Kawasaki KZ1000C

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Kawasaki KZ1000C
Also called Police
Production 78-81
Class [[:Category:Police motorcycles|Police]] [[Category:Police motorcycles]]
Successor Kawasaki KZ1000P
Top Speed 132 mph
Spark Plug NGK BR8ES '78-79 , '79-81
Battery YUASA YB14L-A2 '78-79
YUASA YB16L-B '79-81
Final Drive Chain: 630 `78-79[1]
Front Tire MN90-18 '78-79 , '79-81
Rear Tire MR90-18 '78-79 , '79-81
Weight 550lbs (wet)
Oil Filter K&N KN-126[2]
Recommended Oil K-tech 10W-40
Related Kawasaki Police Motorcycles
Manuals Service Manual

The Kawasaki KZ1000C is a motorcycle produced by Kawasaki from 1978 to 1981.

Early Kawasaki Police Motorcycles

In 1975 the first Kawasaki police motorcycles were adapted from the KZ-900Z1 series motorcycles. The conversion was a fairly strait forward adaptation of a civilian motorcycle. Readily available commercial accessories were added to the motorcycle by Kawasaki to produce the first machines intended for police use. This motorcycle retained the spoke wheels,tires and chrome fenders. The dual seat was removed and a sprung single saddle added to allow the mounting of the police radio equipment directly to the rear of the rider. Additionally a Lexan "Harley-Davidson" (tm) type windshield was added as well as floorboards, front and rear crash bars black painted steel saddle bags mounted within a simple chrome plated wrap around mount. Pursuit lighting was added via mounting two smaller passing lights on either side of the headlight by utilizing the existing headlight mounting bolts. Additional police equipment such as the siren and two way radio was to be fitted by the purchasing department.

In 1978 Kawasaki introduced the KZ1000PC2 model which was the first of the purpose built motorcycles for law enforcement use. These motorcycles were equipped with new 18" front and rear "run flat" tires on cast wheels with larger plastic fenders, dual disc brakes were now up front with a single disc in the rear. In addition to the wheels an improved adjustable fork mounted windshield, factory switches and wiring to support the pursuit lights,speedometer and siren were now factory installed. The C2 model now included fiberglass saddlebags built by Vetter, improved wrap around saddlebag mounting and a more structurally robust crash bar system. The saddle now rode on oil dampened shock absorbers and the floorboards enlarged for greater rider comfort with a sacrificial angle-iron beneath the floorboards to prevent damage during high lean cornering maneuvers. An interesting feature of the KZ1000PC2 was that this model was equipped with two speedometers, the right one could be locked to whatever speed the motorcycle was traveling by simply moving the pursuit light switch on the right grip to the "M" position. By pressing the switch one more position the pursuit lights were turned on. The right speedometer also contained an amber "Inst-Hold" and blue "Pursuit" indicators.

For police use the engine was detuned slightly by lowering the compression radio slightly to enhance engine longevity. The engine still retained a kick starter as well as an interlocked electric starter, Ignition was still a contact breaker type system. Drive to the rear wheel was via a large 630 O-ring chain. The kickstand is a locking type.

Riding the KZ-1000PC2

The first thing you'll notice when you swing a leg over it is that this is a very large and tall motorcycle, at 550 LBS this motorcycle is not for the small of build. Setting the manual choke and a quick stab of the clutch interlocked electric starter should wake the beast up. The floorboards are equipped with a heal and toe shifter, pressing down with your heal will cause the transmission to increase one gear, pressing down with your toe will cause the transmission to drop a gear. Everything else is where it ought to be.

Once underway take your time getting used to the C2, these early Kawasaki motorcycle had quirky handling, if you hit a bump in a high speed sweeper the chassis will become upset causing a certain about of waving and bobbing until things get settled out. The seat sits on two very soft progressively sprung shock absorbers with a great deal of travel. So when you bank into a turn and the G-forces go up you will sink down-also under some conditions the seat will bob up and down, the sensation is almost exactly like an old Harley (tm) Pogo Solo Seat equipped Electra-Glide (tm)This takes some getting used to but is not an entirely bad thing provided you are a city street and freeway rider. Kawasaki went to a frame mounted seat in '81 - this along with an updated chassis (J Model) was a major improvement.

The engine doesn't feel overly powerful if you are transitioning from a more modern large displacement motorcycle, however the power increases quickly with higher RPM's- and before you know it you'll be moving at extralegal speeds. - But be careful, that fork mounted fairing can provide some wicked input to the bars causing all sorts of strange control issues-especially if you hit a bump or find a groove in the freeway at 70+ MPH. Engine vibration is noticeable at all speeds and the 630 chain is also quite noisy.

At this point is is quite unlikely you will obtain one of these from a police department, but if you get any police motor make certain that there are no forward facing red pursuit lights on the motorcycle before you take it out for a ride for the first time. Also cool neat things like sirens and rear facing blue lights must be removed as well, depending on your local codes. Failure to do this could result in a citation/arrest for impersonating a police officer.


The early Kawasaki KZ-1000P-2 motorcycles are a rare and great collectors item. As time went on Kawasaki continued to refine their lineup of police motors, if you want a daily rider and want the cachet of having a police motor to call your own-this is a way to go. I would recommend that you choose the more refined KZ-1000P series P1, P18 or P22) built after 1982. But if you want a motorcycle with a load of personality and a friendly pet like demeanor the early ones are the way to go.

KZ-1000C2 1978 vintage


  1. 2019 Western Power Sports Catalog. Western Power Sports. 2019. 
  2. 2019 K&L Supply Co Catalog. K&L Supply Co. 2019.