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PColaFl V2K LT
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I spent a lot of hours on a KZ900 when I was in my 20s. When I started thinking about a VN900 for my wife's next bike, it got me wondering about how they would compare on power. I know they are very different bikes from very different times but still, I was very impressed with the power that KZ900 had. I remember it had 4 into two exhaust with both pipes on the right. It also had a seat with a raised pilon and sorta mini-apes. Man that thing would fly. At leaste thats the way I remember it from 20 something years ago. Anyone know how the 900 V-twin compares as far as speed?
 

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What can I spend my $$ on
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Comparing the KZ to the VN would be like night and day. The VN is a dog compared to the KZ, my swisscheese memory thinks the old 9 did the 1/4 in the high 12's while the VN is around 15 sec.
 

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enjoying the ride
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no comparison. a KZ900 has a lot more power than a VN900. low rpm redline cruiser vtwins are no match for a high revving inline 4. another problem for the cruiser is they are much heavier than a sport or standard 4 cylinder bike. Those KZ900's would run in the low to mid 12's in the quarter mile and had a top speed over 120 mph. Very few(if any) cruisers of any size can match those numbers.
 

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Here's the only way the VN might beat the KZ: This is how my V2K can beat my son's ZX10!!! Put both bikes in TOP GEAR at about 30 mph and do a roll-on race. I can pull on him until his rpms are higher and then its VERY sad for the V2K!
 

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Vicrory is Mine
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KZ650 Vrs. VN900

Before I bought my 900 I had a 1978 KZ650, actually had both in the garage for a while. They are 2 totally different bikes, each with its pros and cons. The pros for the KZ were speed, handling, and breaking. The KZ was definitely faster from 0 to 60, 80, and probably further... I can only imagine what the KZ900 could do:shock: . I would have kept it but there was too much maintenance involved.
 

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2005 V2K
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You are kidding, right? I had a Z900 and a Z1000LTD. Also, just traded the Vulcan 9. Got the 900 when the 750 Honda's were king of the hill. The 1000 had a Kerker header, smooth bore carbs, and different gears. Made my knees knock! LOL Kinda' what that 2K's doin' to me now! The 9 would be an excellent choice for the wife.
 

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Not so Newbie
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Z1 was a rocket

I can speak for the Z1 which I rode everywhere and cross country too. Took it to the drags. Belly on the tank and let the clutch go. you had to be lined up staight because the front wheel was about six inches of the track through first gear and sometimes half of second. timed out at 11.5. I never found out the top speed on that bike. It wasn't the most stable at high speed. I got to about 125 and thought that was enough for me. Alway wished I had keeped that bike. I dug up an old photo for those that want to look back to 1974.

By the way, I have a "candy fire red" '08 Mean Streak on order. Took one look at it and that was it. Should have it mid December.
 

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You are kidding, right? I had a Z900 and a Z1000LTD. Also, just traded the Vulcan 9. Got the 900 when the 750 Honda's were king of the hill. The 1000 had a Kerker header, smooth bore carbs, and different gears. Made my knees knock! LOL Kinda' what that 2K's doin' to me now! The 9 would be an excellent choice for the wife.
this is a Kawasaki forum right? Honda 750 s King of the Hill? Then you never encountered a Kawasaki Mach 4. Hell, my red and white Kawasaki Mach III would beat the Honda 750 let alone my 72 blue Mach IV so when are you talking about that a Honda 750 would be King of the Hill? As a matter of fact, Kawasaki Mach IV was commonly referred to as "the king of the streets." I know I was never beaten by a motorcycle or a car on mine.

I was here looking for quarter-mile times on a stock kz900. A 1972 Kawasaki Mach 4 was the quickest quarter-mile in the world and I'm looking to see how long that lasted. I'm trying to find the next production bike to go quicker than 12 flat. I think "Pistol Pete" Grasilli's NHRA showroom stock 750 record she set on a 72 Mach IV at 11:81 stood for several years. many years later I rode kz900 and it seemed brutally quick but there's a difference between that feeling and the actual drag race because there's so much riding on the 1st 60 ft. The Mach 4 could really launch. And yes you could do it without wheel standing it. move forward until your crotch meets the gas and lean forward until your chin is practically on the tach, legs straight out behind you on your tiptoes balancing and you tiptoe into the staging beam holding the clutch lever with your index finger at the ball. Launch it by slipping your finger off the end of the clutch lever, with a little wheelspin before it bites, keep it balanced and you better hurry get your foot to the gear shifter. The run is over at the top of first gear. the rest is just gearshifting. no clutch, toe pressing up on the shifter, don't go past the redline, flip your wrist on the throttle and it will shift.
 

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Good writeup and welcome to the site carboncrank!

I think the term King was unofficially given to the CB750 not because of 1/4 mile times but because it was the world's first production inline 4 cylinder engine and at 750cc it was formidable. Kawasaki was also secretly working on its 750cc inline 4 at about the same time, but Honda beat them to the punch so they said fine, we will skip the 750 design and produce a 900cc Honda Killer instead. They did, and as they say... the rest is history.

There is no doubt that the Kawasaki triples became legendary for their sheer acceleration, wheelies and lack of handling.
I am sorry that I don't have any 1/4 mile data to help you out but my sense is that no stock KZ900 will turn a sub 12 second quarter. The triples were ungodly fast.
 

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Good writeup and welcome to the site carboncrank!

I think the term King was unofficially given to the CB750 not because of 1/4 mile times but because it was the world's first production inline 4 cylinder engine and at 750cc it was formidable. Kawasaki was also secretly working on its 750cc inline 4 at about the same time, but Honda beat them to the punch so they said fine, we will skip the 750 design and produce a 900cc Honda Killer instead. They did, and as they say... the rest is history.

There is no doubt that the Kawasaki triples became legendary for their sheer acceleration, wheelies and lack of handling.
I am sorry that I don't have any 1/4 mile data to help you out but my sense is that no stock KZ900 will turn a sub 12 second quarter. The triples were ungodly fast.
thanks for the warm welcome. I hope you feel that way when you're done knowing how I really feel LOL there are so many people the blamed their own deficiencies on the motorcycle. Blaming things on the motorcycle that were not the motorcycle's fault
I have so many ways to push back on this bad handling stuff. Let me give you the full version of something I just wrote in response to somebody that complained about the wheelies and claimed to have added a dampener (It came with one already on it) a vagure reference to some sort of fork brace in Z Bars to keep it from wheelieing. this is how I respond to such nonsense.

Keeping the front down was completely in your right wrist at all times. It was how you applied throttle and where you sat. if you were meat fisted with the throttle it would wheelie. keep it down by moving up on the seat leaning forward. Plus, if it wheelied, so what? if it came as a surprise it was your fault, not the bikes. People loved to see the wheelies. all the time people were going "get a wheelie" It was rare back then, so I learned to ride it on the back wheel. I could balance mine on the back wheel in second gear and if I had room sometimes keep it up shifting into third. you were never going to be any good at street racing if you couldn't keep the front end down. And I was very good at street racing period never beaten by another motorcycle or a car. and on the dragstrip, I didn't feel too bad about getting beat because I was second banana to the guy that held the NHRA National Record in the street stock 750 class. "pistol" Pete Grasselli. 11:81. I was there at National Trail Raceway the day he set it. The record stood for three or four years. They called him Pistol Pete because of his reaction time and his launch prowess. Nobody consistently cut a better light. That's where he beat me all the time. First 60 feet. and on the drag strip I didn't feel too bad about getting beat because the guy that beat me held the NHRA National Record in the class I was there at National Trail Raceway the day he set it. The record stood for three or four years. he won so much and had so many trophies I think he got bored with it. To me, Pete was an older guy because I was 21 and he was over 40. he had been racing a long time before the H2s came out. One time he told me he was going to be racing at an AHRA National event at Norwalk Raceway in Ohio so I went up and said hi and watched him race. ( we knew each other, hell he'd given me rider position tips and tire pressure advice and still beat me) Pete ho hummed his way all the way to the stock motorcycle eliminator final against an 18 year old farm boy on an H1. I had seen him looking the kid over in the pits as the kid was pouring dry ice on the cylinder heads to cool them down between rounds and he'd been watching the previous rounds when the kid Raced. He knew this kid has never won anything big before. The tree flashes down and Pete is asleep at the lights. In two years I had never seen him cut such a bad light. IMOP He did it on purpose. He wanted to encourage that kid because he thought the kid had talent. I asked him about it and he sloughed it off. He said as he was last to stage and the staging light had flickered off and he inched forward and it had only been back on for half a second when they started the tree so he may not have been back to holding it on the front brake enough to preload everything and he thought the bike inched forward on him as the tree came down and he was afraid to be as aggressive as he would have been. racers know the staging beam has a width and you just barely break the beam with the front edge of your tire so you can actually launch before it turns green as long as the rear edge hasn't exited the beam before the green light comes on. He was saying he wasn't sure how far forward it inched. I just smiled at him and was moved by how much he saw what that win mean to that kid. He couldn't gift me that way because I couldn't get close enough on my daily rider that I rode to the strip against his blueprinted trailered bike that never saw a city street for 2 years. Plus, I raced him on his home turf, his territory. He was competitive and knew if he gave me an inch I might try to make a mile out of it in his backyard. Anyway, I had never seen his bike at a standstill when the green light came on ever before. Pete was a band director at a local high school and a jazz trumpet player with a goatee a corvette and to me was about the coolest guy I knew. He wasn't in it for the money. I push back on the bullshyt about how unrideable they were or that flexing frame crap. I get tired of the woosies complaining that the problem was with the bike and not their lack of talent. It was just another machine with controls on it. That's the way my father looked at things. He was WWII and Korean war navy carrier pilot nd I remember him reflecting on planes like the Gruman Hellcat and the Douglas Skyraider. He was a farmer's son who did countless hours driving a tractor on a truck farm. Whether it was driving a straight line on a tractor pulling a planter or a cultivator between seedlings, or driving his fastest in town Studebaker Champion in high school or riding his big Indian, or night landing a Gruman Hellcat in 1945 he said it was just operating a different machine with different controls. You took the time and put in the effort to learn how they work and if you're not good with machines that's your problem. He would have looked at the people scared witless by the Mack IV as guys that would have washed out of basic flight training and went back to mama. in drag racing or street racing you learned how to control it, and in the case of street racing I won a fair amount of money controlling it or you puttered around town and occasionally got a kick out of pulling away from a GTO or something. Not everyone can handle raw passion. They make excuses as to why she kicked them out. Fact is, she did not want beginners or ones that thought they could get away with stuff they had pulled on others. That IS what she'd do if you were a meat fisted bully with her. She'd kick your sorry ass off and go "NEXT!" until she found someone with some patience and fitness, then after she spent weeks training you, and you letting her know you understood, she rewards you beyond your wildest dreams.

Let me find the multi-bike comparison test that should have put to bed a lot of the nonsense about her because it is data-driven. I'll prep it. The stopwatch does not care how the bike feels. The stopwatch tells you how fast you covered gound. The 72 H2 and the 73 Z1 were fastest around riverside tied to the ten of a second. with none of the other bikes even close. Would it have proved any point to go to the hundredth? This I already knew because some of my street racing was on twisties. Not that I didn't have moments but so did the guys chasing me and I once covered a 13-mile stretch so far ahead of 7 other riders that I flipped it around at the end pointed to where they'd be coming from put in both the kickstand and lit a cigarette before anybody got there. 3 stretches long enough to bump against 120mph staying wide open until the braking point. No rolling out of the throttle. It was an Isle of Man kind of thing but more twisty. No sustained top end, just raw acceleration, just long enough to bump 120 (it would need another 5 seconds or so to 125), imagine trying to catch me on anything else, and there was an H1 now that i think about it but I think he quit chasing after I pulled away on the first long straight bit. On 2 occasions I'd say the bike saved my ass by actually making a turn I assumed I'd killed myself on. That factor was designed in to make you uncomfortable at times when the bike actually had your back. Once I assumed I was in the woods, the other time off a cliff coming down out of the San Bernadino mountains at a place with a sign that says rim of the world. I was racing steep downhill trying to catch the only rider who had ever passed me that I couldn't just gobble up. Probably 85 mph in a sweeping steep downhill right-hander so steep I couldn't slow up fast enough and I couldn't stay on the front brake as I had to turn in. I could just see it going out from under me and drawing a straight line to the guardrail. There was nobody coming up the mountain so I plowed across both lanes on the brake as hard as I could, then turned it in at the last second. There had been a lookout turnout I had turned into that gave more room to slow before I had to hug the guardrail to a stop and it stuck. I braked all the way to a stop, kicked out the kickstand and my chest heaved for at least 2 minutes. I looked over the guardrail. Maybe 500 feet before I'd have hit anything, maybe more. I looked back over my shoulder and there was a sign that named the lookout vista It said "Rim of the World." What I didn't know was this Honda that had passed me was highly modified beyond anything I'd seen on the streets back in Ohio, and he was an experienced honest to god road racer, I was a ballsy amature. Detail. Highway 18 san Bernadino mountains lose 4000 feet in about 11 miles. Imaging and H2 pointed downhill like that and how it would leap every time I'd open the throttle, and I wasn't gain ground even in the short bursts wide open. You may understand how I need up in deep dodo. He's been there before. Now, If I'd have gotten myself killed would it be because of the bike? on the contrary, I think that last bit of margin built in saved my ass. It may not be as obvious to me as the one where I assumed it would oversteer and I'd get launched high-sided into the woods but i have that feeling. It was SO my fault.

let me find the article.
 

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Good writeup and welcome to the site carboncrank!

I think the term King was unofficially given to the CB750 not because of 1/4 mile times but because it was the world's first production inline 4 cylinder engine and at 750cc it was formidable. Kawasaki was also secretly working on its 750cc inline 4 at about the same time, but Honda beat them to the punch so they said fine, we will skip the 750 design and produce a 900cc Honda Killer instead. They did, and as they say... the rest is history.

There is no doubt that the Kawasaki triples became legendary for their sheer acceleration, wheelies and lack of handling.
I am sorry that I don't have any 1/4 mile data to help you out but my sense is that no stock KZ900 will turn a sub 12 second quarter. The triples were ungodly fast.
I was wrong, it wasn't around Riverside it was around Orange County International.

Their criticisms of the H2 on the road course have more to do with manners then they do with anything inherently wrong with the bike. They of course had some criticisms the handling of all the bikes the problem is the stopwatch doesn't lie. a good rider can hustle the bike tight road course as fast as anything. It didn't have handling problems as much as it had RIDER problems.

and in relation to the rim of the world notice the brake test. The most G's stopping from around 60mph, the Z1 close second, and the Harley was terrible. it was terrible everywhere lol. actually, the brakes saved me from a worse fate the one time I did get high sided on it. Totally my fault.

keep in mind to this was the 72 H2, not the 73, which is what all H2's should be measured by and all the
other bikes are 73 model year. All of them better than their 72 counterparts but not as good as the original H2.

 

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Thanks again carboncrank and yes, you are still more than welcome. There is nothing wrong with dissenting opinions and good discussions as long as we remain civil and respectful. 😁

I think you misunderstood. I see the triple's wheelie characteristic as a plus and not a minus!

And thanks for the link to Cycle Magazine's testing of superbikes which proves your point that in the hands of an expert racer, an H2 can turn in some impressive lap times. But the vast majority of H1 and H2 buyers were not expert racers and thus the bikes quickly earned the nicknames of "widowmaker" and "flexy flyer". The raw power of these bikes was not well matched to the frame and Kawasaki's attempt to fix this was to add a steering damper which helped to prevent the dreaded tank slappers but did nothing to stop the frame from actually flexing under cornering loads.

From my personal experience in competitive road racing (circa 76-78), I have never seen the triples do well despite racing against them with my KZ900 and KZ650. I have watched them blow past riders on the straights, only to lose all of that ground in the turns.

So in my opinion, the H1 and H2 are legendary bikes, but handling in turns was not their forte.

A word of advice in regards to posting. Readers are more likely to read your lengthy posts if you break them up into paragraphs.

Cheers!
 
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