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With all my might
A motorcycle deserves the title “powerful” not only through its performance. Or just by a lot of mass. This includes a natural authority. How they own the mighty bikes in this story.
Because of that sound, I could drive alongside for hours. Or afterwards, to be able to hear the mechanics and the hissing suction, sometimes the exhaust sound better. In any case, this noise brew is simply intoxicating. The valves ticker precisely to the beat, gears grind a robust metal sound base and tightly cut exhaust pipes overlay a trumpet quartet that turns into an aggressive, hoarse pipe at higher speeds. Just awesome.
The driver gets the from this sound component Munch 1200 TTS, popularly called Mammut, unfortunately the least with. A percussive mixture of noises, which the NSU-TT car engine produces and which he constantly listens for irregularities, stethoscopically, as it were, predominates in his ears. He could react immediately to the slight hint of a defect. Could. But although the Munch, which we are allowed to accompany and drive here, was built in 1968, it avoids excessive concern. Firstly, she is kept in top shape by her owner, Mike Kron, and secondly, her authority does not allow this. The same is true for the other three. Anyone who gets involved with the most powerful motorcycles of the last four decades will have one next to the Munch Kawasaki Z 1300 wants to lift one Yamaha Vmax accelerate or give a Suzuki Hayabusa run-out should have respect. But don’t fondle. So please, open the gas and let it run. And quickly.
If the Munch driver manages to detach his attention from the imposing rhythm group below, he discovers a maneuverability and ease of cornering that the legend of the mammoth does not allow. The legend probably developed this way because the mammoth towered so far above everything else in its time that it simply could not be considered nimble. It may also be that later specimens that weighed over 300 kilograms were sluggish. But the one here, which weighs 253 kilos with a full 28-liter tank, has a rather short wheelbase and, above all, narrow tires typical of the time, swings very nimbly. Naturally, she works better with fluid combinations at a consistently high speed than tight turns. But that is more due to the braking procedure than to the chassis. Because the huge duplex drum brake in the front wheel bites straight away as soon as its notorious “Ferrodo green” type even touches the brake ring. Without maintaining this bite, of course, if the front tire bravely braced itself into the roughness of the asphalt and were ready to transmit higher deceleration forces. In short: it will be difficult to apply the brake, especially at the same time as pulling hard on the gearshift lever – upwards, of course? the aisles want to be sorted back. Ideally with double-declutching, otherwise it is guaranteed to crack in the modified Horex-Imperator gearbox. Sometimes it doesn’t crack with double-declutching. After all.
So there is a lot to do in front of the curve, which you can easily drive into a little too quickly. Because the braking torque of the engine is quite different from what MOTORRAD test icon Ernst »Klacks« Leverkus felt in 1966. It’s pretty low. The Munch hisses into the corner with excess, which is one of the reasons why a few breathless moments later the load change succeeds very smoothly and when the two Weber double carburettors are opened again, everything will be fine anyway. Then all those following behind hang their ears on the exhaust duo, ecstatic.
The fact that the Kawasaki Z 1300 sometimes falls behind when the Munch rushes ahead is not only due to the rustic handling of the 322-kilo chunk. The Kawa is tonally autonomous, its six-cylinder also spreads highly fascinating engine music that one likes to indulge in alone. At low speeds it purrs comfortably, deeply, like a kitten. It is not for nothing that experts consider in-line six-cylinder engines to be the smoothest-running reciprocating piston engines ever, and so the increase in speed takes place with cat-like smoothness. The 1286 starts to hiss at exactly 6000 rpm and pull the angular third-tonner forward as if it were a cat jumping for prey. With a very long jump for prey, if it has to be. The Kawa can do over 200 things with two people, with a long-lying soloist it can even reach 217 km / h. However, this speed does not feel really comfortable because the steering signals increased willingness to commute from 180 despite the chassis-calming Metzeler tires. So it usually doesn’t have to be. In any case, it is much nicer to roam around this magical 6000 revolutions, to accelerate beyond it, to turn the gas back on, to accelerate again. Just because the engine sounds so wonderful. This may seem senseless and pubescent to outsiders, but it is an expression of undivided enthusiasm.
The Z 1300 could have used a little more of this in the late 1970s. Instead, she was badly criticized by the testing colleagues. When the motorcycle industry voluntarily limited its products to 100 hp in order to avoid stricter legal regulations, it was probably good form to pester such a giant. Whereby everything that was criticized back then is still true today. Yes, the lean angle is hardly sufficient for our winding roads, maneuvering and especially jacking up are difficult, right, this motorcycle was expensive. But did it really matter? Was it necessary to write a long-distance test about the Z 1300, which resulted in long cost calculations; who criticized that retrofitting a larger oil pan made an oil change more expensive by 17 marks? And in which the author hardly had more to say on the subject of the engine than that, thanks to its smoothness, the consumption of lightbulbs was very low? That was probably just disgruntled nagging disguised as common sense.
No one has ever had to be warned about this motorcycle, its weight, and its running costs. The Z 1300 has always been honest about what it is like. And anyone who couldn’t afford it was deterred from buying it by a high price of 12,068 marks. At least the monumental Kawasaki doesn’t have to be able to do anything anymore, it can simply be what it is: a vehicle whose only task is to enable the enjoyment of a six-cylinder engine. So it is only logical that the two “cruise” buttons on the left end of the handlebars, which do not activate cruise control, but instead switch the injection into fuel-saving mode, have no measurable effect. In general, the injection. It was installed from 1984 and should significantly reduce consumption compared to the first years with three carburettors. What the Kawa engine has been ignoring to this day by gleefully flaring more than ten liters per 100 kilometers with whispering, irresistible power delivery.
the Yamaha Vmax, which the Kawasaki Z 1300 encountered during its active career, received a much more friendly reception in the mid-1980s. It may well be that many felt their cheeky 145 PS as a liberation against too much political correctness. In any case, the MOTORRAD editorial team always wrote a lot in agreement with the 100 hp limit, but on the other hand did not hesitate, an open one Vmax from the USA. In order to cremate a gallery of rear tires and break a number of internal editorial acceleration and torque records. For strictly scientific reasons, of course.
It took until 1996, a whole eleven years, during which some gray importers did good business with Vmax, until Yamaha Germany dared to import the “PS monster” itself. For this it was – of course – choked down to 100 hp, a measure that probably 150 out of 100 Vmax owners legally, illegally, no matter what, reversed. No, it was probably only 120 out of 100, because a number of copies were sold in Germany without the legendary V-Booster. But this is very important for the kick that brings the right Vmax ecstasy. From 6000 rpm it opens two additional throttle valves, each of which is located between the intake ports of the two pairs of cylinders. As a result, the intake cylinder receives mixture from its own and at the same time from the neighboring carburetor. And then it goes off. Simple and extremely moving.
Imagine entering a motorway. While the Vmax turns onto the acceleration lane, the citizen cages of three well-filled lanes are divided on who is allowed to go to the front left on the Galaplatz. Then another two-wheeled troublemaker. Even more nervousness comes into the scramble. But the Vmax driver, full of quiet anticipation, folds his right wrist down, listens to the swelling V4 clatter and is suddenly torn forward as if by an overly strong rubber band. At the end of the acceleration lane, which rightly bears its name here, the motorists are finally united again among themselves and in indignation. Apparently very few people know that overtaking on the right is allowed on an acceleration lane.
The Vmax can of course do more than just burn straight ahead. Despite its dragster appearance, a weight of over 280 kilograms and a considerable length, it is also suitable for winding, narrow European roads. Sure, the lean angle is not exuberant, some caution is required when turning. But the rear-heaviness ensures enormous traction and corresponding propulsion when accelerating out of the curve, so that the booster area can be reached with almost every sprint. class.
And the Suzuki Hayabusa? It was the first production motorcycle that ran over 300 km / h. But because she has always been able to do so much more, she still doesn’t understand the excitement about it. Why she is only allowed to run 299 today, certainly not. Doesn’t make a difference. It is important to her not to be constantly viewed from this point of view. The three ancients of the mighty four recognized this immediately. And the Hayabusa remained humble. She didn’t mind setting her pace according to the others. Only when Mike Kron exchanges his mammoth for the falcon does she indicate what’s going on. He is deeply impressed by the smooth road holding, but above all by the pulling power of the high-performance engine. “It really goes in sixth gear from 30 onwards. And tear in the middle like hell. I only shot up to 6000. But it’s rough, ”he correctly states. “And because of the wide tires she doesn’t give in as willingly as your Munch” I add. It was also easy to see that the Hayabusa barely goes faster in the middle of the curve than the Munch and demands more lean angles. What their modern tires master much better than the historical material, however, makes it really fast: Transmitting powerful acceleration forces in an inclined position.
At a nearby, small airfield, I try out how much acceleration the taxiway is sufficient for at full power. It just extends to the twisted second gear. I offer Mike the Hayabusa again for a brief acquaintance with top performance. But he waves it away. He doesn’t want to push the relationship with modernity that far. For that I’ll go again with the Munch. Up and down, up and down. As the sun goes down I let it be We apologize for the delay. But it just had to be, because I have seldom driven straight ahead in such an eventful way.
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