Like the CBX, the Z1300 has a fortieth birthday this year. “She’s not bad for her age,” says Pete, the owner of this 1300 – like Gordon and his Benelli, Pete has come along for the day to keep an eye on his pride and joy.as it happens, Pete not only owns the Z1300, he also has a Benelli Sei 900 as well. Fancy that. I’m surprised he hasn’t got a CBX1000 as well, to round off his collection.
“Never been keen on them,” he says bluntly. “Not knocking them,” he adds, aware that the community of six cylinderheads is a small pond. “When I met my missus in 1984 I was living in London and had a Z1-R. I ended up trading the Kawasaki for a Benelli Sei 900... but it used to chuck oil out everywhere. So I ended up selling it. Ever since then I kept an eye out for one, and when I got laid off in 2009 I had a bit of money so I bought one.
“And from then on I’ve been buying up the bikes I always had a thing for but could never afford,” continues Pete, echoing a sentiment shared by many PS readers. “I’ve now got 29 bikes altogether; a Kettle, Le Mans Mk2, Z1-R, coffin-tank 250 Yams, KH400, ZXR750, X7, 350 Powervalve, ’Blade, R1.” That’s a lot of trickle chargers. “They aren’t investments and they’re not show-ponies; they get ridden, a lot,” says Pete. “So, for example, me and missus took the Sei 900 to Italy a few years ago. I’ve done 10,000 miles on it.”
But we’re not here to talk about Pete’s Benelli; it’s the Z – or, more accurately, the KZ we’re interested in.
“The KZ came about because in 1985, after I sold the Sei, I got a CB900,” says Pete. “I was commuting on it one day when I came up behind a bike, two-up. I thought hello, bit of sport, like you do – so we both took off and this thing started pulling away. When I eventually caught up at some lights, turned out it was a Z1300.
“All the magazines at the time said they didn’t handle, didn’t go round corners – but this thing had no problem.and from then on, it was always in the back of my mind. So when I saw this 1979 bike with 23,000 miles on it – it came from a collection in Alaska, of all places, and was imported into the UK in 2014 – for sale down on the south coast for £4000, I snapped it up.”
The Z13 is every bit as imposing as the CBX, but where the Honda makes a go of being sophisticated and arty, the Kwack is all about blunt force trauma.when the beast was launched in 1978, its claimed 120bhp was directly responsible for the introduction of a 100bhp limit by French bureaucrats fearing the end of civilisation. Mind you, the sight of a blonde Finnish nutcase called
“THE HONDA MAKES A GO OF BEING SOPHISTICATED AND ARTY, THE KWAK IS ALL BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA”