Late 70s Japanese superbikes have character by the bucketload—unlike the plasticized contemporary offerings. There’s ample performance too: a stock Kawasaki KZ1000 puts out around 90 hp, and can run the quarter mile in just over 12 seconds.
Unfortunately, the dynamics of such bikes have fallen a long way behind modern standards. And that’s where the custom workshop AC Sanctuary steps in, restoring and modifying machines like this KZ1000 Mk II.
As you’d expect from one of Japan’s leading specialists, the attention to detail is top-notch. The frame has been cleaned up, and reinforced to increase stiffness to 21st century levels. The forks, 17” wheels and front fender are from a Yamaha XJR1200, with braking duties handled by a mix of Sunstar, Nissin and Brembo parts.
The KZ1000’s engine has been overbored and blueprinted. It’s now fed by Keihin FCR37 carburetion, with gases exiting into a Nitro Racing exhaust system. (Nitro Racing also supplies the seat and rearsets.) A nine-inch Earl’s oil cooler keeps temperatures down inside the DOHC inline 4, and the clutch is a strengthened item from the police-spec KZ1000. Michelin Pilot Road II sport-touring tires keep the show on the road.
If you live in Japan, it’d cost the equivalent of $42,000 to park this KZ1000 in your garage. But I suspect that every time you fire up the engine, it’d feel like money well spent.
Check out our coverage of past Sanctuary builds here. (And don’t blame us if you’re tempted to book the next flight out to Tokyo.)