ACE CAFE KAWASAKI DAY 2014 part 1 of 2
Featuring the rare Z1R-TC(2) turbo.
The 1978 TC earned a reputation as a fearsome, barely controllable brute
that was king of the quarter mile. Just the sort of reputation that sells
bikes -- motorcyclists have always been a weird lot of madmen, and when you
tell them something is just "too fast" and brutal you can be sure they will
be lining up to buy it. Of course some of the legend is just that -
legend. "My best friend's third cousin's uncle got this turbo bike that will do 200 miles per hour and
power wheelie in 5th gear. It's a secret prototype you won't find in the
catalogues because its too fast, he bought it right from the factory. Swear
to god guys, it's the truth."
250 of the original powder-blue models were made with moderate success;
sales would improve in 1979 with the introduction of the TC2. This is the
most recognizable TC, with black paint set off by striking Molly Design
neon graphics that make it look like a turbocharged surfboard. '79s were still based on
'78 Z1-Rs (including a few unsold TCs) as Kawasaki had discontinued the
slow-selling model that year. The TC2 incorporated a better 4-1 header,
improved lubrication, and a milder 6 psi Boost setting (still adjustable by the owner
for maximum grenade potential, though). turbo lag was reduced, as was overall power, but
reliability was improved. The proper internal reinforcements for any sort
of longevity were still optional.
250 TC2s were made before California laws changed and the party ended. From
1980 on no production vehicle could be sold with Exhaust modifications, so the TC became
verboten. Shame too, because sales were picking up in 1979 as the legend
grew. It wouldn't be until 1982 that another production turbo bike would be available, when the
legendarily ugly but well engineered Honda CX500 turbo "Plastic Maggot" hit the market. It would be
followed by a short trend towards turbocharged middleweights - which would all be
discontinued by 1985 due to high cost, high complexity, and insurance
blacklisting. The Z1R-TC beat them all to market, and trumped the later
bikes for outright performance (at the expense of any form of longevity).
The TC has become a rare collectible; with only 500 examples in the US and
Canada, and with a reputation as a violent street brawling brute, it's
little wonder than Z1R-TC values are rising steadily and available bikes
are getting snapped up by enthusiasts "in the know" about Kawasaki's
off-the-record psychotic turbo bike.
It's the truth guys, my aunt's boyfriend's half brother's best friend said