The rear shock is horrific, it only had 105 bhp and if the shock didn’t ruin your balls the riding position would make sure there was no way that you would be up for any apres ride fun. However despite this or maybe even because of this, the Zxr750 became the bike that everyone in the 90’s wanted to own.
The Zxr has always been a crazy bike, it was launched in 1989 in direct competition to Honda’s RC30 and Yamaha’s OW 01 except it was a lot cheaper. The RC30 was $11,014 the OW01 $16,468 but the Kawasaki was only $5,839 and that made it the bargain of the century.
It didn’t matter that the suspension tried to throw you off if you ran over anything bigger than a grain of sand because it had everything you could want AND it had Hoover tubes that made it look like something from a sci-fi writer’s imagination of how a bike should look. Those Hoover tubes were so cool and stories of forced air induction were whispered in the bar with knowing nods of the head but in reality they didn’t do anything but put cool air onto the head. Who cared though they looked so cool so they HAD to be special!
They're special them!
When it came down to figures the more expensive bikes had it beaten, but not by much and on the road or track it could more than hold its own, especially if you bought the race kits. It was a real 150mph, 750cc bike, at time when that was still special for a 1000cc bike, and I had to have one. It was not I wanted, it was I HAD to have one, it became the reason why I went to work, why I did overtime, why I didn’t go to the pub so often…I was serious.
Finally the day came when I slung my leg over my very own Zxr750h1 and so began a 27 year long love story. Off I went, and immediately found out that those myths about the suspension were all true and I didn’t care one little bit. I didn’t care that my wrists were going to ache from the cramped riding position, or that my balls were getting crushed onto the tank every time I braked, I was riding my very own endurance racer for the road. Then I left town and onto the open road and suddenly, as I reached 100mph everything became clear. The suspension started to work, the cramped riding position became a lot more comfortable as the wind took the weight off my wrists and I was able to start to enjoy the rigid Aluminum E-Box frame.
Kawasaki sold boatloads of Zxr750s, through all its incarnations it remained a classic bike, but none have as much of a following as the H1. The owners are fanatics and the bike is still desirable despite its now dated looks. Mine is now starting on its third total rebuild and the engine hasn’t been standard for a long, long time. It has race cams, big bore pistons and a beefier clutch to go along with the race pipe and K&N air filter. I have ditched the shock for a WP version and that makes a huge difference, as does the Metchamex swinging arm, but I have always kept the original look of the bike...until now. This time I am ditching the fairing, putting in upside down forks and nice wide Renthal bars, yep it’s going to be a street fighter. The rear end is going to be replaced by a Ducati unit and the green white and blue paintwork is going, I am thinking about satin black as a replacement.
For all you purists out there, no need to worry, I am keeping all the original parts just in case I decide next time round to put it all back to standard…I wouldn’t risk permanently disfiguring an H1!
There is only one thing that is bothering me, how can I incorporate those Hoover hoses into the new build….oh it is such a worry!