Kawasaki motorcycles are manufactured by the Motorcycle & Engine division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
The Kawasaki Company was founded in 1896 by Shozo Kawasaki as a shipyard meant for building oceangoing steel ships. At the beginning they constructed marine steam turbines, locomotives, freight cars, passenger carriages and bridge girders. In 1918 the Aircraft Department is established and after prolonged research Kawasaki succeeds in building Japan's first metal aircraft. Then came 1949 and they turned towards the motorcycles industry by making engines suited for motorcycles.
Kawasaki Aircraft initially manufactured motorcycles under the Meguro name, having bought out an ailing motorcycle manufacturer called Meguro Manufacturing Co. Ltd with whom they had been in partnership earlier, but later formed Kawasaki Motor Sales. Some early motorcycles display an emblem with "Kawasaki Aircraft" on the fuel tank. Kawasaki motorcycles from 1962 through 1967 used an emblem which can be described as a flag within a wing.
Kawasaki came out with their first bike in 1954, called Meihatsu. This bike had Kawasaki's own KB-5 engine. An improved model of the Meihatsu, called Meihatsu 125 Deluxe, was introduced in 1956.
Kawasaki was producing bikes for a while without much popularity, but technically progressing. Kawasaki started to be noticed as a big player on the motorcycles market due to the release of the 500cc H1 model (also known as Mach III). In 1973 Kawasaki introduced their first superbike, the Z1 which had a 903cc engine.
One of the most notable bikes in Kawasaki history, the GPZ900R came in 1983. This was the first model ever produced by Kawasaki to have a liquid-cooled engine and to reach 250 km/h. A year later they started to sell this bike in the US and they renamed it Ninja, thing which proved to be very benefactor, registering huge sales.
Their first ever motorsports victories were obtained by Dave Simmons in the FIM World Road Racing 125cc Championship. He won the West German and the Isle of Mann TT races and the series championship riding a KR-1. Then came 1981 and Kawasaki won the manufacturer's title in the FIM World Road Racing 250cc Championship, courtesy of A. Mang who was riding the KR250. Kawasaki's most notable win in their motorsports history was the Le mans 24-Hour Race back in 1983. The model which participated in that race was the ZXR-7.
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Today Kawasaki released the list of its not-particularly-updated but available in 2015 returning models in the Vulcan line. The big news of these announcements is that the two 1700 Vulcans received a $2,000 price reduction from last year. That’s right, a price reduction.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Kawasaki announced it will unveil a new motorcycle called the Ninja H2 at the Intermot show on Sept. 30 and the evidence suggests it will be a new supercharged sportbike. The Japanese manufacturer first announced last November it was developing a supercharged I-4 engine at the Tokyo Motor Show, and the Ninja H2 announcement suggests that’s exactly what we’ll see in Cologne.
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
More than 2,000 attendees visited America’s Car Museum for its 3rd annual Vintage Motorcycle Festival ‘The MEET’ last weekend in Tacoma, Washington, where over 300 motorcycles and scooters were showcased on the Haub Family Field at LeMay. The event drew pre-1981 motorcycles and scooters from the U.S. and Canada, including an antique motorcycle display, swap meet, cruise-in and a 78-mile roundtrip tour from ACM’s Anderson Plaza to Mt. Rainier.
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
The American Motorcyclist Association is pleased to announce the U.S. team that will compete at the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocylisme) Supermoto of Nations in Cremona, Italy, Oct. 12.
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have launched a new free online tool that should make it easier for consumers to inspect their vehicles’ safety recall histories. The new search tool, available at http://www.safercar.gov/vinlookup, allows people to look for recall campaigns by entering Vehicle Identification Numbers.
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Reigning World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes has signed a contract extension with Kawasaki to see him continue to ride for Team Green through the 2016 season. Sykes, who currently holds a 44-point lead over Aprilia‘s Sylvain Guintoli with three rounds remaining in the season, has been with Kawasaki since 2010. Since hopping on board the Ninja ZX-10R superbike, Sykes has won 22 WSBK races and holds a record for 23 Superpoles in the current qualifying format.
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. announced recently that after 28 years of providing coverage to Kawasaki customers, the Good Times Protection Plan (GTPP) has been rebranded as Kawasaki Protection Plus (KPP). Kawasaki Protection Plus offers all of the same factory backed coverage and extended service contract programs as GTPP, but through Kawasaki’s partnership with Service Group, KPP has added new products including GAP, Tire & Wheel, Prepaid Maintenance as well as all-encompassing coverage for other OEM brands in the form of Preferred Protection Plus.
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. announced recently that it will donate a Ninja 650 sportbike for auction at the Oceana SeaChange Summer Party, attended by some of the largest supporters of Ocean Conservation in Hollywood including Ted Danson, Sheryl Crow and this year’s special guest, Leonardo DiCaprio. Proceeds from the auction of the Ninja 650 will go to Oceana’s mission of ocean conservation, a shared goal by Kawasaki who’s global mission is “working as one for the good of the planet.” Some of Oceana’s victories include protecting Sperm Whales from California Fisheries, upholding Shark fin bans in the United States and many other policy victories for marine life and habitats in more than 150 countries.
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Kawasaki has chosen the 2014 American International Motorcycle Expo as the venue to make the world debut of a yet unannounced motorcycle model. The model launch will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, this October 16-19.
“AIMExpo demonstrated last year that it can serve as the ideal platform for media and brand activities and Kawasaki will leverage this grand stage to reveal new products, as well as interact closely with dealers and consumers,” explains Kevin Allen, Kawasaki Manager, PR + Brand Experience. “We have some very exciting new product to share and AIMExpo is the perfect place to make these announcements.”
Attendees will also witness the North American introduction of all-new vehicles in several categories from Kawasaki. Following the unveilings, all products will then be on full display for all to see inside Kawasaki’s booth (#2165) out on the AIMExpo show floor.
“Kawasaki joins an expanding list of key companies that sees AIMExpo as the perfect means to infuse energy into the powersports business in North America,” says Larry Little, Vice President and General Manager, Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group.
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Kawasaki has had a great 30th anniversary so far for its Ninja line of models. To date, the highlights have included Jeremy Toye’s triumph at Pikes Peak, Tom Sykes leading the World Superbike Championship and the release of the 2015 Ninja ZX-14R 30th Anniversary Limited Edition. The celebrations haven’t finished yet, and the next milestone will be an assault on Bonneville Speed Week (August 9-15, 2014) in an attempt to set a new Land Speed Record at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The 2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R has been entered by catalytic converter specialist, ACAT Global, with the aim of proving its motorcycle products in the most challenging conditions.