Kawasaki celebrates a major anniversary this year and excitement is building for the 50th anniversary of the first Z model – the ultimate motorcycle of the day for style and performance.
Teaser images and social media video suggest a special ‘Z50th Celebration’ model to mark half a century since the world woke up to the original Z1, also known as the Kawasaki 900 Super Four.
Kawasaki is not being drawn further on an anniversary naked model but the suggestion is it will be based on the current 1970s-inspired Z900RS, launched in 2017, but with even more retro touches such as spoked wheels, lots of chrome and another tribute paintjob.
Turn the clock back to 1967 and, in strict secrecy, Kawasaki began developing a high-performance, motorbike that was kinder to the environment than the two-stroke 500 Mach III.
A joint effort between Kawasaki engineers in America and Japan, five years of hard work saw the Z1 launched to global acclaim in 1972.
Slim, sleek and sexy, the 903cc Z1 embodied the ultimate in performance and styling. It was the first inline four-cylinder motorbike in its class with DOHC and heralded Kawasaki as a builder of big, high-performance motorbikes.
The following year, the Z1 set the 24-hour world speed record at America’s Daytona Speedway, averaging 109.641mph for 2,631.402 miles. It was testimony to its speed and reliability and the first of many impressive records for Z models.
The rest, as they say, is history with the Z moniker now at the heart of the Kawasaki brand as its naked motorbikes range.
Check out the special Z50th website at www.kawasaki-cp.khi.co.jp/Z50th/en/