Denco Engineering Speedy special, one of six built
1981 Kawasaki KZ1300 Denco Turbo
Frame no. JKAKZAA15BA012468
Engine no. KZT30AE013341
Wonderful wretched excess on wheels might best describe this motorcycle. Kawasaki's KZ1300, with its six liquid-cooled cylinders across the frame, was already a beast when introduced in 1979, capable of 140 mph. Cycle World magazine came away impressed after testing the bike. "There are motorcycles with more speed, but not with the same combination of power, strength, comfort and handling," wrote the editors. "The sophistication is incredible, the size enormous. What we have here is an incredible hulk."
So, of course, what was needed was even more power. Enter Dennis Dean of Denco Engineering in Columbus, Ohio, best known as a maker of aftermarket exhaust systems for Japanese superbikes. Dean figured there would be at least six hearty individuals willing to step up and buy limited-edition turbocharged KZ1300s, which is exactly how many he hand-built. This is one of the six, showing just 3,143 (no doubt, wide-eyed) miles on its odometer. The entirely believable claim was 150 horsepower at the rear wheel, probably 50 more than stock.
The Turbo 1300 went about its speedy business with discretion. A handlebar fairing, tasteful badging and that oversize high-rise exhaust pipe on the left side were the only clues that a King KZ was on the prowl.