Kawasaki Z1 900, 500cc and 750cc two stroke triple prices are really taking off 

Kawasaki Z1 900, 500cc and 750cc two stroke triple prices are really taking off. The demand is being driven by, among others, the US market which is also heavily driven by the Japanese domestic market and other export markets including the UK. There have been changes in the import demands to register vintage motorcycles made in Japan for the domestic market. Buyers weren’t just from the export markets, there were plenty of US buyers bidding and winning machines. Other markets are also opening up now and they are all heading to Mecums Auction and this one in January does give a bit of a clue as to where demand is gathering strength. These auctions are a complete lottery so trying to gather evidence about the market needs to be weighed up with other sales as well. There were lots of machines listed with no engine numbers in the listing and plenty of incorrect machines that could never be investment grade. The real star of the show was, of course, the Kawasaki Z2 750 which made US$93,500 including fees. However, once the hammer went down it was discovered the chassis numbers had been ground off and the engine numbers were not Kawasaki stamped numbers and you can see the video of this here. I believe that the sale was cancelled, but it really does make the point about how little due diligence is often undertaken with these mass sales. There were some really strong prices achieved which really does demonstrate the desire for classic Kawasakis. It’s a great time to now grab an investment grade example of these iconic classic motorcycles, because Kawasaki Z1 900, 500cc and 750cc two stroke triple prices are taking off. 

1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 for sale

Kawasaki classic motorcycles

Kawasaki classic motorcycles are great to own and ride with impeccable reliability, provided they have been built and set up correctly. Most have not, which is sad because they’re not that difficult if you’re thorough which takes time and that costs. Like any classic motorcycle, they need to be absolutely correct with historic demons ironed out. Bear in mind that these machines were sold on site, as seen and not running. There must be enormous demand for these motorcycles when the auction company won’t even publish the engine numbers and people are still stupid enough to bid. This 1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 was a very interesting machine, being one of the first 1200 and a built in 1972 model as well. It didn’t even reach reserve at US$32,000 +commission (£28,000 including commission). However, it will cost an absolute fortune to get the correct parts and the labour will add an incredible cost to the machine. Like so many of the machines listed, the lack of photos and information was quite beguiling and I suspect the engine is the wrong one as they didn’t publish the engine number. Even f the engine was correct, it will still cost many tens of thousands of pounds to get right, even if it can be got right. A Kawasaki H2 made US$55,000 (£43,700), it sold from 5 photos with no engine number shown and left a lot to be desired when it came to being original and the restoration was really poor. It really is time to sit up and take notice that Kawasaki Z1 900, 500cc and 750cc two stroke prices are taking off. 

1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 for sale
There’s a lot of due diligence to undertake with a 1972 Kawasaki Z1 900

Investment grade Kawasaki Z1 900

Investment grade Kawasaki Z1 900 and two stroke triples require quite a bit of due diligence. They changed in visually subtle ways that were also critical to being original year on year. Sometimes parts changed a few times in a year and some parts were stamped with coded date stamps. Many people have spent most of their working lives restoring these old Kawasakis and finding the correct parts is extremely costly. The cost of just the restoration is much more than the value of the restored motorcycle, that’s without taking into account buying a decent donor machine. These motors are like small, beautifully engineered wrist watches painstakingly crafted and assembled in specific ways. These motors aren’t like old Triumph pre-units or lawnmowers, they are beautifully precise and they need to be understood before they are touched, as they require a lot of knowledge. Although the motors are strong and reliable when correctly built, they need to be done correctly. Like most of these machines, they went through a very long period of having little or no value and had replacement parts from breakers yards from machines of differing years and were bodged to stay on the road. Because the motors are so strong, they will run when badly thrown together, but should not be left in this state.

Fake Kawasaki Z2 Mecims auction
It’s unthinkable that a ground off frame number makes it onto the auction house floor.

Restoring a Kawasaki Z1 900

Restoring a Kawasaki Z1 900 takes time and requires specific knowledge. So many of these machines have been restored by someone in their garage or shed with a workshop manual, rather than a professional engine builder who knows these machines. For example, there are four cam carrier caps in the Kawasaki Z900 motor which hold the camshafts in place. The home mechanic will torque them down according to the manual and they will split, just like the one in the photo below.  The heads, cams and carrier caps were all bored together, so making a repair is extremely costly to do correctly. If the repair can’t be done correctly, then used head, cams and cam carrier caps, which all match, have to be sourced, which will cost a fortune, if they can be found. The problem is caused by people building these motors who don’t understand how to build them and how to do it correctly is not covered in any manuals.  

Split cam carrier cap
This split cam carrier cap is not acceptable when building a Kawasaki Z1 900.
1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 correct cam carrier caps
This is how the cam cap carriers should be.

Buying a restored Kawasaki Z1 900

Buying a restored Kawasaki Z1 900 requires plenty of research and once you have established that everything is correct, there’s plenty more to check. Powder coated frames seriously de-value these machines, as you will need to pay to remove the frame, have it stripped, welded if there’s damage from the powder coat and then painted and refitted. We have even seen powder coated motors, which is a complete disaster. Before buying a Kawasaki Z1 900 it needs to be run, got up to running temperature and ridden. Once you are satisfied that the machine is correct, insist on removing the rocker cover, inspect the cam carrier caps to ensure they are sound and do a compression test. Being re-assured that the nice man who sold it to you knows his Kawasakis and is a big wheel in the owners club won’t get you a refund. When buying a Kawasaki Z1 900 it is imperative to know the colours are right as a proper respray is about £4,500 for the root beer candy brown. Should you know a man who will do it for half the price, good luck with that as there’s a reason it costs so much. These are just some of the reasons that Kawasaki Z1 900, 500cc and 750cc two stroke triple prices are taking off. 

1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 correct colour
The correct candy colour really makes these machines look and feel they should be.

Investment grade Kawasaki Z1 900 for sale

If you want to make life easy and find an investment grade Kawasaki Z1 900 for sale contact The Motorcycle Broker using the form below or in the usual ways. We ensure the machine is correct in the first place, chase out any faults and set them up to ride and enjoy. Machines of this age have a lot of issues and suffer from poor work, because doing the job correctly is expensive. There are no bargains any more, people know what they have in the garage and Kawasaki Z1 900 owners will now want top dollar for investment grade motorcycles. Now you know why Kawasaki Z1 900, 500cc and 750cc two stroke triple prices are taking off and they won’t be going back down.

    Paul Jayson

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