Oli Hulme tries out this ‘forgotten’ 750…

It is curious how some things lodge in the memory. Back in the late 1970s, as I was failing to pay attention in sixth form, I lived next door to a chap who worked for East Midlands Allied Press in Peterborough, more commonly known as EMAP. I had a moped, and he would generously bring home surplus copies of their motorcycle magazines and hand them over. There would be the stodgy and staid Motorcycle Mechanics, offering such delights as showing you how to fit a new cam chain to your CD175. And there was the then-iconoclastic Bike, the attitude of which was much more to my taste.

Kawasaki Z750

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In February 1979, they printed one of their supertests, marking the launch of the new Honda CB750Z and pitting it against Yamaha’s XS750, Suzuki’s GS750 and Kawasaki’s Z750 twin. I cannot remember what Bike said about the Honda, Suzuki or Yamaha, but the Z750 test’s conclusions have stuck with me. Bike hated it. Compared to the triples and fours it was slow, they said. It was heavy, over-complicated for a parallel twin and didn’t handle. The big problem, according to Bike, was the then-new American emissions regulations. They had strangled the Z750. The rerouting of exhaust gasses and the two inadequate carburettors had ruined the DOHC twin. It was, they noted, ‘a motorcycle all bunged up with snot’. It was this phrase that stuck with me. Ever since then I’ve been firmly convinced that the Z750 twin was an absolute dog. Why would Bike magazine lie to me?

Kawasaki Z750