Kawasaki Zephyr ~ Cars and Bikes
Cars and Bikes

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Kawasaki Zephyr

The retro style naked motorcycle Kawasaki Zephyr design still impress me, it is so beautiful and original. The Zephyr 1100 can compared with Yamaha FJR or Honda X-Four in design. The Kawasaki Zephyr is a line of air-cooled inline 4-cylinder-engined motorcycles built by Kawasaki to meet the demand for retro-styled naked motorcycles in Japan and elsewhere in the 1990s. There were a number of Zephyr models available in four engine capacities - 400, 550, 750 and 1100cc.

The 400 was produced for Japan due to the demand for 400cc motorcycles in that market. It was very popular. Many aftermarket parts were produced, with companies like Over Racing producing exhausts, swing arms, fairings and engine modifications.

Zephyr styling is roughly based on the old Z1, with twin shock rear suspension, a relatively upright riding position and air cooled power units. The 400, 550 and 750 engines were developed from the old Z400/500/550/650/750 series. The 1100 engine is a re-engineered version of a liquid-cooled powerplant. The Zephyr offered the customer retro styling coupled with simplicity and reliability. Performance of the line was adequate for normal riding and the engines were tuned for low to mid range power. The Zephyr 750 produced 72 HP, and the 1100 produced 93 HP, slightly under power compared to its competitor, however the engine were low maintenance and bulletproof under normal condition.

The Zephyr 1100 had a Z1 restyle in its last year of sale including a return to wire wheels. Wire wheels also appeared on the 750. It was replaced in the Kawasaki UK range by the popular Z1100R styled ZRX1100(later ZRX1200). Compared to the Z1100R of 1984, the Zephyr 110 has a wider bore and stroke (73.5 x 62.6 mm, compared with 72.5 x 66 mm) and retains two valves per cylinder (albeit with dual valve springs), using the same shim-set adjustment as the earlier bike. Both are centre cam chain designs, but the zephyr has two spark plugs per cylinder (only in 1100, a new design for that time). Kawasaki engineers found that with such a wide bore and large valves, a single plug would not give quick, complete combustion of the fuel charge.

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