Ye Olde Cycle Shoppe

The Vintage Motorcycle Road Test Library

Tag Archives: Z1

1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 “New York Steak”

1978 Kawasak KZ1000 Z1R TC Turbo road test

New shirts celebrating Kawasaki’s legendary Z1 900

This design was added to the shop a short while ago, then I decided to tweak it to represent the paint schemes Kawasaki used that are just as legendary as the bike itself:  Rootbeer and Orange; Green and Yellow.

Z1 colored shirts

I am still struck by the clever genius of this original paint scheme.  Kawasaki was able to create 2 custom-looking paint schemes while really painting every bike exactly the same.  What they did is paint every bike black & white, and then add a candy color over the top.  The orange candy turned the black to brown, and the white to orange.  Which is how Rootbeer and Orange was created.  Adding a yellow candy changed the black to dark green, and the white to yellow.  Clever indeed.

This is why it’s so hard to match original paint, and why there’s no paint code to have your local shop mix up for you.  If you know what you’re looking for, you can tell original paint from a respray.

1977 Kawasaki Z1-R road test

As printed in Cycle, 1977.  Original available here