Production start: January 1973
Production cease: October 1973
Frame Numbers: Z2F00026 to Z2F03687
Approximate number of model produced: 3600 Official photo release - Kawasaki
The Z1 may have had a 6 month head start regarding manufacture, but by time shipping and import control regulations had taken effect in various export markets, the Z2 wasn’t that far behind the Z1 in sales dates, probably no more than 2-3 months. Z2 manufacture commenced in late January 1973 and continued until October of that year when it was replaced by the Z2A. It was an instant success with sales outstripping the Honda CB750 by 9%. In all, 3,611 units were built in this first production run. The bike went on sale in its home market for 418,000 yen, which at 1973 exchange rates was about £700 - not too far adrift from the price of a 1973 H2A. Kawasaki claimed that the top speed was 200kph, with a SS quarter mile time of 12.5 seconds and a power output of 69bhp at 9000rpm.
Unlike the Z1 produced for 1973 in Brown/Orange and Yellow/Green, the Z2 was only produced in the Brown/Orange colours. In some ways the bike was a cross between the European and USA versions of the Z1. For example, the switchgear / headlight was UK spec (dipped for riding on the left), as was the seat and the fixed footrests, but the rear mudguard was the USA type, as were the rear shock absorbers (albeit with orange reflectors rather than the USA red ones). The sidepanel badges were identical to the 900 versions apart from the cc size, and of course it had a KPH speedo with a "red line" at 80kph - Anything more than 80kph and a switch under the fuel tank is tripped and a warning light fitted on top of the headlight comes on! The only other cosmetic change would be for the eagle eyed, that being a 42 tooth rear sprocket in place of a 35 tooth Z1 item.
With regards to the speed warning set up mentioned above, a mini-loom ran from the switch in the speedometer to the speed warning unit (Pt No. 25025-003) under the tank. This item was never offered as a spare part but the wires were later incorporated into the Z2A instrument light loom which adopted a new part number (compared to the Z1A item) for this purpose.
As mentioned earlier, the only other major differences relate to engine internals and carburettor specifications. However, for those interested in changes within the ‘first’ model specification, the engine changed from a one piece to the 2 piece head gasket at engine number Z2E01086 (equivalent to Z1E-14319). Also, the camshaft sprockets had a location mark put on them from Z2E01758 onwards. This was to provide accurate positioning for tappet clearance (the marks should level up with top face of cylinder head).
Although this motorcycle is most commonly referred to as Z2, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to it as 750RS. This is one of those bikes that officially appears to have 2 names. All Kawasaki literature refers to this model as either 750RS or Z2 (or both) depending on what reference you are reading. Clearly, in Japan, either name is OK. Some time ago I did enquire as to what the “RS” stood for. I was originally informed that this was “Road Star” but have since been informed that it means “Roadster”. Something lost in translation perhaps but either seems OK to me!
Above: Extracts from 1973 brochure Below: Images (Front and rear cover) from extremely rare 'Employee only' 1973 range brochure.
I The rear cover translated says: "Kawasaki Motorcycles on sale for employees only from June 1st to September 30th (1973) - Long payment is OK, no down payment, no interest - If you pay cash you will get discount - Great helmet will be the present" - For example the Z2 was - 20 months at 10000Yen, 2 months at 72000Yen and 1 month at 74000Yen (= 418000Yen)
All specifications are as Z1 except as follows
List Price: 418000 Yen
Colour: Candy Orange / Brown only
Maximum Horsepower: 69 BHP at 9000 RPM
Bore x Stroke: 64mm x 58mm
Final Drive Ratio: 2.80 (42 rear tooth / 15 Front tooth)
Final Drive: 96 Link
Carburetion: Mikuni VM 26 SC
Top Speed: 200KPH
Quarter Mile: 12.5 Seconds
Owner’s Manual: 99997-300
Shop Manual: 99997-200
Parts Book: 99997-103 (First Publication: 01 March 1973)
Service Log Book: 99997-401
Right: Shop manual 99997-200
Below: Owners Handbook 99997-300
Piston (Standard) 13001-063
Piston Ring (Standard) 13008-048
Piston pin 13002-026
Carburettor Assembly 16001-202
Rear Shock Absorber 45014-089
RH switchgear 46132-005
LH switchgear 46091-017
Rear sprocket 42041-132
Rear Chain 92057-025
Side Panel Badge 56018-153
Headlight Assembly 23004-054
Headlight lens 23007-054
Speed warning light 23016-014
Licence Plate holder 35027-002
Speed warning switch 25025-003