View Full Version : 1981 KZ1000 Daily Rider Build

02-16-2016, 9:37 AM
Hey Guys-

I've got my dads shovel, but knew I wouldn't want to ride it everyday to work. So I've been looking around for a cool 70's Jap 4 bike to build to ride everyday. Something cool, but budget and not too nice that I wouldn't want to ride it all the time. I was looking for a CB750 mostly when I fell into this 1981 KZ1000 LTD. I would've preferred a bike with a kicker, but for $500 bucks with clean papers I cant argue with this gem. 9k original miles.

http://i1160.photobucket.com/albums/q488/joshcook5003/KZ.jpg (http://s1160.photobucket.com/user/joshcook5003/media/KZ.jpg.html)

It's remarkably clean for a bike this vintage for this cheap. It's all there, no hacked wiring, solid compression on all cylinders, all papers clean and clear. It wont fire due to intermittent spark, probably from a bad ignition box. I'm going scrap all that stuff and go with a Dyna setup anyway. I've had nothing but awesome luck with those. Speaking of, anyone know which Dyna fits the 81 1000 engines? I know they are slightly different from earlier bikes.

The plan here is clean it up, get it running nice and not change much unless it makes it more comfortable, faster or handle better. Trying to remain true to what the 70's style Z1 and KZ's were about. Pods, a Kerker or equivalent exhaust setup, some new bars, and lightly updated semi-stock suspension.

I do have a few questions.

I'd love to run spokes on this bike. Does anyone know which hubs will fit the dual front discs and rear disc with minimal work. I don't mind lacing them myself I just dont want a headache fitting the hubs. I'm thinking an 18" rear and 19" front to get the stance about right.....opinions?

Bars, two knee destruction's and an ankle full of hardware later I much prefer mid's to rear sets, so I plan to clean those up simply, maybe with some homemade pegs in the stock position. I also don't like leaning over the tank with a ton of weight on my wrists like most clip-ons give. Anyone ever throw a set of super bike bars on one of these got some pics?

Suspension, I imagine someone makes a set of progressive springs for the front forks. Does anyone know a direct swap rear shock that's decent for the money?

The seat, the thing has to go, am I better retaining the stock pan and just having new foam molded to the shape I want. Can any of the earlier KZ flat seats be installed? Other aftermarket options?

I think all the LTD's came with the "cruiser-ish" rear fender setups. Anyone know how hard it is to fit a 70's style "ducktail" fender to one of these. I'll be eliminating the rear fender and just want to run the stock plastic tail piece with a light tucked into it.

The tail section in question:

http://www.oldkawman.com/1978-kz1000-tail-blk-gld.jpg (http://www.oldkawman.com/1978-kz1000-tail-blk-gld.jpg)

Thanks in advance guys, I think should be a fun build, with a cool end result.

02-16-2016, 9:50 AM
Looks like this might be the ignition setup I need, I'll have to switch to Dyna 3 Ohm coils, but that should cure any and all ignition problems. We recently did this to a friends hacked up GS550 and it worked like a champ.


02-16-2016, 11:16 AM
the frame has to have the some mods done to the subframe to be able to mount the ducktail,as it has a step from the factory that the pre-81 bikes didn't have.
so you would actually need a seat (or pan at least)from a pre-81 also.

kzrider.com is a good place for info just don't mention bobbing ,or brat,or chop,or cafe'ing your bike .

keep us posted,


02-16-2016, 11:39 AM
the frame has to have the some mods done to the subframe to be able to mount the ducktail,

kzrider.com is a good place for info just don't mention bobbing ,or brat,or chop,or cafe'ing your bike .

Thanks for the info. For some reason registration is down at kzrider.....

02-16-2016, 12:02 PM
The "CSR1000" of the same year came with spoke wheels they'll almost bolt up by themselves. In '81 they changed the frame/motor blah, blah, blah. I cut the rear loop section from a '80 and down and welded it in the '81 Loop so I could "bolt up" the '80 and earlier LTD tail section. There is a digital ignition system that bolts up and draws less amp/power from the charging system, but the name slips me now.