Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - 18-CYLINDER GIANT TEST -

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 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


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