How to Restore Kawasaki Z1, Z/KZ900 and Z/KZ1000: Book Review (Rider’s Library)

How to Restore Kawasaki Z1, Z/KZ900 and Z/KZ1000: Book Review (Rider's Library)

Finally getting around to restoring that ’73 Zed in the shed? Well, here’s the book you really need before you blow the dust off of it. That bike and the others covered in Chris Rooke’s new book, How to Restore Kawasaki Z1, Z/KZ900 and Z/KZ1000, deserve to have the job done right.

The fact is, a 1973 Kawasaki Z1, even in basic basket-case condition is worth some real money. According to the Comprehensive Vintage Motorcycle Price Guide even in condition six (generally non-running, parts missing, in poor overall condition, possibly parts-bike quality), a ‘73 Zed could bring over $4,000. In showroom condition, they have sold at auction for more than $25,000! Of course, prices for vintage bikes vary a lot from time to time and buyer to buyer. But you get the idea.

How to Restore Kawasaki Z1, Z/KZ900 and Z/KZ1000: Book Review (Rider's Library)Let’s say you decide to go ahead with a frame-up restoration. Good for you! But while the spirit is willing the technical expertise is a bit weak.

What you need is a book that goes where you are about to go: deep inside a motorcycle, you may have never worked on before, into assemblies and parts you have never disassembled and reassembled before, maybe even using tools and techniques you haven’t used before.

Worse, you may encounter parts that have become bonded together over the long years, which aren’t supposed to be, and parts that are supposed to be as one that are now in multiple pieces.

Well, take heart. There is a book that goes there in detail. If your project bike is a Kawasaki Z1, Z or KZ 900 or Z or KZ1000, many of the most troublesome questions you may have on the way to restoring that old beast are confronted with detailed narrative and clear, helpful full-color images. A whopping 794 images, in fact.

Author Chris Rooke gets down and dirty with the complete restoration project—even to include a cautionary tale about transporting a non-running resto bike on a rented trailer with nearly-catastrophic consequences! The book, How to Restore Kawasaki Z1, Z/KZ900 and Z/KZ1000 is based on the complete “ground-up” restoration of a 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 A4. Much of what applied to that project is applicable to the other models, as well.

As such, Rooke has hands-on experience with the types of problems that can go with attempting to restore an old bike that my have seen years of disuse, improper storage and various types of damage. Things like fouled fuel systems, corrosion, stuck brake caliper pistons and such are the types of challenges such restorations can entail.

Rooke even goes into the details about how to find, evaluate and acquire a potential restoration project bike; or, perhaps more important what things not to do. How to avoid buying a bike that isn’t what it was billed to be and to keep from paying too much. He also discusses the hazards of parts made of what we may call “unobtainium.” Simple fact, some parts just aren’t out there in any numbers, even as salvage and some aren’t available at all as new parts.

Rooke includes some sage advice about his own technical resource—he gives advice on how to handle those old-bike, crusty-rusty parts problems that tend not to be covered in factory service manuals where the images always show shiny, clean new engines and parts being worked on. That said, he also advises would-be restorers to have those factory service manuals on hand before the restoration project starts—his book is not intended as a replacement for the technical information they contain.

The book has 52 chapters that carry the reader/restorer from project preparation to disassembly, cleaning, inspecting and restoration of parts and assemblies, painting, vapor blasting, powder coating, polishing and reassembly.

Chris Rooke has invested an enormous effort in the restoration advice. His investment has paid off in a superb resource that can teach the reader a few things, even if a Kawasaki Z1 is not the object of the restoration. Indeed, the book has tips on techniques that can be applied in nearly any project.

Book Data

  • Title: How to Restore Kawasaki Z1, Z/KZ900 and Z/KZ1000
  • Author: Chris Rooke
  • Published: 2018 soft cover, 224 pages, 794 color images, page size 8.25” x 10.75.”
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
  • Veloce Publications are distributed in North America by: Quarto Publishing Group, 400 First Ave. North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Books can be ordered by e-mail at: or call: 1-612-344-8100. See:
  • ISBN: 978-1-787111-58-5
  • MSRP: U.S. $60.00 U.K. £35.00 $78 CAN

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