Kawasaki KR 750 Racer Classic Superbike

18 Apr 2015 | Egilea: | Erantzun buruzko Kawasaki KR 750 Racer Classic Superbike
Kawasaki KR 1 S

Kawasaki KR 750 Racer Classic Superbike

Kawasaki KR750

If the sixties was the decade of the screaming tiddlers the seventies was the Animal Decadethe years of Formula 750 of brutal horse power skinny tyres and flexi frames. From 1972 to 1978, Kawasaki’s roadster based triples along with the even grosser Suzuki GT750s were the quintessential racing superbikes. В Mick Grant’s 1976 KR750, was the ultimate development of the breed.

Surprisingly, Grant enjoyed riding his KR. ‘At the timehe recalls the press dubbed it an animal but it was very rideable and extremely competitive if not initially very reliable. The Suzuki’s were definitely more of a handful Yamaha’s TZ750 was a jelly by comparison and both were much heavier than the Kawasaki. This particular machine the only one ever made with magnesium crankcases is the lightest KR ever built.

Grant’s first outing on a KR was Daytona in 1975 when ‘disastrousgearbox problems prevented the machine ever completing more than five laps at a time. The KR’s biggest handicap however was its over stressed crankshaft. On early models the fancy aircraft-type fuel quickfiller was of limited use, since the crankshaft lasted little longer than a tank of petrol. A crank life of 90 miles was a particular problem in the F750 world championship series since most races were over 100 mila.

Later examples with improved crank design and peak revs reduced from 10000 to 9500rpm proved more robust.

Whatever its shortcomings the KR had made immense strides since the introduction of its predecessor the H2R in 1972. The H2R was a heavily tuned version of the 750cc H2 roadster retaining both the road bike’s air-cooling and more crucially its blood curdling handling.

Paul Smart who rode in the Kawasaki America squad alongside Yvonne du Hamel and Art Bauman, remembers the H2R as ‘absolutely atrocious awful handling totally unreliable’,although it is Barry Sheene who will always be remembered for being spat down the road. В Despite this and a process of ‘constant de-tuningSmart topped the US road race standings in 1972. Yet the H2R was only really tamed after Smart later had Colin Seeley build a frame for it when it handled ‘superbly’.

Effective as it was this ‘defectionearned Smart no friends at Kawasaki. In ‘standardtune the KR’s peak power was claimed as 120 plus bhp with pulling power ‘like a tractor’. A second stage tune involving different pipes a 2mm shorter piston skirt and higher compression gave perhaps 130bhp and was the practical limit of the KR’s potential. Only once at the ultra fast Mettet circuit in Belgium was Stage 3 attempted, four mm off the piston skirt lots of special porting and an even more radical exhaust produced an engine ‘like a switch either on or off.В

Kawasaki KR 1 S

Yet even in standard trim the KR750 was amazingly rapid. in 1975 Grant added no less than 7mph to the lap record for Ireland’s NW200 circuit. At Macau in 1976 Grant lapped everyone except the runner up. In winning the 1978 Isle of Man TT on this very bike he was speed trapped at over 190mph.

The figure has been questioned even by Grant himself yet KRs regularly clocked 180mph at Daytona without the downhill advantage of the TT speed trap. Only in the last few years have Grand Prix 500s come to exceed those figures. Despite this, the big Kawasaki never quite achieved its potential.

It’s fragility prevented it ever mounting a convincing assault on the F750 title although riders like Hansford, du Hamel, Ditchburn and Grant enjoyed the occasional success.

Last updated on November 5, 2011

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Kawasaki KR 1 S
Kawasaki KR 1 S
Kawasaki KR 1 S
Kawasaki KR 1 S
Kawasaki KR 1 S

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