Big Shaft-Drive Six: 1982 Kawasaki Z1300

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This 1982 Kawasaki Z1300 is one of a small handful of straight-six road bikes offered over the years, and though sold with minimal information, the bike is suitably unusual–and apparently well-preserved–to warrant a closer look. Offered over a ten-year period ending in 1989, this earlier, carbureted and conventionally sprung example will be slightly down on power compared with later, fuel-injected and air suspended bikes, but 120 HP and 85 lb. ft. is still impressive for a nearly 35 year old machine. Find this one here at Carollo Moto Classiche in Bassano del Grappa for 7,500 euros (~$8,200 USD today). Special thanks to BaT reader Paul C. for this submission.

Kawasaki Z 1300

Unlike Honda’s CBX, Kawasaki went with water-cooling, shaft drive and just two valves per cylinder. Displacement was nearly 250cc bigger than with the other Japanese six, and an undersquare bore/stroke (62 x 71mm) made for a more torquey, less revvy delivery. This one looks very well-preserved, though the ad is minimal and makes no mention of originality or the accuracy of 3k and change recorded kilometers.

Kawasaki Z 1300

Though quick, handling wasn’t great, and as such these big bikes are best suited to long, straight roads. This one appears to be all stock, and is an especially rare find in Europe–expense and thirst for fuel limited sales, especially outside of the US.

Kawasaki Z 1300

Here’s an interesting factory promotional cutaway image. Though quite big by bike standards at just under 1.3 liters, the bike’s relatively long stroke and small bore kept dimensions compact.


Rare, mechanically interesting, fast and pretty good looking too, we don’t see these bikes for sale very often, especially as nicely preserved as this one appears to be.

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