Pick of the Ads: retro Kawasakis

Scott Redmond
By Scott Redmond
ScottRedmond4 Used bike expert, bike anorak, lifetime wheeler dealer and sometime bike breaker. Regularly rides off for a 'mooch'.

 

Todays Good, Bad and Ugly takes a look at Kawasaki retro styled machines.

For over 25 years Scott's bought, sold and broken up motorcycles for parts. From doing deals in person under the streetlights of London to surfing the web and buying bikes on his phone; he's purchased bargains, howlers and a few he'd rather forget.

"Kawasaki is set to launch a new Z900 model – its technology will be bang up to date, but the styling is very much from yesteryear." Says Scott. "Until the Z900RS breaks cover here are a few retro super bikes that the Japanese crew made earlier…"

 

2008 (58) Kawasaki ZRX1200R

 

The Good: Kawasaki ZRX1200R 2008 | £15,000

eBay link: www.ebay.co.uk/itm/112482595374

If Kawasaki retooled and built the ZRX again, I’m pretty sure that it’d find itself a slice of the retro market. Maybe that’s why Kawasaki is launching the Z900RS; it’s clearly designed to appeal to us of a certain age, as the original ZRX1100 did when it came along in 1997. By the year 2000 it had grown into the ZRX1200R – for a design that’s almost 20 years old it’s still bang on the retro money.

Prices for used retro bikes remain strong, and finding decent ones can be a chore. This is a dream find – a 2008 model that’s covered 2.6 miles from new. It’s obviously in ‘as new’ condition and totally standard. Those chiselled AMA looks are crowned in the only colour option for a bike that carries Eddie Lawson’s DNA within its crank cases.

This is probably the only example of this model that’s survived like this. Price wise you’re going to have to dig deep – at £15,000 it’s over twice the £6,681 retail price tag it had back in 2008.

Anorak Fact: The ZRX is fast becoming popular with custom builders, which will make finding original bikes that little bit trickier.

 

KAWASAKI ZR 1100 A2 ZEPHYR

 

The Bad: Kawasaki Zephyr 1100 1994 | £3,495

eBay link: www.ebay.co.uk/itm/122688239270

A range of Zephyr models appeared in the early ’90s that were developed to appeal to the born-again biker craze that erupted during that decade. This was also the height of the race replica frenzy, with models getting lighter, faster and dearer with every season that passed.

The Zephyr range was a real back-to-basics take on what a motorcycle should be; air cooled engines that were found in the parts bin matched to steel tube frames… even the paint jobs were basic. The biggest Zephyr was this, the 1100cc. They’re a rare find on the used bike market, probably because they never sold in any large quantities.

Build quality was pants – Kawasaki made a rod for its own back by supplying the range with wheels that had polished rim edges, and despite being under a coat of lacquer they were never going to survive a British winter.

This offering is a real find – it looks lovely and well cared for. In 23 years it’s clocked up 22,217 miles. There’s plenty of mileage left in this big Zephyr, and at £3,495 it’s a lot of bike for the money.

Anorak Fact: The Zephyr 1100 uses an 8 plug cylinder head.

 

KAWASAKI Z1000 2004

 

The Ugly: Kawasaki Z1000 2004 | £3,695

eBay link: www.ebay.co.uk/itm/142433924900

From certain angles the ZR1000 makes sense, yet from others it looks confused at best, or the result of some late night eBay purchases and a few hours in the shed.

Those four shotgun silencers might add street cred, but they also add weight. It’s probably the first part that any new owner would look to change, which is a shame when Kawasaki put so much effort into their design. Kawasaki didn’t hold back with the colours either; the orange and green examples are both equally striking.

Who was this bike talking to? Power Ranger riders aren’t its target audience and its lack of equipment means it’s not the perfect perch for mile munching. It’s still a question that for me holds no solid answer. This 2004 model is looking for its fourth owner, with its condition being a credit to the three previous registered keepers.

She’s up for £3,695 – if you like your retro bikes to look modern, this could be the bike for you.

Anorak Fact: Check for signs of wheelie abuse by spinning the front wheel, compressing the forks to check they’re oil tight, and check the head race bearings for notchiness. 

 

 

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