Monday, January 28, 2008

Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850: Holy Kaw!

The 160bhp Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850. Cool, eh?
Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Muzzy and Kawasaki had a strong partnership going, especially in the US. In the 80s, Rob Muzzy was tuning Kawasaki superbikes for Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey. Later, Muzzy-fettled ZXR750s and ZX-7Rs were raced successfully, and together, Muzzy and Kawasaki won a World Superbike title, four Daytona 200s, four AMA Superbike Championships, three AMA 750 Supersport crowns and an AMA 600 Supersport title. Not bad, eh?

In 1997, Muzzys Performance Products decided to do a special motorcycle that would be in the Honda RC45 league. The starting point was stock ZX-7Rs and the aim was to bring pro-racer superbike performance to the street. The 7R’s 750cc inline-four was bored out to 835cc, tolerances were blueprinted, and very high spec engine internals were used, resulting in 150-160bhp at the rear wheel! Apart from the 835cc engine, the Muzzy Kawasaki Raptor 850 also featured a heavily reworked chassis and high-end suspension components.

Only 50 of these Raptors were ever made, with each bike costing about US$18,000 – quite a bit back in the late-1990s. And this was without the optional single-sided swingarm, with pushed the price up to about US$20,000. Today, given that all the 50 bikes made would be more than 10 years old, a Raptor in mint condition would be hard to come by. If you can find one, it would probably cost somewhere in the region of US$25,000 or more, depending on the condition of the machine.

Some owners say that Raptor 850s can be a bit temperamental, and that the Muzzy Kawasaki is best suited to the track rather than the street. Also, we suppose parts would be hard to come by today, the bike would be difficult to maintain in top condition, and even if you throw a lot of money at it, the Raptor 850 probably still wouldn’t match up to current litre-class superbikes in terms of outright performance and handling prowess. Still, as a piece of 1990s race-bred exotica, we think the Raptor 850 is just so, so cool…

This is, supposedly, Mr Muzzy's very own 1994-model ZX-7R. It's got a close-ratio gearbox, flatslide carbs, carbonfibre bodywork, aluminum fuel tank, Muzzy road race Titanium exhaust (with jetting to match), shortened swingarm, and raised rearsets. A few years later, this machine probably formed the basis for the Raptor 850…

More Kawasakis:

Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo: Blow hard!
Memorable: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R...
Ninja Nation: 1988 Kawasaki ZX-10 vs 2004 Kawasaki ZX-10R!
Bring the bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400!
Allen Millyard's 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!!
Kawasaki ZX-RR vs other MotoGP bikes...
Supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200: Blown away!
Fast past: Gary Nixon rides Kawasaki's MotoGP bike...
Battle of the Ninjas: ZZR1100 vs ZZR1400!

1 comment:

Dave Garcia said...

The green ZXM above is my old Muzzy. It was made by Rob Muzzy, but he never rode it. I bought it from the guy who bought it from Rob at Laguna Seca the day he unveiled. I sold it to a guy from New Zealand in 2007. She was the best bike I even owned. Would go 90 in 1st gear. Email me at for more pics of her if interested.

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