Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 20th February 2019

Every week our man Scott Redmond trawls the online ads to find interesting second hand bikes for our delectation. This week he’s unearthed a forgotten about classic, Kawasaki’s turbo charged Z1R TC.

Taking what was basically a tarted up Kawasaki Z1000, the Z1R came in the twilight of the big Z’s development. The trademark round cam engine was past its best and the opposition had not only caught up but overtaken it. Bikes like the Suzuki GS1000 had taken Kawasaki on at their game and won.

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Demand dried up, which is why, in the States, Kawasaki came up with a cunning plan to help shift the ranks of slow selling ice blue Z1R models.

And with that the Z1R TC was born. Adding a turbo charger to an ill handling production bike like the Z1R sounds like a bad idea to any sane person and it’s still a question that can split a room. Still, some of the worst handling motorcycles ever created have gone on to become icons of their era, bikes like the GSX-R1100K, TL1000S were never renowned for going around corners, and neither was the Kawasaki Z1R TC!

You might also think that there was no end of performance tweaks made inside that air cooled four pot motor to aid the introduction of an estimated extra 40 bhp, but you’d be wrong. This demonstrates just how tough that Z1 derived power plant really was. Kawasaki played it safe and never offered any form of warranty with the Z1R TC, which was achieved by getting Turbo Cycle Corporation to do the conversion. Like a sprat to catch a mackerel, the turbocharged Zed was a great gimmick. This new halo model got folks into Kawasaki dealers across the USA and helped to shift some standard Z1Rs.

Of all the Zed models this is without a doubt one of the most desirable and prices have never been cheap. This well fettled example carries a price around its neck of £22,900. That is a major chunk of legal tender, and around twice what you’d expect to pay for a cracking, non turbo, Z1R.

What to look for when buying a Z1R TC?

  • Other than the turbo and the paint it’s a stock Z1R. Parts shouldn’t be an issue to locate, although paying for them might be another issue.
  • Check that it’s a pukka TC. Over the decades some bikes have been converted to TC spec using aftermarket parts.
  • Look beyond that turbo and the striking looks. Check condition of the wiring and the brakes too!

This particular example is up for sale on eBay. Check it out at: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F323685838443