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Old 02-25-2010, 09:44 AM   #1
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Cool The 750,...

My favorite bike to race was always the 750, sad to see none of the other manufactures didnt keep it around like Suzuki did,....On another note this weekend is the first WSBK race Phillip Island.

Last of the Mohicans
final race for the kawasaki zx-7rr marks the end of an era
by evan williams Superbikeplanet
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

zx-7rr: riding off into retirement
image by tim huntington
When Eric Bostrom decided to rest his battered body and park the Kawasaki ZX-7RR at Mid-Ohio, it was the end for more than just his title run, it most likely marked the end of the venerable Kawasaki Superbike's AMA tenure. With rumors of a ZX-10 in the works for next year, the Green Monster has turned its last wheel in anger since it is unlikely Kawasaki will field a replacement rider for Bostrom.

And with it, the last of the factory inline four Superbikes based on 750cc machines are gone.

Sure, there will be a few Superstock bikes at the back of the grid at VIR and Birmingham, but that isn't the same now, is it? Next year, they are outlawed, to be fully replaced by the fire-breathing 1000s introduced this year.

Used to be you couldn't toss a broken con rod over your shoulder in the paddock without hitting a least one Japanese inline 750 four. The AMA changed the Superbike rules from 1000cc to 750cc for four cylinders in the early 80s and the series flourished into what it is today with the help of these motorcycles. Along with Yamaha's FZ750, FZR750, YZF750, and R7 and Suzuki's line of GSX-R750s, the across the frame fours fought the Ducati twins and high-tech Honda V4s like the VFR750, RC-30, and RC45 as Superbikes became the marquee class in AMA racing.

The 750 inlines were known as being relatively easy on tires, yet good bikes for "rear steer" technicians to work their dirt track-derived magic. Watching a spectacular rider like Eric Bostrom, Anthony Gobert, or Aaron Yates hang it out on an inline four was exhilarating. A talented rider could flog a 750 within an inch of its life and just go faster and faster, whereas the quick was to ride a twin was to be supersmooth.

The current generation of the Kawasaki first raced in the US during 1996 at Daytona when Doug Chandler, Mike Smith, and Anthony Gobert (in a one-off appearance) rode the new machine. The new bike offered a shorter stroke configuration that the older model, for theoretically more rpm. A "homologation special", the RR version offered a better racing platform than the standard ZX-7R. 41mm flatside Keihin carbs, an adjustable swingarm pivot point, a close ration transmission, and heavier crankshaft were just a few of the extra goodies on the RR version.

While the new GSX-R750 might have been flashier, no one knew the Kawasaki would race -- and win -- for a staggering eight more seasons.

Chandler in action during a Laguna Seca winter test in 2001

Doug Chandler won the '96 AMA title over Miguel DuHamel, and on the Muzzy prepared bike then did it again in '97. Chandler won both titles with smooth, calculated riding. The Californian only won only three races over the two seasons -- but that was all he needed to do to take the crowns. In 1996 Chandler and the ZX-7RR finished on the box in seven of ten races.
Kawasaki's AMA Superbike Champions

Here are the men who have won the AMA Superbike championship for Kawasaki since the class inception in 1976.

1997 Doug Chandler
1996 Doug Chandler
1992 Scott Russell
1990 Doug Chandler
1983 Wayne Rainey
1982 Eddie Lawson
1981 Eddie Lawson
1978 Reg Pridmore
1977 Reg Pridmore

In 1998, Chandler nearly won the title again. At the last race showdown at Vegas, Chandler's ZX-7RR developed an oil leak and Doug conceded the title to Honda's Ben Bostrom. Chandler took second in the points battle.

Aaron Yates replaced Tommy Hayden as the team's second rider for the 1999 season, the last year the team was run by Rob Muzzy. Chandler won three races on the machine at Loudon, Mid-Ohio and Colorado. While the platform remained the same, refinements were continually administered to the bike. The ZX-7RR was always getting a suspension upgrade or a new engine part. In the Muzzy years, the bike was not only getting parts from Japan, but the Bend, Oregon team was building their own "go faster" bits. It was often said at the time the bike was half works machine, half Muzzy hot rod.

For 2000, the ZX-7RRs for Chandler and Honda refugee Eric Bostrom were fielded by an "in-house" Superbike squad. Bostrom favored the handling characteristics of a different frame used that season and was fourth in the standings that year. The move back to a full works team meant the squad was reconnected with the factory's World Superbike effort, including the sharing of data.

Eric Bostrom became the franchise rider for the Kawaski squad. He won on the ZX-7RR at Loudon and Laguna Seca on the way to second place in the standings in 2001. Chandler never seemed to take to the "works" frame his contract was not renewed after the 2001 season.

2002 saw more power and new Ohlins forks and Bostrom's hammer helped him to four wins and second place once again. A notable achievement was a pole position at the power hungry Elkhart Lake track.

For 2003, the AMA rules saw the team race an overbored engine at 788cc --as per the new rules -- but with 15 extra pounds. Despite being raced for the eighth season, the bike was good enough for Bostrom to win at Pikes Peak again. All told, the ZX-7RR won two AMA Superbike titles and finished second three times.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:20 AM   #2
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Moke, you're doing a great job as Race Moderator. Keep it up!
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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For street riding and solo touring my fav was always the 750 too. Never liked those torque deprived 600s.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:34 AM   #4
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I always thought it was a mistake to discontinue the 750 supersport segment. I'm pleased that Suzuki has bucked that trend. I beleive that the 750 supersport is the most under-rated bike by class. They were great track and street bikes. Yamaha's R7 back in 99 was a sweet bike. The ZX7r made Eric look like a god when he shook it down infront of the liter bikes and the twins back in 2002-2003. I understand from a marketing standpoint that the 1000s were the future, but they should have taken the 750s and turned those into the Formula Extreme class. If that would have happened then maybe we'd still have a market for them today.
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:06 PM   #5
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Thanks Ken, the truth of the matter is when Eric was racing the ZedX it hadnt been changed dramatically since 1996. Now thats amazing in my book.
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