The Kawasaki Kz1000 is a motorcycle manufactured in Japan by Kawasaki released in September 1976 as a 1977 model to replace the KZ900. It has an in-line 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed transmission, in a 'one down and four up' configuration. Producing about 90 hp, it was the fastest production motorcycle of the era.
In 1979 Kawasaki introduced the KZ 1300 liquid-cooled, 6 cylinder engine, which became the engine for the Voyager touring series. Both models were available for several years. The police model continued in production until 2005.
The Kz1000 was featured in the television show CHiPs, wherein it was ridden by the protagonist characters Ponch and Jon, two California Highway Patrol officers. The bike was also used in various other TV shows and feature films such as Great Teacher Onizuka (a Japanese anime series) and Chain Reaction (Keanu Reeves' character's bike). The Kz1000 was also featured heavily in the late 1970s movie Mad Max, in which Kawasaki donated
Some of the significant differences between the Kz900 and the Kz1000 include that the latter of the two has a heavier crankshaft for less engine vibration, smoother acceleration and a larger displacement. There were various configurations of specifications and assembly, such as having the choice between chain-drive and shaft-drive.
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... Its quick acceleration, quiet exhaust and relatively light weight made sure that a running criminal wouldn't get very far ... The officer would be able to use his radio, and if the officer dumped the bike over at any time, chances are, he'd be able to pick it back up without any help ...