Kawasaki GPz1100 bargain racer

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In its day, the GPz1100B1 was the original superbike: big, black, phenomenally fast and, in 1981, Kawasaki’s flagship. 

So you’d be mistaken for assuming this GPz-based sprint machine has set its owner back thousands – but you’d be wrong. Instead, owner Eric Frith has spent less than £1000 on the GPz through a mixture of craft and good fortune ending up with a machine that’s not only competitive, but wins admiration from classics fans, too.

The project came about in a bid to go racing on the cheap combined with Eric’s passion for old four-stroke Kawasakis. “I’d race-prepped a Z1R for Earlystocks racing as I thought it’d be perfect as they only let twin shock, aircooled bikes race,” Eric told MCN. “But after a few rounds I was skint.”

So the Z1R was sold on and the workshop laid bare, until, that is, Eric discovered sprinting. “I went along to an airfield meet that I’d seen advertised, returned home full of enthusiasm and set about building a bike. All I had was a rather nasty-looking GPz1100B1 frame so I started building around that.”

Eric resists the urge to use his GPz on the road and instead saves it for weekend racing. This winter will be spent tinkering and looking for a few more bits. Next up is a six-inch wide Hayabusa rear wheel to replace the current, narrower FZR1000 EXUP one.

So far he’s recorded a best ¼-mile run of 126mph at 10.85 seconds. “I’m confident there’s a good chunk to come off of that time with practice and few more modifications, the bike could really use an air shifter.” But even without, Eric’s managed not only to find cheap racing but also managed to build a competitive bike for just under a £1,000, proof if any was needed that cheap racing does exist.

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Scott Redmond

By Scott Redmond