King Zed: Kawasaki “KZ1135” MKII Restomod

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII from AC Sanctuary…  

The Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII was the 1979-80 version of the liter-sized Zed. It received some nice upgrades over the previous model, including fresh bodywork, larger carbs, electronic ignition, and thicker frame tubes to improve rigidity and handling. The 1015cc engine itself featured hotter cams and a rebalanced crank with larger journals. With 28mm carbs and tuned silencers, the big Zed could boast a max output of 93 horsepower 58.5 pound-feet of torque, good for a quarter-mile time of 12.1 seconds.

While the KZ1000 was no longer the fastest production bike on two wheels — the Honda CBX, Suzuki GS1000, and Yamaha XS1100 could boast similar times — it remained hard to beat as an all-around muscle bike.

“While there are faster motorcycles, the Kawasaki thousand is noteworthy for its flexibility and excellent power at all engine speeds. It pulls well from idle, isn’t a bit fussy, and Kawasakis road raced and drag raced have proven the engine is durable.” –Cycle World, 1979

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

Of course, the KZ-MKII you see here is no ordinary Zed. It’s RCM-600 from AC Sanctuary — a landmark “Radical Custom Manufacture” to roll out of the renowned Japanese workshop. Headman Hiroyuki Nakamura is legendary for his work transforming air-cooled Zeds from aging workhorses into modernized slaver-inducers potent enough to quail the hearts of all but the sharpest contemporary supersports.

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

For most of us, it would be a dream to own a single RCM, but the owner of this KZ1000 MKII already owns four of them — this is his fifth! Says Nakamura-san:

“This large and well-built machine was created with strong individual specifications at the request of the owner. In particular, we were asked to make no compromises in terms of visuals.”

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

The bike’s frame was given a Stage 2 frame reinforcement with laser alignment and custom subframe, then powder-coated. The front forks are 43mm Öhlins “ExM” (Exchange Mode) units, which AC Sanctuary sells as a package along with fenders and brackets, while a pair of Öhlins Blackline shock absorbers keep the rear planted.

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

The bike is rolling on OZ Racing GASS RS-A (3.5-17″ front / 6-17″ rear) wheels originally designed for the ZRX1200, and the chainline was offset 21mm to 108mm to allow for the wider wheels.

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

The swingarm is from RCM’s house brand Sculpture, but modified. Notice the one-off “machined eccentric suspension mount stabilizer,” which adjustment of the rear shock angle with just a couple of bolts on each side. Trick!

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

The brakes have been upgraded with Brembo calipers, Nissin master cylinders, and Sunstar discs (320mm F / 250mm R).

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

Those stoppers will be well appreciated by the new owner, as the engine has been bored to 1135cc with PAMS liners, DiNx forged pistons, Yoshimura ST-II cams, and oversized PAMS HF valves. Says Nakamura:

“Due to its lightweight piston characteristics, the engine has a light and sharp response when starting up.”

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

A sturdier KZ1000 Police clutch housing was installed along with Brembo master cylinder. The 1135cc mill breathes through a set of 35mm Yoshimura carbs and a set of hand-bent titanium Nitro Racing 4:1 pipes sure to burble and crack on deceleration like a machine-gun.

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

As far as bodywork, there’s a Z1-R style fairing with smoked screen up front and TOMO FRP single-seat cowl in the ear, along with a bellypan for catching the oil if the engine lets go on the track. The paint and graphics are the work of YF Design.

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

The cockpit houses a trio of STACK meters in a one-off meter panel, and the levers are from the RCM Concept series.

Kawasaki KZ1000 MKII Restomod

The result is one of the most aggressive KZ1000 restomods to roll out of the AC Sanctuary workshop — a road-legal machine that’s ready to attack the storied Tsukuba Circuit.


“The owner is already considering purchasing a Honda vehicle for his next RCM, and we’re already looking forward to seeing what kind of specifications the sixth RCM will have. Regardless of the future, we would like you to enjoy the long-awaited RCM-600 and experience not only its visuals but also its excellent riding performance.”

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  1. Excelente motocicleta!! Realmente los felicito. Hacen las mejores de la decada del 80.

  2. That’s one of the fastest bikes ever

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