Kawasaki GPZ900R, Top Gun's motorcycle
Kawasaki GPZ900R, Top Gun's motorcycle

If at the age of 16 a friend comes and tells you that a fighter plane movie has just been released in the cinema, the first thing you do is look at your wallet, remove the cobwebs, and save a few pesetas to pay for that movie. Top Gun scored quite a lot of teens that we would never see a movie with airplanes like that again. Although the plot is quite regular, there is a love story and another of overcoming intertwined, at that moment we learned what the Cobra with an F14 Tomcat and not what the girls did to us when you approached to kiss them.

In addition, the boy in the movie had a motorcycle that at that time was the best. In specialized magazines they had already told us that the Kawasaki GPZ900R it was a real missile, and that his surname Ninja came from a dark sect of Japanese assassins skilled in martial arts. Since piloting an F14 Tomcat is quite complicated (and expensive), we mortals settled for dreaming that one day we would pilot one of those Kawasaki Ninja that had helped Tom Cruise enchant Kelly McGillis.

The truth is that Kawasaki GPZ900R appeared in 1984The product of a good many years of research by Kawasaki that did not rest on its laurels when it brought another legend, the Kawasaki Z1, to the market. And it is that in the eighties, it was still possible to declare that a motorcycle was capable of exceeding 150 mph (243 km / h) as the main sales argument. Thus the designers threw the house out of the window, manufacturing the most compact four-cylinder engine of the time, with the timing chain at one end of the crankshaft and the alternator at the rear of the cylinders. The DOHC cylinder head moved 16 valves, the first time that such a valve had been seen in a street engine.

Kawasaki GPZ900R

Performance was quite good for its time, with 115 hp at 9,500 rpm and 85.31 Nm at 8,500 rpm. The gearbox was six-speed, and almost for the first time the chassis was not a joke, since its double diamond structure included the engine as a strong element of the set. The suspensions also used premium components (in the eighties) such as a pneumatic front fork with an anti-sag system and a system called Uni-Track with a single rear shock absorber. The set was completed with three brake discs (two at the front and one at the rear).

Kawasaki, aware that such a motorcycle needed to show its sporting virtues, included in the presentation to the press a young recent winner of the AMA of Superbikes, a certain Wayne rainey, which was able to roll on the Laguna seca circuit with the bike as it left the factory in 1:16, while with his Kawasaki GPZ750 of Superbikes he gave a lap of the Californian track in 1:10. A week after the presentation to the press, the motorcycles were taken to a drag track and in the hands of Pee Wee Gleason stopped the clock on the quarter mile at 10, 55 seconds, quite a record for a street bike. The best came when the following IOMTT season the Kawasaki GPZ900R Ninja placed first and second in the production motorcycle race.

The Ninja, with different improvements, remained on the market for many years, although the original stopped being manufactured at the end of 1996. That name even participated in the MotoGP World Championship, but that is part of another story. Today we are going to stay with some of the most interesting scenes of the Top Gun movie featuring the Kawasaki GPZ900R.

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