March 22, 2010

Finally doing it

The project that should have been started a long time ago is finally getting moved onto the front burner.

This is a 1976 Kawasaki 900 Z1B, better known simply as the LTD 900. Kawasaki produced the Z1 900 from 1973 to 1976. The 1976 LTD was a step in a slightly different direction. 

Designed on the same frame as the standard Z1 (unchanged since '73), the LTD offered handlebars with a slightly different sweep, custom Jardine pipes, and a two-step seat that gave the rider a lower to the ground feel. The bike was a bit more of a cruiser than the standard Z1A, yet was every bit as quick.

1976 was the only year the LTD 900 was produced. Although Kawasaki continued producing the style, and continued calling it the LTD, from 1977 forward the engine displacement was beefed up to 1,000 cc’s.

The ’76 had one more claim to uniqueness. It was the first Kawasaki motorcycle produced entirely in the United States.

I own one of these bikes. It was purchased from the original owner in November of 1976, with fewer than 600 miles on the odometer. Over the next 9 years I averaged over 3,000 miles a year on the bike. It might have been more except for the area of Colorado in which I lived in those days had snow on the roads about five months out of the year.

The old LTD got put in storage in 1985, where it has remained since. Every now and then I’d roll it into the shop and tinker with it until I could get it started. I even rode it into town and back a few years ago, with the 1985 Colorado tags still in place. Luckily I didn’t get pulled over.

Well, I’m tired of having the old gal just sitting there collecting dust. We had a lot of fun together back in the day, and I want her back on the road. Over the past year I have been searching for and collecting the needed parts, and I’ve located a paint and body guy who can recreate that unique, 5-layer candy red coating. The project I have threatened so many times in the past will begin this summer.

It is time to restore the old ’76.


Old NFO said...

Oh man, that will be fun! I rode a 750 for a while, it was a pocket rocket!!! One thing I DO remember, it didn't stop worth a damn... Looking forward to pics of the finished product!

Mule Breath said...

I had a 750 triple for a couple years before buying the LTD. Really fast bike and hard to keep the front end on the ground. Must have been the quickest of all the production bikes produced at the time. Not many of them left, probably because so many of them wrecked out.

Kvatch said...

Damn! Now I'm missing my Triumph. ;-)

Jay G said...

We may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but I will admit that is a beauty of a machine, MB...

And that's from a dude who rides a Harley! :)

jbrock said...

Classic bike; good to see you putting it back on the road.

For several years I had a little LTD-550, with a few mods that almost made the engine a de facto GPz. Rode that thing all over New England, almost year round.

Enjoy your 900!

Mule Breath said...

Jay G said...

We may not see eye-to-eye on everything

Always the master of understatement...

but I will admit that is a beauty of a machine

MB beams with pride...

And that's from a dude who rides a Harley!

I'm sorry, Jay, but keep you hopes up. Some day you'll probably graduate to a scooter.

Before anyone gets wrinkled...this is all tongue in cheek... :~)

Thanks for all the nice comments. I'm going to enjoy the finished product.