Six cylinders and more

Six cylinders
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Six cylinders + turbo. Isn't that a bit too much?

Six-cylinder engines in the motorcycle world have been status symbols for manufacturers (and most buyers). Only Honda has seriously earned money with the six-cylinder Goldwings.

In fact, a six-cylinder engine is 'over the top' in all areas

In fact, such a thing - apart from the extra weight and parts - adds nothing essential to motorcycling. And if we take the production numbers into account; as a classic, part of their value now certainly lies in their rarity. Incidentally, those two extra cylinders add a lot. But the benefit is actually for the full 100% on the emotional level. With nothing wrong with that either.

In their time there were four cylinders that did everything better than the six cylinders. There were also four Japanese in-line engines that were faster than the prestigious six-cylinder machines. But something could be done about it. And the solution to that problem? That of course came from the USA: "We are screwing in a turbo!"

Up to 50% more power with a turbo

That idea was picked up pretty well and soon there were several suppliers for such a funny ventilator for the most common six-cylinder. The basic bet for all that fun was of course on drag strips. And there the Kawasaki's proved almost indestructible, no matter how much violence was squeezed out of it.

Mr. Turbo

For example, a Kawa 1300 with a Mr. Turbo kit to deliver such an 180 hp to the rear wheel. That company has been around since 1980 and did pioneering work in the field of turbo breathing on motorcycles. The turbo 'pressed' with 0,5 bar and that extra ventilation then resulted in a power gain of about 45-50%. It was not a question of unpacking and assembling with such a set. And that while the installation and adjustment instructions were delivered pretty well by Mr. Turbo. Before the carburetor adjustment was in order, it usually took quite some time.


As mentioned, blown classic six-cylinder models are even rarer than atmospherically breathable ones. That is why we were pleased to hear that Six Center Motoren has such a blown powerhouse. It is an 1984 member Kawasaki Z 1300. And with that the total of blown Kawasaki Six-cylinder that we know in the Netherlands has increased with 30%. After all, ex-racer Richard Flutters still has two in the shed. One with carburetors, the other with injection. Injected machines are, by the way, much simpler in terms of mixture preparation - because simply via the laptop - to adjust than engines with carburetors.

Is that okay?

A motorcycle that is equipped with a turbo for use on public roads remains 100% usable. And a 1300 cc already has quite a bit of muscle between the crankcase covers. So the turbo only makes it stronger and faster in a fairly civilized way. In practice, a blown classic six-cylinder can keep up with fast, modern motorcycles. Especially when the suspension is completely in order and the bike is on 'modern' tires. In that context, it is clear that the bicycle parts, the brakes have improved enormously since the mid-eighties.

But if you want to drive something carefree almost unique, then a six-cylinder with turbo is a very nice option.

six cylinders




A reaction

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  1. yes, 6 cylinder, too much on everything.
    I was driving a Honda Bol d Or 4 cylinder when a colleague with his CBX arrived at the store. 6 in 1 laser exhaust and at 7000 up to the sound of a formula 1 car, beautiful.
    1 bought one myself a year later. I still have it. Compared to the modern engine, it is slow, rude, heavy, no road holding and brakes to cry .. But that sound .. The funny thing is that people stand still at the parked 6 cylinder itself when it stands between the newest engines . They remain special.

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