct ZX7R rearsets
- ZX7R sidestand.
- 33mm smoothbores
- 1170cc z1000j flowed and ported engine.
- Harris clip-on handlebars.
Full construct thread: http://z1ownersclub.co.uk