Z750 – 43 years on.

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Colin Leighfield 3 weeks, 5 days ago.

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    Colin Leighfield

    I bought my first Z750 new in October 1976. Now I am buying another one, but more later.

    I have been riding since 1963 and had been running a Norton Commando 850 Mk2A Interstate for 2 1/2 years. I loved it and a few years later had another one, my Norton interest remains and I still have the 650SS I have owned for 52 years. However then I was riding a lot and touring, plus being somewhat depressed at the destruction of Norton by the sit-in at Triumph and deciding that the next new bike couldn’t be a Norton and it certainly wouldn’t be the inferior T140. My brother’s brother in law bought one of the workers’ co-operative Bonnevilles new and it was badly made unreliable junk, so no way. Kawasaki had recently brought out the Z650 and I really wanted one. About then Birmingham Superbike (didn’t survive very long) had just opened in classy new premises on the Bristol Rd. in Birmingham. I cannot remember the name of one of the key partners, but another was Roger Slater of Laverda fame. It was a Kawasaki dealership but also sold Laverdas and BMWs. I’m not a BMW fan now but then I loved the R90S but it was too expensive. I rode a Laverda 750SF and liked it, but then saw the Z750. I had realised that the Z650 was on the small side for two up touring with a load of camping gear, but the Z750  was spot on, so I bought one instead. OOH338R, probably long gone. I rode it home on a crisp sunny late October day, parked it and saw oil dripping. Couldn’t believe it, but it was coming from the sight glass. I went straight back to the dealer and they sorted it. That was the only problem I ever had.

    At first I was disappointed  because it felt gutless after the Commando, but as I got used to it it I liked it more and more. It actually wasn’t lacking in torque and had good all round useable power. The only negative was an unexpected high frequency vibration  through the rubber mounted handlebars at high cruising speeds, which was probably exaggerated  in my expectations by the experience  of Commandos which are vibrationless above tick-over speeds because of the Isolastics. However because of the wish to gain a bit of weather and wind protection I fitted an Oxford Cockpit fairing, which was just like on  the R90S  and was easy to mount from the handlebars. They worked amazing well in spite of the small size but the unexpected side-effect was that the vibration disappeared completely! It was clearly due to the weight on the handlebars changing vibration frequencies, I have no doubt that bar end-weights would do the same thing.

    To add to the interest my brother bought a Z650 at the same time and we rode a lot together so could make comparisons. That was a fantastic bike and exciting, but in practice it’s higher top speed made little difference on the road and there was no doubt that for long distance touring the 750 was the better choice.

    Performance-wise the road tests in MCN and other publications reported a top speed of 108 mph. I found that I could easily get 110 on the clock without being flat on the tank so it was about right. I have seen 106 and 103 quoted elsewhere. It handled very well and although not so good by today’s standards, I found the brakes to be quite good enough and already knew how to avoid problems with wet weather braking. Fuel consumption was all round about 50 mpg. In August 1977 I toured the West and South coasts of France chasing the weather, because it poured down most of the time, even on the Côte d’Azure. I did 2,900 miles with wife on the back and full camping kit using luggage rack and panniers. The bike was perfect riding through the Massif Centrale and could cruise all day at an indicated 80/90 mph on the auto-routes. It never missed a beat and there were no oil leaks from anywhere.

    Shortly afterwards we started a family and after 8,000 miles I just couldn’t get out enough so regretfully sold it. A couple of years later I got going again with  a 1975 Commando Mk3, although young family restricted the touring opportunities. Since then I have owned a Yamaha FJ1200A, three Honda VFR800s, two VFR1200s, a VFR800X and currently, realising the futility of increasingly big and heavy bikes on modern roads, am thoroughly enjoying myself on a Honda CB500X that in the last twelve months has taken me on trips to Orkney, Brittany and Western France. Brilliant and amazing frugal on fuel, 77mpg to Orkney and back isn’t bad, no oil consumption and with a ScottOiler the chain never needs adjusting.

    Now back to the future by re-visiting the last. I have fulfilled my lingering interest in the Z750 by buying an imported American bike from Z1 Classics in Derby. It is a 1980 B3 that has 16,500 miles on the clock and clearly has been dropped because of light cosmetic damage and never ridden again. The paint is faded but all of the chrome, including on the rims and fork stanchions, is perfect. On Monday Mavericks Motorcycles are collecting it to begin a restoration to my specification. I am looking to have it on the road in spring 2020. Watch this space.




    Hi Colin,

    welcome to the Lonesome Twins and thank you for your introduction.

    Looking forward to see pics of your Twin.

    Best regards, Michael


    Colin Leighfield

    Hi Michael.

    Nice to hear from you. I have tried to upload photos but no success so far, clearly I’m doing something wrong. Any advice please?



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