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.
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
On his first attempt at the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, road racer Jeremy Toye set a record in the premiere Open Class to win the category aboard a 2015 Kawasaki ZX-10R, celebrating the 30th year of the legendary Ninja brand. Prior to setting foot on the hill, Toye was confident he could get among the class leaders, aiming to beat the outright Pikes Peak motorcycle record, which was set by Carlin Dunne in 2012 with a time of 9:52.819. While that record remains intact, Toye was able to set a time of 9:58.687 to win the Open Class, finishing 6sec ahead of his closest rival, Fabrice Lambert aboard a Ducati.
Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
With Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki Ninja ZX–10R holding a comfortable lead in his title defense of the World Superbike Championship and Loris Baz standing in third place aboard his ZX–10R, you might expect that Kawasaki would have some important plans for celebrating 30 years of Ninjas during the 2014 SBK season. And you’d be right. Following much of the same format as its successful Bike Nite in the Daylight Show, Team Green has joined forces with Two Brothers Racing to bring Kawasaki Ninja Nights 2014 to Laguna Seca on July 12th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.
Mon, 23 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Kawasaki‘s Tom Sykes won both races at Misano to stretch his championship lead to 39 points as we pass the halfway mark of the 2014 World Superbike Championship. The reigning champion scored his third double-win round of the season while his teammate Loris Baz added a pair of second-place finishes. David Salom on the Kawasaki’s factory EVO entry was also the top rider in the new sub-class for both races to top off a strong weekend for the Team Green.
Tue, 10 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Americans reported 45,367 stolen motorcycles in 2013, down 1.5% from 2012, reports the National Insurance Crime Bureau‘s latest Motorcycle Theft and Recovery Report. According to the NICB motorcycle thefts have been on the decline every year since 2007 when 65,678 motorcycles were reported stolen, though the overall trend appears to be leveling off. Japanese motorcycles continue to be the most popular target for thieves.
Mon, 09 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
The first ever World Superbike round in Malaysia offered a plenty of drama including both factory Kawasaki riders crashing out on the first lap, a red flagged second race and an overall impressive outing by Aprilia. Under pressure for his lack of results so far this season, Marco Melandri impressed, earning the double for his first career wins on the RSV4 Factory. Aprilia riders led every lap in both races at Sepang, including the red-flagged initial start for Race 2, with Sylvain Guintoli joining his teammate on the podium with a pair of second-place finishes.
Fri, 06 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Michael Dunlop won his fourth race of the 2014 Isle of Man TT and 11th in his career, capping off this year’s event by taking the PokerStars Senior TT. It is the second-consecutive year that Dunlop has won four races in a single TT, this time capturing the Senior, Superbike, Superstock, and the second Supersport TT races. It took a while for Dunlop to get going.
Fri, 06 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Dean Harrison won his first Isle of Man TT race, taking the three-lap Bikenation Lightweight TT by 14.6 seconds. Harrison took the lead early, having the fastest time through Glen Helen ahead of last year’s Lightweight TT winner James Hillier by about half a second. Harrison stretched the lead to 9.7 seconds by the end of the first lap.
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Dave Molyneux won his 17th career TT as he and passenger Patrick Farrance took the second Sidecar race of the 2014 Isle of Man TT. Molyneux is the career leader in Sidecar TT wins and third overall in total Isle of Man TT victories behind Joey Dunlop and John McGuinness. Molyneux and Farrance won the race by a good 44-second margin but they benefited greatly from a mechanical problem plaguing early race leaders John Holden and Andrew Winkle.
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Michael Dunlop led from start to finish to win the second Supersport TT race, giving him 10 TT victories in his career, tying him with the likes of Giacomo Agostini. Dunlop also joins sidecar racer Robert Fisher, Ian Lougher and Stanley Woods with 10 wins apiece, all tied for seventh overall on the all-time wins list. Riding his MD Racing Honda CBR600RR, Dunlop got off to a strong start, recording a time of 17:55.817 on the opening lap, giving him a 4.6-second advantage over fellow Honda rider Bruce Anstey.
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Michael Dunlop won his second race in the 2014 Isle of Man TT and ninth in his career, taking the RL360 Superstock TT on a BMW S1000RR. Dunlop also won the Superbike TT earlier, giving BMW its first two wins on the Isle of Man since 1939. Meanwhile, Supersport TT 1 winner Gary Johnson was injured in a crash on the opening lap while running second behind Dunlop.