It’s a Hi­rano, Pop.

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

Thank you once again for an­other ex­cel­lent read in OBA 75. I read with much in­ter­est Kent Ste­wart’s ar­ti­cle on the Ja­panese speed­way. I can con­firm that the mys­tery en­gine on page 66 with the “H” in­side the di­a­mond logo is in fact a “Hi­rano” brand en­gine. My small re­search shows that Hi­rano man­u­fac­tured be­tween 1955 and up to 1959. They were one of the nu­mer­ous smaller Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers that ex­isted dur­ing the 1946 to 1950 era. They were fa­mous for their “Pop” mod­els – the 100 cc Pop scooter of 1955 and the 125 cc Pop scooter of 1959. They also man­u­fac­tured 60 cc scoot­ers “Pop Man­lee” and 125 cc street mod­els with ei­ther sin­gle sad­dle or two seat op­tions. The Kawasaki (K)Z750 Big Twin ar­ti­cle brought back many mem­o­ries for me. The (K)Z750B1 was re­leased in 1976 in Di­a­mond Red colour, with the

fuel tank stripes sim­i­lar in colours and shape to the 1976 (K)Z900A4. The give­away is the tight curve on the stripes at the seat end on each side of the tank. The front brake caliper is in front of the fork leg, and the front master cylin­der is a round shape. The des­ig­na­tion of “KZ” was mostly for mod­els for the USA mar­ket. The des­ig­na­tion “Z” was mostly for the rest of the world in­clud­ing Gen­eral Ex­port and Euro­pean mod­els. Back in early 1978 when I lived in New Zealand, the Kawasaki im­porter (Lau­rie Sum­mers Ltd), pur­chased what we thought was an un­wanted/ unloved/batch of 1977 Z750B2 mod­els. These were in ei­ther Di­a­mond Navy Blue or Di­a­mond Brown. The fuel tank stripes were thin­ner than the ear­lier model, and the tank stripes fea­tured a sharp cor­ner at the seat end of each side of the tank. Again, the front master cylin­der shape, and front brake caliper po­si­tion were iden­ti­cal to the B1 model. These New Zealand Z750B2 mod­els were hotly priced at NZ$2,800 and they sold rea­son­ably well. I pur­chased a brand new one in Di­a­mond Brown colour in May 1978. The NZ batch fea­tured a yel­low head­lamp bulb which in­di­cated that they were orig­i­nally des­tined for a mar­ket with some form of fog or day­time light reg­u­la­tion. They all fea­tured the very ugly long rear fen­der (the USA model had a much more at­trac­tive shorter rear fen­der). The muf­flers were over re­stric­tive, and they were so quiet that the whirring sound of that large twin with bal­ancers was pro­nounced. We took to pro­trud­ing a hole through the muf­fler baf­fles in or­der to make the big twin sound a bit like a mo­tor­cy­cle. None of my mates with 1,000 cc open class mo­tor­cy­cles could touch me in a top gear roll on be­tween 70 kph and 140 kph; then the big twin sim­ply started to run out of breath, peak­ing at 180 kph if all your stars aligned. There was so much torque that hills were the Z750’s best friend. The next year, the Z750B3 ar­rived, with Lu­mi­nous Dark Green (my favourite colour) or Lu­mi­nous Dark Red paint­work. The front master cylin­der changed to a square shape and the front brake caliper was now be­hind the fork leg. Pric­ing went up to around NZ$3,600 be­fore drop­ping back to shift the stock. The big twin lived on in 1979 as the Z750B4, and then the se­date big twin spawned a se­ries of CSR and cus­tom cruiser mod­els dur­ing the early to mid 1980’s, with ei­ther wire spoke wheels (low cost range) or solid cast wheels (pre­mium range). Tony Sculpher, Mel­bourne, Vic.

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