Kiwi Rider June 2022 Vol.2 - Page 76

Kawasaki Z1 900 1973 goes back to Edward Turner ’ s 1937 498cc , ohv , vertical Speed Twin , which provided a basis for Triumph twins until the 1970s . In 1969 the Bonnie received a twin-leading shoe front brake , and became the first production bike to lap the Isle of Man at over a 100mph average . Three years after Honda ’ s CB750 , Kawasaki stunned the market with the Z1 900 . In 1972-3 only works race bikes produced 82bhp . Top speed for the Z1 was 215km / h . The Japanese big bike boom was well and truly on . This was further underlined with Honda ’ s CBX six-cylinder 1000cc . It was the first production engine to exceed the magic 100bhp . The straight six engine weighed less than the CB750 , with 24-valves and six-carburettors . The technological masterpiece was inspired by the highly
successful six cylinder ‘ works ’ racing machines of the 1960s , which Mike Hailwood rode to great effect . While the Japanese were creating technological masterpieces , Norton produced a classic machine that would hold its own with the best performers . The Norton Commando , which began as a 750 twin , ended up as an 850 twin . It was the final development of a British parallel twin that began in 1948 . A Commando ridden by Peter Williams won the 1973 Formula 750 Isle of Man TT . At the time , Williams was the third fastest rider around the island behind Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini . Many believed it was the last glimmer of hope for the British motorcycle industry . That is until the ‘ born-again ’ Triumph came along .
Left : Honda C100 . Right : Norton 750 Commando 76 KIWI RIDER