The Z1300 was shown to the world at the Koln
show in September 1978. The engine a liquid-cooled 1286cc DOHC two valve per
each of the six cylinders sat in the bike which had a massive dry weight of
297kg. This was the "dreadnought" of touring bikes. In November 1978 the press
were introduced to the Z1300, in Malta for the European press and Death Valley
California for the American press. They were unanimous with praise for both
styling and impressive performance of the ground breaking machine.
The Z1300 was produced from 1978 until
bowing out in 1989. In 1983 the Z1300 was given a digital fuel injection (D.F.I.)
and was called the ZG1300, the system installed to improve fuel consumption gave
a gain in power and torque. In march of 1983 the Voyager was launched, a fully
dressed tourer:- it featured a fairing, panniers, top box, stepped seat, digital
speedometer, radio/cassette deck and on board computer for trip and fuel
calculations. The Voyager was a big hit with serious touring riders despite its
higher price than its competitors.
After its 12 year run the Z1300,
Kawasaki's first liquid cooled six cylinder engined bike ceased production in
1989. 20,000 Z1300's and 4,500 Voyagers had been produced.
Today as we stand testament for the Z1300 is
still a popular choice for many bikers.
In 1978 Honda and Benelli had a six,
Kawasaki were to be different. The Z1300 was a six with water cooling and shaft
drive:- the ultimate sports tourer. It was the heaviest at 297kg but the 120bhp
was more than enough to power the bike to over 145mph. It soon found admirers
all over the world.
1978. The Z1300 Prototype.
The 1286cc motor was smooth and a
masterpiece of design and easy to work on. The Z1300 was the "King of the road".
1979. The Z1300-A1
Starting frame number: KZT30A-000101
This the first model was only available in
one colour, starlight blue with gold pin stripe. The Z1300 handled better than
it should have and surprised many of the reviewers at the time. The brakes were
poor and it had little ground clearance. But the Z1300 was in a class of its
1980. The Z1300-A2
Starting frame number: KZT30A-006201
The A2 was offered again in only one colour:
ruby red. The A2 was an improvement over the A1, the sump was much bigger: A bid
to counter act the crank problems the A1 had experienced. It was increased from
a capacity of 4.5 litres of oil to 6.
1980. The KZ1300-B2 Touring
Starting frame number: KZT30B-000001
This model was not released in the UK, being
mainly a US model. It was basically a Z1300a with a fairing, top box and
panniers. Again only one colour was offered: Royal dark red. The heaviest bike
got even heavier.
1981. The Z1300-A3
Starting frame number: JKAKZAA15BA-011501
The A3 was available in two colours: Holy
green and Ebony. A chrome grab rail was fitted and the outer engine cases and
air filter covers were chromed. The electronic ignition was modified and gas
rear shocks absorbers were fitted. The A3 was now also being built at the
Lincoln factory in The USA.
1982. The Z1300-A4
Starting frame number: KZT30A-014101
1982 saw few differences in the Z1300, it
was offered in two colours: Passion red or ebony. The CDI pickups were moved and
the horn covers were changed.
1983. The Z1300-A5
Starting frame number: KZT30A-015901
The A5 had even few differences than
previous models, the badges were changed but it was offered in the same colours.