As the World Superbike Championship gathered pace in the 1980’s, the rules stated that race bikes had to be road based; yet the number that had to be manufactured to comply was actually quite low – hence the sea of “homologation specials” that remain highly prized to this day.
Kawasaki actually won a race in the first ever season of Superbike racing in 1988 at the Hungaroring with Adrien Morrillas on a GPX750 based machine. Soon outclassed by factory specials, Kawasaki quickly started work on a road bike platform that could be adapted to racing needs.
Benchmarked and refined during the 1988 World Endurance season, the resulting H1 model of ZXR750 was most famously associated with eventual Kawasaki World Superbike Championship winner, Scott Russell.
Taking the GPX lower end and cylinders as a start point, the cylinder head moved from rocker arm valve actuation to bucket and shim like the Z1 while a slipper clutch also featured. The iconic hoses from the cowling to the fuel tank looked very purposeful yet did nothing in terms of induction. That did not matter to the legions of owners who loved the twin headlamps, garish green or red paint and the “racing” (rock hard!) suspension.
Lasting just for 1989, the H1 made way for the H2 the following year and although visually similar there were many changes including things like swinging arm and other key components suggesting that the H1 may have been rushed into production.
Like other bikes of the time, there were homologation R versions with adjustable swing arm pivots, flat slide carbs and close ratio gearboxes making them a/even more desirable b/almost impossible to use as a road bike. In comparison to the Honda RC30 and Yamaha OW-O1, the ZXR750 H1/2 or even R models are much more wallet friendly and parts more plentiful.
At CMS we have one of the world’s largest stock of OE new ZXR750 parts – and even some R parts - so grab a resto project soon and rush to the web site!ZXR750-H RUSSELL’S RUSHED RACER
issued: Monday, April 17, 2023
updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2023
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