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 Kawasaki - Z 2 (RS)
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Kawasaki D2-492-04-09
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 750
Model : Z 2 (RS)
Production : 1973 - 1979
Category : (R) Street Bike


750 Z2 / 900 Z1 - 1973

"New York Steak": a successful challenge

In 1969, Honda tempted fate with a formidable gamble: to reshape the world's taste in motorcycles with the introduction of a 750cc four-cylinder which stood established concepts on their heads. It was a near-fatal blow for most of the big manufacturers in Europe - and even in Japan, where only one of the other "Big Four" companies took up the challenge.

"Steaking" Out the Territory

In fact. Kawasaki had given itself a head start,since it had had an advanced project for afour-cylinder super-bike known as the "NewYork Steak N 600" on the drawing boardsince 1966. When the Honda Four came out,Kawasaki wisely chose to postponerefinements on the project while waiting tosee if Honda's gamble was going to pay off.

Codename "Zapper"

All the prototypes developed by the American Kawasaki Motorcycle Corporation were named for meat or shellfish. Of these, the "New York Steak' was a double overhead- cam planned in 750 and 850cc forms, with a single-overhead camshaft. Redesigned as a dohc 900, it took the new codename "Zapper," from which came the famous "Z" which would later mark every Kawasaki. The order of the day at Kawasaki was "Study— and improve," and the Zapper was a success with this strategy. Its streamlined shape and excellent performance all outmatched Honda.


Engine: 903cc (66x66mm)/750cc (64x58mm) four-cylinder four-stroke

Power output: 82 hp @8500 rpm/69 hp @9000rpm

Valves: twin overhead camshafts

Fuel system: Four carburetors

Transmission: 5-speed gearbox; chain final drive

Suspension: (front) telescopic forks: (rear) swinging fork

Brakes: (front) disc; (rear) drum

Wheels: wire; (front) 19 in; (rear) 18 in

Weight: 507 lb

Maximum speed: 125 mph

Launched as a 900cc model under the designation Z1 in 1972, the Kawasaki was available after1973 in the 750cc Z2 version shown here.”

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

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François-Marie Dumas

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