Your Z - Steve West - Z1B Modified


Steve West - Z1B


Steve West - Z1B

September 2014

This Z belongs to Steve West who lives in Sky Valley, California. Steve nicknames the bike, Bossie.
He bought it new in 75. 3 overhauls in 40 years. Not done yet!
Here is Steve's story.  
I bought the bike new when I was 21 while I lived in LA. It was a Demo model so I got it for $2300.00. My boss had the 73 Z1, my best friend bought the 74 Z1A, I was riding a 73 Honda CL 350. A friend tried to get me to buy his 75 H 2 750 telling me it would blow off the Z1 and I could have it for $900.00. This thing was scary. I got it on the freeway and nailed it through the gears. I couldn't keep the front end on the ground! I brought it back shaking, no sale.
I bought my 1975 Z1B the next day. It was the blue one. One week end we were riding in Malibu canyon, it was Jim in front on his 73, Larry and wife on their 74 bored out to 1015 with Kirker exhaust, me on my 75 and Jim I on his 76 KZ 900, he was in back. I was #2 in line when Larry tried to pass me in a tight turn. I let him go by but hit a rain rut and went down. Damn, now I got boo boo's all over my bike. I rode alone most of the time after that. Loved to go to the Rock Store on Saturdays and blew off most of the bikes out there. The RD 350's were like bees in the twisties but in the streight away's it's See YA. Now you have to catch me.
I left LA in 76 and moved here. It's a home stead left to me by grand ma. I'd come here over the years on different bikes but this time to stay. This was the only Z1 for 60 miles. Yeah, I was on top of the bike food chain. Unbeatable. Bossie was a legend. One night after closing time on HWY 111, I came up to a Dodge Charger that sounded like it was hitting on 4 cylinders. We were at a light. The driver asked, "You think you got it?" I said I know it. That guy walked away from my like I was on a Moped. It was a funny car!. I learned something that night.
I broke a cam chain in 78, bored it out to 1015, Andrews X 1 cams, replaced my rattley exhaust with cross over 4 into 2 headers with Jardine slip on's and Lester Mags. I wrenched in two shops in the 80's. One was a motorcycle salvage and I was putting together bikes from parts to sell for the owner. A friend of mine had a CB 750 in a springer frame bored out to 1015, he had to have the barrels welded so oil wouldn't seep through the metal, after market carb's headers and traditional Harley chopper tank etc. He called it his Honda Davidson. His name was Donny known to be the best wrench in the valley. God that bike was fast. I'd pull on him after tweaking my timing and playing with my carb's. He'd say "Your learning". I lost contact with him in 86 after the wreck. A stake bed truck turned left in front of me. June 13 1986 a Friday. Both me and Bossie were down for 2 years.
I bought a GPZ 550 to see if I had the nerve to ride again. Nice bike but I needed the power so I put the Z1 back together again. This time with a used frame I gusseted up to deal with that notorious wobble, back to wire wheels (the mags were shot), Z1 750 crank welded by VH, Z2 750 barrels bored to 1015 ( still said 903cc?), kept the cams, ported it myself, back cut the tranny dogs, 4/1 VH exhaust, duel disks up front with H2 calipers and 33 mm Micuni carbs. That was in 88. Rode her until 99 when it needed  another overhaul. Been a single parent for 10 years by then so no money for a bike. She sat under a tree until 2012 when I started to work on her again. Kids grown and gone, now a Grand Pa, still no money for a rebuild. I painted and polished parts that haven't been touched in 20 years. Finally I scrounged up enough to get her back on the road. I tore down the motor but found #1 piston was shot. Too many dry starts, should have known better and Weisco doesn't make 10.25/1 cast pistons anymore. Another $500. Liska cam Assy's, like new 1015 KZ barrels I won on Ebay, Low mileage tranny (Ebay) back cut by me, new ginger bread chrome engine covers (Z1enterprizes) and replaced turn sig's and other parts LTD style. The NOS front fender cost $250 and it goes on and on. Valve train is tired so that's next. My daughter's place is 1.5 hours away so I ride up there to see my granddaughters. Kasadee, (4 years old) said "Bossie is awesome". She gets that from her older sister, Kayla who is 10 years old. 
Bossie and the girls
  Kasadee (4) and Kayla (10) with Bossie the Kawasaki.
You know, I didn't realize what I had until I got her back on the road a year ago. I haven't seen one Z1 or KZ anything. The road was lousy with them 15 years ago. I get alot of complements from people on her but she seems to be a flake magnet too. Guys that don't have two dimes to rub together asking me if I want to sell it. I had one guy pestering me trying to convince me because of it's age it's only worth $1500. He didn't like my responces so he went away. I've been followed, had a nail put against my tire so I would have a flat, called asking where I park it, the other day some guy threw a box at me trying to make me stop. I know if they get it, it will be on Ebay in no time flat. It's like in the 70's when it was new. Wow. I have 3 standing offers from my suppliers if I want to sell it. I'll ride it until I can't anymore, then give her to my children.
Like they say, "REAL NOT RETRO".

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