Kawasaki were the last of the
four major Japanese manufacturers to release a turbo-charged motorcycle but
were the only factory to achieve the ultimate turbo ambition - to transform
a medium-sized motorcycle into something as quick as anything around. The
Z750 is the world's fastest production turbo motorcycle - 112bhp at
9,000rpm, a top speed of 146mph and road-tearing acceleration that can cover
the standing quarter mile in 10.9sec.
For many years, turbo-charged
bikes had been the preserve of individual builders, tuners and drag racers,
who adapted big Japanese four cylinder engines with bolt-on conversions for
extra, high-speed thrills. Later Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha produced turbo
bikes, all 650cc and all dismally received in the market. Kawasaki's 750 was
bigger yet lighter than any and an instant, well-acclaimed success. The
others have all been withdrawn, and enhances yet further their
reputation for building large, powerful, bulletproof engines.
On full boost, the
Z750 Turbo shoots, shouts and screams speed.
significantly differed from the other manufacturers was in the design and
location of their turbo-charger unit. They beefed up one of their existing
inline four cylinder engines, the Z750, but instead of mounting the turbo
behind the engine, Kawasaki put it up in front of the cylinders, very close
to the exhaust ports. In a limited space of 7.5in, they managed to run four
highly heat resistant steel pipes from the ports to a collector and thence
to a tiny Hitachi turbo-charger. Such innovative positioning reduced turbo
is instant response. Running a fairly modest 10.5psi of boost pressure the
Z750 has excellent pick-up and strong acceleration anywhere above 5,000rpm
when the turbo is spinning hard.
The turbo power does not bang in
at a set rpm like many back street, bolt-on turbo bikes. From 5,000 to the
10,000rpm redline, there is plenty of boost and real poke, yet it is
smoothly delivered. The turbo effect is unobtrusive. The acceleration is
In roll-on tests in high gears,
the Kawasaki will annihilate much larger capacity bikes including its own
big brother, the mighty GPz1000.
The smooth response and excellently rounded
power curve are helped considerably by Kawasaki's digital fuel injection
system. Kawasaki pioneered fuel injection on modern sports bikes and their
computer-linked system, measuring and monitoring engine speed, throttle
opening, intake pressure and engine/air temperature, ensures the Turbo runs
at its best.
The rolling chassis is unremarkable but for the sleek, full
fairing which features an integrated, aluminium frame member. This is a
central section located between the frame's front down tubes which makes the
double steel cradle more rigid, improving stability and protecting the turbo
unit from crash damage. One notable detail can be found in the sealed,
O-ring, final drive chain which is silicone lubricated and has special
cut-outs in every other link to reduce weight and heat build-up.