Restomod Reborn: Kawasaki KZ1000MK-II

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

1105cc Kawasaki KZ1000MK-II by AC Sanctuary… 

The Kawasaki Z1000MK-II appeared in 1978, largely as a response to the Suzuki GS1000 and Honda CB900F. Known as the KZ1000MK-II in some markets, the machine had beautiful new “edged” styling, but that wasn’t the only upgrade. The crank was rebalanced, with larger journals for better durability, and the cams were hotter, the carbs larger, and the airbox and silencers both tuned.

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

The result was a significant bump in peak power: 93 bhp at 8000 rpm. To compensate, Kawasaki also beefed up the headstock and adjusted the steering angle slightly. Taken together, the changes were substantial enough to warrant the Mark II designation, and the bike was a success in the showroom and on the circuit.

“When the Z1000MK-2 made its debut in the AMA superbike race championship, Freddie Spencer, who was still a high school student, instantly won 2 races. His successors, Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey’s remarkable results are known today as the beginning of the golden age of Kawasaki’s superbike racing.” –JB Power

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

While many of us miss the design and character of these 70s air/oil-cooled big fours, the chassis engineering, suspension, brakes, and tires of the era had not evolved as quickly as the powerplants that drove them. That’s where a men like Japanese master Hiroyuki Nakamura of AC Sanctuary have stepped in, creating stunning restomods that combine old-school power and style with modern tech.

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

We’ve covered several of Nakamura-san’s RCM (Radical Custom Manufacture) builds in the past, but this one is unique in that it’s a new remake of a build more than a decade old.

“This RCM-265 Z1000MK-II was manufactured around 2012 and was delivered to an owner living in Okinawa Prefecture. Taking into consideration the wear and tear on the bike over the years, the owner decided to take the plunge and do a major remake.”

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

The bike was brought back to the AC Sanctuary workshop, where it was completely overhauled…with some significant upgrades.

“First of all, the owner wished to convert to a solo seat, and along with that, the angle of the seat rail has been changed.”

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

The rear shock mounts were moved forward, for more aggressive handling and to allow fitment of the solo tail section.

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

At the same time, the original tank was swapped for an aluminum yet, and the bodywork was repainted in a candy lime green with carbonlike graphics.

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

Next up was the engine, which was completely disassembly and rebuilt with larger Pistal Racing pistons (1105cc / 11:1 compression), Web Stage 1 cams, and a 6-speed transmission. The big four-cylinder breathes through Yoshimura TMR carbs and a trick hand-bent titanium exhaust courtesy of Nitro Racing.

To haul down the green monster, Brembo brakes were fitted, and the bike is rolling on a set of 17-inch OZ Racing wheels designed for the ZRX1200, clad in Bridgestone S21 rubber (120/70-17 F / 180/50-17 R).

On the test ride, Nakamura-san said the bike feels completely different from before — much more dynamic — but that isn’t the only way this bike has bike has been improved.

“But it’s not just about dynamic performance. For example, for practicality on the street, a new accessory compartment has been added to the single seat. There is a plate that can be easily opened and closed on the rear backrest part where you sit…the large space inside the single seat can be used as a storage space for small items.”

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

Nakamura-san says that his workshop doesn’t underestimate such benefits for riders, as they want RCM owners to continue riding their bikes for a long time. Obviously, this lucky owner rode his build so much over the decade that it was due for an overhaul, and the bike has been remade and transformed into a machine he can continue to enjoy for years to come.

Kawasaki KZ1000MKII Restomod

Build Sheet


Frame Original frame reinforcement ST-II Compatible with drive chain line offset
Aluminum seat rail, one-off
Powder coating after blasting
Drive chain offset inline processing
Steering stem SCULPTURE stem kit SP TYPE-1
Front fork Conventional Ohlins Ф43 E×M package
Front wheel OZ Racing PIEGA for ZRX1200 3.50-17
Front brake Brembo Radial 484
(Master) Brembo Radial Φ19×18
(Brake hose) Allegri short system
(Disc) RCM concept Ф320 HOLE&SLIT
(Support) SMB radial mount caliper support
Front fender NITRO RACING Ceiling Fender KIT (TYPE Racing, Carbon)
Swing arm SCULPTURE R.C.M wide swingarm Monaca type stabilizer
Racing stand hook
Rear shock Ohlins Legend Twin
Rear wheel OZ Racing PIEGA for ZRX1200 5.50-17
Rear brake Brembo CNC caliper
(Master) NISSIN Φ14
(Brake hose) Allegri short system
(Disc) Sunstar Ф250 HOLE&SLIT
(Support) SMB
(Torque rod) SMB rigid mount
Tires (Front) Bridgestone S21 120/70-17
(Rear) Bridgestone S21 180/50-17
Drive chain EK530RCM
Sprocket (Front) 530-19 flat type
(Rear) Sunstar 530-43
Chain line Normal mm85 → 23mm offset to 108mm
Other Sanctuary Mechanic Brand D Chain Slider


sheet Original
Drive sprocket cover NITRO RACING TYPE-2
Clutch Master Brembo Radial Φ16×18
Clutch hose Allegri Sholto System
Paint YF Design
Other ・TOMOFRP single seat cowl & upper cowl for Z1-R
・Magical racing mirror
・NITRO RACING under cowl

Intake/exhaust/cooling/electrical system

EX muffler NITRO RACING Hand-bent titanium EX (short tail) heat polish
Silencer Straight Ⅴ-3 320mm
Carburetor Yoshimura TMR-MJNΦ38 dual stack funnel
Fuel cock PINGEL
Ignition system AS Uotani SP2
Cooling system Nitro 11 inch 13 stage round oil cooler
Bore/stroke 73mm/66mm
displacement 1,105cc
Piston manufacturer Pistal Racing 11.0:1
Crank Centering correction
Cylinder PAMS Boring & honing after replacing EST liner
Top surface minimum value grinding
Clutch Clutch housing Z1000 POLICE genuine full conversion
Mission 6-speed cross mission + EVO system
Crankcase Pumping loss processing
Valve IN PAMS HF valve
Valve EX PAMS HF valve
Valve guide Sintered alloy oversize valve guide
Valve seat Sheet cut processing
Cylinder head Lower surface minimum value surface grinding
Cam chain EK cam chain
Timing parts SMB rigid idler all-one package
Cylinder stud SMB Chromoly cylinder stud bolt
Cylinder head nut SMB Chromoly nut
Camshaft WEB ST-1

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  1. Always thought the originals were great looking bikes but this bike is better in every possible way. Great job!

  2. I agree with Vincent

  3. Très très fort

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