The Kawasaki Z1 was mad, bad and dangerous to know. So in the mid-90s, Kawasaki decided to revive the legend and create a tribute bike, the Zephyr. Unfortunately the Zephyr didn’t quite have the excitement or edgy nature of the original. But it sold well in Europe, so there are a quite a few around; they’re relatively cheap secondhand, and they’re less likely to kill you than a Z1.
Portugal’s Ton-Up Garage has just shown what you can achieve with relatively few mods to a Zephyr, which in this case, is a 1993 750 model. It’s called ‘Zephyrus’ and caused a bit of a stir at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Oporto a couple of months ago.
It’s not a big budget build or a radical transformation but Pedro Oliveira and crew have lifted the Zephyr to a new level. The aircooled 738 cc engine is strong, and with 75 hp in stock form, has plenty enough oomph for most riders. It’s been perked up with free-flow air filters and a sharp-looking exhaust, with a re-jet to match.
There’s a new rear subframe, a simple café racer-style tail unit with a compact taillight, and a new leather single seat. Revised side panels cover the electrics and battery, and there’s a shorter fender up front. The stock footpegs are gone, replaced by rearsets, with clip-ons from LSL accentuating the sporty riding position. Blacked-out wheels are now shod with Michelin racing wets. And if you think the stance of the Zephyr has improved, you’re right—the front suspension has been shortened a little at the front for a slightly more aggressive stance.
It just shows how a few well-thought-out mods (and a good eye for paint) can have a big impact on a relatively humble bike. Portugal, douze points!