Kawasaki Motorcycles

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Kawasaki Motorcycles

Post by ganahsokmo on Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:45 pm




Kawasaki Motorcycle History


Kawasaki emerged out of the ashes of the second World War to
become one of the big players from Japan. In the late ’60s and early
’70s, Kawasaki built a reputation for some of the most powerful engines
on two wheels, spawning legendary sportbikes like the Ninja series and a
line of championship-winning off-road bikes.


  • 1896

    The company is founded by Shozo Kawasaki. His firm will come to be
    known as Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Over time, the company’s principal
    areas of activity will be shipbuilding, railroad rolling stock, and
    electrical generating plants. Motorcycles will become a small part of
    this diversified industrial conglomerate.

  • 1960

    Kawasaki signs agreement to take over Meguro motorcycles, a major
    player in the nascent Japanese motorcycle manufacturing business. Meguro
    is one of the only Japanese companies making a 500cc bike. In England
    and the UK, Meguro’s 500 – which bears a strong resemblance to the BSA
    A7 – is derided as a cheap copy. But in fact, it is a pretty
    high-quality bike.

  • 1961

    Kawasaki produces its first complete motorcycle – the B8 125cc
    two-stroke.

  • 1962

    A series of the two-stroke models from 50-250cc is released. The
    250cc disc-valve ‘Samurai’ attracts notice in the U.S.

  • 1966

    The 650W1 is released and is the biggest bike made in Japan at the
    time. It’s inspired by the BSA A10. Over the next few years it will get
    twin carbs, and high pipes for a ‘scrambler’ version.

  • 1969

    Dave Simmonds gives Kawasaki its first World Championship, in the
    125cc class
    The striking Kawasaki H1 (aka Mach III) a 500cc three-cylinder
    two-stroke is released. Although its handling leaves something to be
    desired, the motor is very powerful for the day. It’s one of the
    quickest production bikes in the quarter-mile. The Mach III establishes
    Kawasaki’s reputation in the U.S. (In particular, it establishes a
    reputation for powerful and somewhat antisocial motorcycles!) A
    wonderful H1R production racer is also released – a 500cc racing bike.
    Over the next few years, larger and smaller versions of the H1,
    including the S1 (250cc) S2 (350cc) and H2 (750cc) will be released.
    They’re successful in the marketplace, and the H2R 750cc production
    racer is also successful on the race track, but Kawasaki knows that the
    days of the two-stroke streetbike are coming to an end.
    The company plans to release a four-stroke, but is shocked by the
    arrival of the Honda 750-Four. Kawasaki goes back to the drawing board.

  • 1973

    The first new four-stroke since the W1 is released. It’s worth the
    wait. The 900cc Z1 goes one up on the Honda 750 with more power and
    double overhead cams. Over the next few years, its capacity will
    increase slightly and it will be rebadged the Z-1000.

  • 1978

    Kork Ballington wins the 250cc and 350cc World Championships with
    fore-and-aft parallel-Twin racers (Rotax also built racing motors in
    this configuration. Ballington will repeat the feat in ’79. In 1980 he
    will finish second in the premier 500cc class. Anton Mang takes over
    racing duties in the 250 and 350 classes, and he will win four more
    titles over the next three years. This is the most successful period for
    Kawasaki in the World Championship.
    Kawasaki’s big-bore KZ1300 is released. Honda and Benelli have
    already released six-cylinder bikes by this time, but Kawasaki’s
    specification includes water cooling and shaft drive. To underline the
    efficiency of the cooling system, its launch is held in Death Valley.
    Despite its substantial weight, journalists are impressed.
    Over the next few years, the KZ1300 will get digital fuel injection
    and a full-dress touring version will be sold as the ‘Voyager.’ This
    model is marketed as “a car without doors”!

  • 1981

    Eddie Lawson wins the AMA Superbike championship for Kawasaki after
    an epic battle with Honda’s Freddie Spencer. He will repeat as champion
    the following year.
    Kawasaki releases the GPz550. It’s air-cooled and has only two valves
    per cylinder, but its performance threatens the 750cc machines of rival
    manufacturers. This is the bike that launches the 600 class.

  • 1983

    The liquid-cooled four-valve GPz900R ‘Ninja’ is shown to the
    motorcycle press for the first time at Laguna Seca. They’re stunned.

  • 1985

    James “Bubba” Stewart, Jr. is born. Kawasaki supplies his family
    with Team Green diapers.

  • 1989

    The first ‘ZXR’-designated bikes reach the market. They are 750cc
    and 400cc race replicas.

  • 1990

    The ZX-11 is launched and features a 1052cc engine. It is the first
    production motorcycle with ram-air induction and the fastest production
    bike on the market.

  • 1991

    The ZXR750R begins a four year run as the top bike in the FIM
    Endurance World Championship.

  • 1993

    Scott Russell wins the World Superbike Championship, much to Carl
    Fogarty’s dismay.

  • 2000

    The ZX-12R is released – the new flagship of the ZX series.

  • 2002

    Bubba Stewart wins AMA 125 MX championship.

  • 2003

    Stewart is AMA 125 West SX champ. “What the heck is he doing on the
    jumps?” people wonder. It’s the “Bubba Scrub.”
    In a daring move that acknowledges that only a small percentage of
    supersports motorcycles are ever actually raced, Kawasaki ups the
    capacity of the ZX-6R to 636cc. Ordinary riders welcome a noticeable
    increase in mid-range power, and the bike is the king of the ‘real
    world’ middleweights.

  • 2004

    Stewart wins the AMA 125 East SX title, and the 125cc outdoor
    championship. There are only one or two riders on 250s who lap any
    faster than he does on the little bikes.
    Just when we thought motorcycles couldn’t get any crazier, the ZX-10R
    is released. OMG, the power!

  • 2007

    Although his transition to the big bikes hasn’t been as smooth as
    many expected it to be, Stewart wins the 2007 AMA SX championship.

ganahsokmo

Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 35

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