The Big Car Database

Kawasaki Motorcycles

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine Company
川崎重工業モーターサイクル&エンジンカンパニー
Type
Division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Headquarters Minato, Tokyo Japan
Chūō-ku, Kobe, Japan
Products Motorcycles, ATVs, utility vehicles, personal watercraft, general-purpose gasoline engines
Websites

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine Company is a division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries that produces motorcycles, ATVs, utility vehicles, jet ski personal watercraft, and general-purpose gasoline engines.

Before the 2011 fiscal year it was called Consumer Products & Machinery. Its slogan is "Let the good times roll!".

Motorcycles

 
2006 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Main article: Kawasaki motorcycles

Kawasaki's Aircraft Company began the development of a motorcycle engine in 1949. The development was completed in 1952 and mass production started in 1953. The engine was an air-cooled, 148 cc, OHV, four-stroke single cylinder with a maximum power of 4 PS (2.9 kW; 3.9 hp) at 4,000 rpm. In 1954, the first complete Kawasaki Motorcycle was produced under the name of Meihatsu, a subsidiary of Kawasaki Aircraft. In 1960, Kawasaki completed construction of a factory dedicated exclusively to motorcycle production and bought Meguro Motorcycles.

All-terrain vehicles and utility vehicles

Kawasaki's first ATV was the three-wheeled KLT200, which debuted in 1981. Its first four-wheel ATV, the Bayou 185, was introduced in 1985 and in 1989, its first model with four-wheel-drive, the Bayou 300 4x4. Today, Kawasaki’s ATV line-up includes a wide range of recreational and utility ATVs.

Kawasaki's MULE (Multi-Use Light Equipment) utility vehicle combines an ATV with a pick-up truck. The first MULE was produced in 1988. Kawasaki now calls their utility vehicles "side-by-side" vehicles.

Watercraft

 
Kawasaki Jet Ski

In 1973, Kawasaki introduced a limited production of stand-up models as designed by the recognized inventor of jet skis, Clayton Jacobsen II. In 1976, Kawasaki then began mass production of the JS400-A. JS400s came with 400 cc two-stroke engines and hulls based upon the previous limited release models. It became the harbinger of the success Jet-Skis would see in the market up through the 1990s. In 1986 Kawasaki broadened the world of Jet Skis by introducing a two-person model with lean-in "sport" style handling and a 650 cc engine, dubbed the Kawasaki X2. Then in 1989, they introduced their first two-passenger "sit-down" model, the Tandem Sport (TS) with a step-through seating area.

In 2003, Kawasaki celebrated the Jet Ski brand by releasing a special 30th anniversary edition of its current stand-up model, the SX-R, which has seen a revival of interest in stand-up jetskiing. The X-2 has also been updated, based on the SX-R platform and re-released in Japan. Kawasaki continues to produce three models of sit-downs, including many four-stroke models. The four stroke engines have come on since the late 1990s; with the help of superchargers and the like the engines can output up to 300 horsepower (220 kW) as seen in the Kawasaki Ultra 300x.

Jet Ski is the brand name of personal watercraft manufactured by Kawasaki. The name, however, has become a genericized trademark for any type of personal watercraft.

Racing

 
2007 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR

Kawasaki's traditional racing colour is green. Many Kawasaki racing teams are called Team Green. The "Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green™" provides a support program developing amateur motocross racers.

Grand Prix, MotoGP

Kawasaki's first title was with Dave Simmonds in 1969 when they won the 125 cc World Championship. Kawasaki dominated the 250 cc and 350 cc grand prix classes from 1978 to 1982 winning four titles in each category.

With the introduction of the four-stroke engines into MotoGP in 2002, Kawasaki decided to take part in the new MotoGP World Championship. Kawasaki entered the championship in 2003 with 250 cc Grand Prix racer Harald Eckl's Team Eckl.

In 2003, the Kawasaki Racing Team was formed after Kawasaki had developed their new 990cc ZX-RR bike throughout 2002 and raced it in the last three races of the 2002 MotoGP season. The racing activities were managed by Harald Eckl's team based in Germany. It wasn't until 2004 that Kawasaki had two riders - Alex Hofmann and Shinya Nakano, who raced for the entire season. Nakano placed 3rd in Japan that year achieving Kawasaki's first podium finish in MotoGP.

In 2007, Kawasaki split from Harald Eckl because of Eckl’s involvement with a competitor's MotoGP activities, which forced Kawasaki to terminate the relationship immediately. Kawasaki formed Kawasaki Motors Racing, a European subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries responsible for managing the racing activities of the MotoGP team and any other motorcycle racing activities Kawasaki may enter in the future. For the first time since Kawasaki returned to the premier class of motorcycle racing, the team became a complete ‘in house’ factory team.

On January 9, 2009, Kawasaki announced it had decided to "... suspend its MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season onward and reallocate management resources more efficiently". The company stated that it will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race oriented consumers.

  • Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Year Champion
350 cc 250 cc 125 cc
1982 West Germany Anton Mang    
1981 West Germany Anton Mang West Germany Anton Mang  
1980   West Germany Anton Mang  
1979 South Africa Kork Ballington South Africa Kork Ballington  
1978 South Africa Kork Ballington South Africa Kork Ballington  
1969     United Kingdom Dave Simmonds

Superbike

Kawasaki's involvement in the World Superbike Championship started in 1990 with the USA-based Team Muzzy Kawasaki, which managed the superbike activities until 1996. Between 1997 and 2002, Kawasaki gave factory backing to the Harald Eckl's team, based in Germany, while Muzzy focused on the AMA Superbike domestic series. From 2003 to 2008, only privateer teams like Bertocchi and PSG-1 entered the world championship, with small factory support. In 2009, Kawasaki officially returned to SBK with Paul Bird Motorsport, but after three seasons, in 2012, Kawasaki switched the factory support to the Spanish-based Provec Racing team.

Kawasaki has won several superbike racing championships. They won the rider's Superbike World Championship in 1993 with Scott Russell, two decades later in 2013 with Tom Sykes, and a third time in 2015 with Jonathan Rea. Also, the manufacturer has claimed nine AMA Superbike Championships with riders such as Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey. During the 1990s, they also dominated the Endurance World Championship.

  • Superbike World Championship
Year Champion
1993 United States Scott Russell
2013 United Kingdom Tom Sykes
2015 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea
2016 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea
  • AMA Superbike Championship
Year Champion
1977 United Kingdom Reg Pridmore
1978 United Kingdom Reg Pridmore
1981 United States Eddie Lawson
1982 United States Eddie Lawson
1983 United States Wayne Rainey
1990 United States Doug Chandler
1992 United States Scott Russell
1996 United States Doug Chandler
1997 United States Doug Chandler
  • Endurance World Championship
Year Champion
1981 France Jean Lafond
France Raymond Roche
1982 France Jean-Claude Chemarin
Switzerland Jacques Cornu
1991 France Alex Vieira
1992 United Kingdom Terry Rymer
United Kingdom Carl Fogarty
1993 United States Doug Toland
1994 France Adrien Morillas
1996 United Kingdom Bryan Morrison

Supertwin

Kawasaki machinery has been pivotal in the development of Supertwin racing. The racing machines are developed from the Kawasaki 650cc parallel twin commuter bike (ER6-n or ER6-f). The machines are then transformed through development into an 85 bhp race bike with top end speeds in excess of 150 mph.

The KMR Kawasaki Racing Team are one of the leading race teams in the category, whose team members include Ryan Farquhar and Jeremy McWilliams.

  • Isle of Man TT Supertwin Race
Year Champion
2012 United Kingdom Ryan Farquhar
2013 United Kingdom James Hillier
2014 United Kingdom Dean Harrison
2015 United Kingdom Ivan Lintin

Isle of Man TT

Kawasaki has enjoyed numerous successes at the Isle of Man TT Races. The marque has notched up a total of 31 victories which include 3 victories in the Sidecar TT. Notable achievements include Mick Grant's 1975 outright lap record of 109.82 mph (176.74 km/h), finally beating the previous record set by Mike Hailwood and which had stood since 1967.

Motocross

Riders on Kawasaki motorcycles won races in the British Motocross Championship, Motocross des Nations, AMA Supercross Championship, Sidecarcross and Supermoto.

Championship wins:

  • 1995 Stefan Everts, FIM Motocross World Championship (250cc)
  • 29 times the AMA Motocross Championship

KAWASAKI UK HERITAGE

Our History

1974 

Created as Kawasaki Motors (UK) Ltd, the company was formed by Managing Director Mick Uchida and Director, Kit Kitayama and operated initially from the Holiday Inn, Marble Arch. Quickly transferring to its first permanent HQ at Staines, it enjoyed warehousing close by at Bedfont, Middlesex. 

In this first year of official distribution, Kawasaki had just fifteen road bike dealers in the UK who sold 1230 units in 1974 from a range comprising just six models. 

That said, those six models were iconic to say the least, and paved the way not only for the current crop of machines, but also for the UK foundation of Kawasaki’s legendary status as the pre-eminent manufacturer of highly engineered performance oriented motorcycles. 

1975

Already with an understanding of racing as a promotional tool, Kawasaki establishes one of its most famous racing partnerships, that between Mick Grant and the fearsome 750cc H2R two stroke, three cylinder racing machine. “Speed trapped” in later years at over 190mph on the Isle of Man TT course, the H2R in both early air-cooled, and final water-cooled guises, was instrumental, along with motocross product, in the creation of the association between the lime green colour and Kawasaki racing endeavours. 

Initial sales efforts and customer demand saw sales increase 450% and the dealer network expand to encompass 50 dealers. 

Off-road product was also new to the UK and marketed by Kawasport, a company founded by trials ace Don Smith (who also helped design the KT250 trials machine) and Alec Wright, the latter who would go on to become a significant driving force within the company and create the Team Green racing and ownership programme. 

1976 

Somewhat of an icon at its launch, the 903cc four cylinder Z1 range leading machine won the coveted MCN “Machine of the Year” award for a record fourth time in 1976, the last time it would win in this guise before evolving into the Z900. 

Alongside publicity for the larger machine, the UK public also caught its first glimpse of the new KH250, a three cylinder two stroke machine that was the first “proper” motorcycle that many riders owned. (At the time, 17 year old’s could ride a 250cc machine with L plates attached until they passed their motorcycle test) 

To accommodate the extra sales and administration effort across all products, the company moved west along the A4 to Deal Avenue, Slough, where it was to remain for some years. 

1977 

Sales of motorcycles in the UK were continuing to grow and Kawasaki, like others, benefited – especially from the growth in the sales of “commuter” machines such as the KH125 and Z200. 

On the track, Mick Grant wins an historic GP victory on the KR250 racing machine at Assen in Holland. An innovative “tandem twin” two stroke design the KR250 and larger KR350 had the cylinders mounted one behind the other creating a very narrow and aerodynamic machine. In America Reg Pridmore becomes AMA Superbike Champion on his air-cooled Z1000. 

1978 

Now expanded to sixteen machines, the motorcycle range is topped by the 1015cc Z1R (the first machine in the world to come with a bikini fairing as a standard fitment) complimented by the smaller but no less significant Z250, the first bike specially designed by Kawasaki for the UK market. 

A busy year for Kawasaki, 1978 also represented the centenary of the founding of the original Kawasaki business, a shipyard created by Shozo Kawasaki in Tsukiji, Tokyo. 

With the now established KR250 and KR350 racing machines, Kawasaki wins both classes in the world Championship with Kork Ballington and Mick Grant mounts the top step of the podium on the Isle of Man, winning the Classic race at the TT event on his H2R and setting a lap record of 114mph average. Reg Pridmore repeats his AMA Superbike Championship win. 

1979 

With sales just shy of 15,000 units, the Kawasaki range is headed by one of the largest, and certainly most impressive machines yet to emerge from Japan, the mighty six cylinder, water-cooled Z1300. 

New managing director, Seth Nagamoto takes the helm at KMUK while rider, Kork Ballington does the “double” again and wins both the 250 and 350 world Championships 

1980 

Team Green, the most famous name in off-road sport in the UK, is established by Alec Wright and the first off-road training schools for customers are conducted. 

Sales of over 22,000 units are helped by a comprehensive range of four cylinder, four stroke machines including the Z400, Z500, Z750 and the first fuel injected motorcycle retailed by Kawasaki, the Z1000H. Anton Mang takes over the KR reigns and wins the 250cc world championship. 

1981 

Government legislation and higher rates of tax threaten the motorcycle market and the attraction of two wheels to learner riders. Kawasaki introduces two sports mopeds, the road going AR50 and off-road styled AE50. 

The year also marks the arrival of the KLT200 trike, the first all terrain vehicle (ATV) that the company has imported into the UK. In his stride after a debut win year, Mang wins both the 250cc and 350cc world championships for Kawasaki on the KR tandem twins. Eddie Lawson becomes AMA Superbike Champion. 

1982 

Chuck Nakajima takes over as Managing Director of KMUK and Kawasaki enjoys market dominance as number one in the UK motorcycle market over 126cc category with a 27% market share. Mang wins again and becomes the last ever 350cc world Champion as the class ends. Eddie Lawson repeats his AMA Superbike Championship win. 

1983 

The range leading GPz1100 is voted “Machine of the Year” by Motor Cycle News, while the mighty KX500 single cylinder two stroke is introduced as off-road range leader. 

Big news of the year for road riders is the introduction of the GPz750 Turbo, a machine which, like the Z1, would go on to become a revered collector’s item in future years. Wayne Rainey becomes AMA Superbike Champion. 

1984 

The world’s first sports bike to boast a liquid cooled, 16 valve, four cylinder water-cooled engine, the GPz900R is introduced. It wins not only the production TT in the hands of rider Geoff Johnson but is also voted UK “Bike of the Year” by MCN readers. 

Kawasaki continues as UK market leader in sales of over 126cc road motorcycles. 

1985 

A new and significant class is created by Kawasaki with the introduction of the GPz600R. 

Four wheeled ATV product is imported for the first time and the emphasis on use passes from leisure to agriculture and public amenity. 

In the off-road sphere, Kawasaki Team Green sweeps the board winning all the UK schoolboy championships plus the AMCA 125 and 250 titles. 

1986 

Managing Director, Shuji Mihara takes over and the GTR1000 touring machine reaches our shores scoring an immediate hit with long distance riders. 

Kawasaki UK establishes a bonded warehouse and distribution depot in Eastleigh, Hants. 

1987 

Road bike sales are boosted with the introduction of the GPX750R and GPZ500S, both machines become an instant sales success in their respective classes. 

Waterborne enthusiasts welcome the twin seater X-2 which, by year end, has doubled Jet Ski watercraft sales for the company in the UK. 

1988 

Sales of road motorcycles climb by 15.6% and market share approaches 20%. 

As range leader, the radically styled ZX-10 with its aluminium “E-Box” frame wins the MCN “Machine of the Year” award. 

Rider Kurt Nicholl wins the 500c British Motocross Championship on a KX500. 

1989 

The company moves to its current premises in Bourne End, Bucks, while market share reaches 21%. 

For the first time since the legendary 1970’s two stroke triple machines, the company wins MCN “Machine of the Year” with a two stroke, the twin cylinder 250cc KR-1. 

1990 

Kawasaki’s Akashi factory near Kobe in Japan, celebrates it 50th anniversary while Mr Yasuo Akisada takes over as Managing Director of KMUK. 

The ZZ-R1100 and ZZ-R600 are introduced, the former becomes MCN “Machine of the Year”, while the latter enjoys sales and racetrack success in the hands of Kawasaki Team Green rider, John Reynolds. Doug Chandler wins the AMA Superbike Championship. 

1991 

The “Retro” styled Zephyr range is introduced in 550 and 750cc form and Team Green rider, Paul Malin, is the youngest ever winner of a 500cc MX GP at 19 years and 86 days in France. 

Kawasaki commercial products range in the UK is boosted by the introduction of the MULE 1000 and 2110 utility vehicles. 

1992 

Kawasaki continues to dominate motocross sales and remains market leader with the aid of the successful Team Green concept. 

The Zephyr 1100 is launched exploring the range into three machines with 550, 750 and 1100cc capacity. Scott Russell becomes AMA Superbike Champion. 

1993

KRC, the Kawasaki Riders Club is launched offering free membership for all Kawasaki new bike buyers in the UK. 

K-Care Insurance is launched providing tailored insurance solutions for Kawasaki road bike owners. 

Scott Russell powers his way to win the World Superbike Championship for Kawasaki on the Muzzy ZX-7. 

1994 

The Kawasaki cruiser range grows larger in terms of both machines and capacity with the introduction of the water-cooled VN1500 V-twin. 

The British 125 motocross championship is claimed by Team Green rider, Neil Prince. 

Kawasaki in Japan celebrates having manufactured their nine millionth motorcycle. Kenji Kawano joins Kawasaki Motors UK as Managing Director.

1995 

Another cruiser, the VN800, is introduced along with a raft of Genuine Kawasaki Accessories. 

Along with the introduction of the sports touring GPZ1100, Kawasaki fans celebrate Belgian rider, Stephan Everts World 250 MX crown. 

1996 

Another in a long line a famous machines makes its debut, the stunning ZX-7R. 

Kawasaki win off-road once more by securing the World 125cc MX championship with Sebastian Tortelli. Doug Chandler becomes AMA Superbike Champion

1997 

Yet another machine designed especially for Europe reaches UK shores. The 499cc parallel twin ER-5 immediately wins favour with learner riders, commuters and a growing number of women enthusiasts. 

The year also sees the introduction of the Eddie Lawson AMA Superbike race styled ZRX1100. Doug Chandler repeats his AMA Superbike Championship win. 

1998 

The mould breaking ZX-6R is reincarnated and immediately raises the performance and styling standard of the middleweight Supersport class. 

Off-road, Sebastian Tortelli dominates to win the coveted world 250cc motocross title for Kawasaki. 

1999 

Retro styled parallel twin W650 launched alongside classic fully valenced 800 and 1500cc Drifter cruisers. 

Waves are created with the introduction of the state-of-the-art Ultra 150 two person performance Jet Ski personal watercraft producing 150bph! 

2000 

All eyes are on Kawasaki as it introduces its most advanced Supersport machine ever, the ZX-12R. Using technology only previously seen on F1 cars and in aircraft, the semi-monocoque chassis is matched to a hugely powerful engine and aerodynamic cowling. The combination results in a fast, powerful, nimble and stable machine that justifiably heads the Kawasaki stable and gains universal plaudits. Yoshio Sanjo takes over reigns as KMUK Managing Director 

2001 

Launched in Spain to the European press the half-cowled ZRX1200S and ZR-7S pre-dating the current fashion for this type of machine by several years. Riding the Ninja ZX-6R, Australian, Andrew Pitt becomes the Supersport world Champion. 

2002 

Continuing the long line of sports tourers established by the 1100cc models, the ZZ-R1200 is launched in Southern France. Kawasaki.co.uk, the web site for the UK market, is launched. The innovative new Z1000 wins the Motorcycle Designers Association Open category award. Kawasaki Motors UK Ltd becomes the UK branch of KME, Kawasaki Motors Europe. Kawasaki enters the Moto GP Championship with a 990cc machine. 

2003 

Z1000 goes on general sale in the UK and, along with the radical design of the new ZX-6R, re-establishes Kawasaki as the cutting edge brand with both journalists and customers. Shunji Tanaka, the designer of the Mazda MX-5 sports car, joins Kawasaki with a mission to reinvigorate the Kawasaki product design studio, K-Tec, and promises more innovative designs to come. 

2004 

Kawasaki re-enters the high end Supersport fray with the formidable ZX-10R designed as a cutting edge high performance machine for skilled riders. The ZX-10R makes an ideal Superbike race machine in its debut season in the hands of a variety of private teams and the KMUK supported Hawk Kawasaki team. 

Another radical design from Tanaka and the K-Tec team, the Z750 represents a breath of fresh air for the naked middleweight sector which is gaining importance in the UK sales charts. 

Proving that they can do “big” when required, Kawasaki stuns with its 2000cc VN Cruiser with unique “Gatling” style headlamp. 

Acknowledging the trend for four stroke motocross machines, the factory reveals its new KX250F four stroke customer machine. 

2005 

Partner to the already successful Z750, the half cowled Z750S is announced. 

After a twenty year break Kawasaki wins again at the Isle of Man TT with rider Ryan Farquhar securing a win in the Production 600 TT on the 599cc Kawasaki ZX-6RR, the machine later returns to Japan to be displayed at Kawasaki’s own museum. 

Olivier Jacque scores a magnificent second place the at Shanghai Moto GP event. 

2006 

Kawasaki stuns the world of motorcycling with a cutting edge contemporary urban design, the ER-6n. A 650cc parallel twin, the ER-6n successfully appeals to new motorcyclists, those who already have a licence and want a fun machine and the still neglected female market. 

A half cowled version of the “naked” ER-6n, the ER-6f announced to appeal to more sporting riders – both machines are Euro-3 compliant and have an ABS option. 

Reinforcing their credentials as “the performance manufacturer”, Kawasaki announce the ZZR1400. A powerful and stylish Supersport tourer, speculation is rife at the Paris motorcycle show launch regarding power and acceleration figures… factory insiders stay tight lipped on the subject ! 

Entry level cruisers are important to all manufacturers. Kawasaki unveils its VN900. 

Off-road riders and Team Green dealers are impressed by the range leading KX450F four stroke and its alloy framed stablemate, the updated KX250F. 

2007 

The famous GTR name is used after a gap of over a decade for a stunning new 1400cc Sports Touring machine with such innovations as Variable Valve Timing, a slipper clutch and monocoque style chassis. Setting new standards for touring handling and performance, the machine is an instant hit. In a departure from traditional thinking, Kawasaki announce the Versys, a 650cc machine based on the ER-6 engine and chassis but with a “go-anywhere” look and feel. The name is said to represent “Versatile System” and the style soon catches the imagination of UK riders. In motocross, the MX1 class KX450F is launched. The Essex based MSS Kawasaki Team are appointed as Kawasaki UK’s Superbike squad. 

2008 

Kawasaki in the UK return to the quarter litre class with the Ninja 250R. A category that had effectively been “forgotten”, the pent up demand from customers both new to motorcycling and returning to two wheels is overwhelming. With costs spiralling in the world of racing, Kawasaki takes the difficult decision to withdraw from MotoGP. 

2009 

With the GTR a sports touring hit, Kawasaki addresses the V-Twin touring market with the impressive 1700cc Voyager, the first “full dress” machine to emerge from the Japanese manufacturer. In another first, the Voyager, with its on board entertainment system, is also the world’s first motorcycle to be iPod compatible via an accessory lead. Adding to its success with the Ninja 250R, Kawasaki UK also starts sales of the KLX250, and enduro styled entry level machine with off-road looks and strong on road ability. 

2010 

A raft of new machines is announced the 2010 season. The avant garde styling of the latest Z1000 wins widespread praise, so too does its engine and chassis performance at its Spanish launch. It is quickly dubbed the best Japanese street fighter machine so far. Likewise, the re-launched 1400GTR is praised for a raft of updates including traction control, linked braking and even more creature comforts such as heated grips and a “memory” equipped electronic windscreen. For entry level bikers, the new KLX125 off-roader and D-TRACKER SuperMoto style machine are both welcomed as genuine prospects as “first rungs” on the Kawasaki ownership ladder.

2011

A wide range of machines were launched in 2011 across many style categories. A new version of the Ninja ZX-10R confirmed Kawasaki’s commitment to the Supersport class while the introduction of the Z100SX sports-tourer showed how classes and styles were evolving with Kawasaki once  more creating a new type of machine appealing to riders moving away from track oriented machines. The Z750R was a logical high-spec version of the venerable Z750 reflecting owner’s desire to add bling to their naked bikes. For cruiser fans, the VN1700 Voyager Custom displayed true “bagger” style and mean black personality while the air-cooled parallel twin W series made a comeback with the W800, a fuel injected machine with classic looks and continuing the traditional Kawasaki W line. Finally, for the dirt demons, a new, updated KX250F pushed the quarter litre MX class on once more. Racing fans were treated to a season-long battle for the British Supersport title with Gearlink Kawasaki rider, Ben Wilson, racking up 9 wins among 18 podiums on the Ninja ZX-6R and, ultimately, losing the title by just one point at the last event of the season. At the Isle of Man TT, Michal Dunlop took the race and fastest lap of 129.709 mph on his Ninja ZX-10R in the 1000cc Superstock race

2012 

Updates and new models for 2012 displayed just how wide the Kawasaki range had become. Old favourites like the ZZR1400 gained more technical prowess and more performance – both of which were welcomed with open arms. The ER-6n and ER-6f had styling updates among other tweaks to keep them at the centre of attention in the burgeoning middle weight market. Meanwhile, a year after the Z1000SX debut, the Versys 1000 was launched. An “any roads” machine, its upright riding style, go-anywhere looks and flexible engine won many admirers. A strong season on track witnessed Shane “Shakey” Byrne take the BSB title on his Rapid Solicitors PBM Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R with no less than 8 race wins. Veteran Chris walker also got hearts pumping with a magnificent win at Oulton Park in the rain mirroring his last to first WSBK victory at Assen many years earlier. Kawasaki also took the BSB manufacturers title and, in Superstock 1000, Keith Farmer made it a double reason to celebrate for the Rapid Solicitors team taking a tough fought title. TT fans saw Dave Molyneux and Patrick Farrance win both sidecar races while Kawasaki legend, Ryan Farquhar, stole the show in the Lightweight TT which heralded Kawasaki machines in all of the top ten places.

2013

A capacity increase for the mid-weight naked Kawasaki resulted in both the Z800 and Z800e being launched in 2013. The e version was category 2 licence compliant from the outset while the full power Z800 was the first machine to employ the Kawasaki Sugomi design philosophy. In fact it was all out cubes in 2013 as the Ninja 250R increased to 300cc and won yet more fans with its lithe nature, big bike looks and manageable weight. The ZX-6R returned to an earlier capacity in 2013. The 636cc machine was still as fast and responsive as ever but, with the aid of the capacity hike, it also delivered considerable torque as well as low and mid-range pulling power. British rider, Tom Sykes took the WSBK Championship by the scruff in 2014 winning with an easy margin and taking 9 victories along the way – a memorable feat. At the TT racing festival on the Isle of Man, the ER-6f based Supertwin of James Hillier took first place and, in a repeat of the previous year, all top ten places were claimed by Kawasaki mounted riders.

2014

For 2014 Sugomi styling (where engineering and styling are melded into one central theme), the Z1000 took the Supernaked Kawasaki image to a higher plain. With daring Streetfighter looks, the Z1000 displayed instant almost visceral response and won the hearts of many with its bold, uncompromising looks. Kawasaki’s first scooter offering emerged blinking into the sunlight in 2014. The J300 was unexpected in the biking world yet it took Kawasaki to a new and enthusiastic audience satisfying the need to a twist-and-go among the popular Kawasaki range. Off-road fans were greeted with yet more updates to the KX250F and KX450F in 2014 while the lower capacity class as enlivened with a radically updated and reengineered KX85. Taking his fourth BSB title again at the last race of the season, Shayne Byrne had a lot to celebrate alongside his Rapid Solicitors PBM Ninja ZX-10R. Also winning the BSB riders Championship via Stuart Easton, the plucky Scott pulled an amazing Macau Grand Prix win out of the bag to make it a vintage season for the Paul Bird Motorsports team. For Stock fans the focus was on Danny Buchan who secured the litre Championship on his Tsingtao Ninja ZX-10R. Another TT sidecar win for Dave Molyneux made history for the Manxman at the June event while Dean Harrison achieved his first TT podium top step in the Lightweight race which, for the third year running, had Kawasaki machines filling the top ten spots. 

2015

2015 saw the launch of a brand new Ninja ZX-10R – developed in conjunction with the Kawasaki Racing Team and the Kawasaki factory in Japan, the bike benefits from the input of two Kawasaki superbike champions – Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes. Improving on an already world-class machine, the new Ninja ZX-10R features a whole host of new innovations in terms of chassis, engine and electronic upgrades. Featuring Brembo M50 monobloc brake calipers and WSBK Showa front forks, the new machine is not only a formidable track day weapon, but a road riders dream. Both the Z800 and Z1000 were released as Sugomi editions in 2015 - machines that take Kawasaki’s styling and engineering concept to the next level with new Candy Crimson Red and black colour treatments, plus accent anodising and model specific Akrapovic silencers for each machine. Joining the J300 in the scooter line-up is the J125, an exciting entry for Kawasaki into the popular 125cc scooter market and A1 riding licence category. Shared features with the J300 include ABS braking, automatic under-seat courtesy light, shutter style security ignition and 12V charger socket. An updated ZZR1400 model was launched and a ZZR1400 Performance Sport model was introduced, which boasts twin Akrapovic silencers as standard, Öhlins TTX39 rear shock absorber, a higher wind-screen and a high grade Brembo M50 braking package. On the race track, Jonathan Rea was crowned World Superbike Champion for 2015 – his first year aboard the Ninja ZX-10R. 2013 Champion Tom Sykes, finished in third place – a result that enabled Kawasaki to be 2015 World Manufacturers Champion. At British level, it was a double British Superstock win for Kawasaki as Josh Elliot won the British Superstock 1000 title and Mason Law won the Superstock 600 Championship. Kawasaki also clinched the Manufacturers Championship at the final round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Brands hatch – the fourth consecutive British Manufacturers title in recent seasons. It was announced that Team Green would be re-launched for the 2016 race season in the British Superbike Class with both on-road and off-road riders and racing activity joining under the Team Green umbrella. Kawasaki’s were the bike of choice for Olympic medallist’s – both track cyclist and three-time Olympic Champion, Jason Kenny OBE and IBF Heavyweight boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, chose to ride Kawasaki machinery.

KAWASAKI COMPANIES

KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. - Find out about the roots of the Kawasaki name and all the industries the company is involved in.

KAWASAKI MOTORS MANUFACTURING CORP., U.S.A.

Learn about Kawasaki's manufacturing plants in Lincoln, Nebraska and Maryville, Missouri.

KAWASAKI ENGINES

A division of Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., distributes gasoline engines and parts for commercial landscape, industrial, and consumer markets. The division is headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI., and services customers through its network of over 7,500 independent dealers through the United States, Canada and South America.

KAWASAKI ROBOTICS (U.S.A.) INC.

The leading supplier of industrial robots and total automated systems.

KAWASAKI PRECISION MACHINERY OF AMERICA

Kawasaki's hydraulic products are known throughout the world for providing reliable and efficient equipment for the mobile, industrial, marine, and many other applications.

KAWASAKI GAS TURBINES - AMERICAS

Kawasaki has been ranked as a world class leader in industrial (non-aeroderivative) gas turbine "Dry Low Emission" (DLE) technology and uses this experience in developing and expanding the market with superior performing Standby, Baseload and Co-generation power plants.

KAWASAKI MOTORS CORP., U.S.A.

History

Kawasaki Aircraft initially manufactured motorcycles under the Meguro name, having bought an ailing motorcycle manufacturer, Meguro Manufacturing with whom they had been in partnership. Later formed Kawasaki Motor Sales. Some early motorcycles display an emblem with "Kawasaki Aircraft" on the fuel tank.

During 1962, Kawasaki engineers were developing a four-stroke engine for small cars which ended in 1962 when some of the engineers transferred to the Meguro factory to work on the Meguro K1 and the SG, a single cylinder 250 cc OHV. In 1963, Kawasaki and Meguro merged to form Kawasaki Motorcycle Co.,Ltd. Kawasaki motorcycles from 1962 through 1967 used an emblem which can be described as a flag within a wing.

Work continued on the Meguro K1, a copy of the BSA A7 500 cc vertical twin. and on the Kawasaki W1. The K2 was exported to the U.S. for a test in response to the expanding American market for four-stroke motorcycles in which case it was rejected for a lack of power but by the mid-1960s, Kawasaki was finally exporting a moderate number of motorcycles. The Kawasaki H1 Mach III in 1968, along with several enduro-styled motorcycles to compete with Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda, increased sales of Kawasaki units.

Kawasaki’s engines division, housed in a single office complex in Grand Rapids, Michigan, consolidates research and development projects for engines.
Hard work and a dream. That's what established American Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp. way back in March of 1966. The first headquarters, an old meat warehouse in Chicago, was a humble beginning for the factory team sent to open the U.S. market.

They started with practically nothing - no customers, no distributors and no image. But they had something more important - a strong desire to succeed and a promise from the factory to supply the best products.

The fledgling entrepreneurs negotiated with several private companies around the United States to distribute the first bikes, which were small two strokes sold under the brand name of Omega. But U.S. riders wanted more excitement, so the factory quickly responded with a pair of potent rotary valve twins called the Samurai and Avenger. Here was the first indication that Kawasaki would become a company specializing in high-performance fun.

These bikes were sold under the Kawasaki name -- and there was a second operation, Eastern Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp., to handle east coast distribution. In 1968, this firm and the original Chicago company merged to form Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) in Southern California.

In 1969, the incredible Mach III 500cc two-stroke triple launched Kawasaki's performance image around the world. By the time of the legendary four cylinder 900cc Z1 in 1973, Kawasaki was a major power in the motorcycle industry, and KMC was building its own unified distribution network to offer dealers and customers better service.

Diversification came early when Kawasaki pioneered the personal watercraft business in 1973. Today our JET SKI® watercraft brand is a leader in an exploding market. The 1980's saw further expansion into ATVs and Side x Side vehicles.

Today, KMC's annual revenue tops 1.6 billion dollars. There are approximately 480 employees and more than 1,500 dealers. Our bestselling Ninja® sportbikes, classic Vulcan™ cruisers, rugged ATV and Mule™ Side x Side vehicles and exclusive JET SKI® watercraft form the foundation of our Good Times Company image.

Besides the headquarters building in Foothill Ranch, California, KMC has regional sales offices and/or distribution centers in Piscataway, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; Fort Worth, Texas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. of Lincoln, Nebraska operates a small engine manufacturing plant in Maryville, Missouri.

KAWASAKI MOTORS MANUFACTURING CORP, U.S.A.

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. (KMM), Lincoln, Nebraska and Maryville, Missouri

Kawasaki was the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to open a manufacturing plant in the U.S.A.. Several far-sighted Kawasaki executives germinated the idea way back in 1974, and it was simple. If you're selling in America, why not build there too -- save time, save shipping and employ local labor. It worked, and years later firms like Nissan, Toyota, VW and Honda followed Kawasaki's lead.

Since personnel are the most important part of any business, KMM strives to make working conditions safe and comfortable. Kawasaki employees, working as a team, insure that the same quality standards are incorporated through all processes. Each worker takes personal responsibility for quality and feels pride in a job well done.

The consumer products manufacturing facility in Lincoln, located on 335 acres of land, has grown since its opening in 1974 from the original 286,000 square feet to nearly 1.3 million square feet of manufacturing, office and warehouse space. In 2001, the rail car plant was completed at the Lincoln site, adding 437,000 square feet for light rail car manufacturing. Over 1,000 people work at the Lincoln facilities, making KMM a major employer in the Lincoln area. In 1989 the Maryville Plant was opened for production of general purpose engines. The Maryville facility has grown to over 700,000 square feet on 113.7 acres of land employing over 600 people. KMM Research and Development Centers are located at the Lincoln and Maryville facilities to meet customer demands as quickly as possible.

The plant operates on a "just in time" supply method which eliminates expensive warehousing and over-ordering of parts. Production methods combine the best of Japanese and American techniques, resulting in the unique Kawasaki Production System, of which we're quite proud. For instance, certain parts and pieces are made on special presses located right on the assembly line. This means no shortages or excess inventory on these items for more efficiency and less cost. In many cases, it also means the worker makes the part he assembles, and thus enjoys a full sense of accomplishment.

List of Motorcycles

This is a list of Kawasaki motorcycles, motorcycles designed and/or manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine and its predecessors.

Special purpose

  • Kawasaki police motorcycles

Cruiser

  • Vulcan 2000
  • Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic/Classic LT/Nomad/Voyager
  • Vulcan 1600 Nomad
  • Vulcan 1600 Classic
  • Vulcan 1600 Mean Streak
  • Vulcan 1500 Drifter
  • Vulcan 900 Classic
  • Vulcan 800 Classic
  • Vulcan 800 Drifter
  • Eliminator
  • Kawasaki Estrella
  • Vulcan 700
  • Vulcan 750
  • Vulcan 400/500/750/800/900/1500/1600/1700/2000
  • Vulcan 500 LTD
  • Kawasaki 454 LTD
  • Vulcan 400 Classic - similar to the VN1600 and the VN800.
  • Vulcan 400 Drifter

Dual purpose

  • KE100
  • KLR250
  • KLX250S
  • KLX400SR
  • KLE400
  • KLE500
  • KLR600
  • KLR650
  • KLX650C
  • Super Sherpa (KL250G/H)
  • Kawasaki F1TR
  • Kawasaki F2TR
  • Kawasaki J1TR

Off road

  • KD100
  • KDX50
  • KDX80
  • KDX125
  • KDX175
  • KDX200
  • KDX220
  • KDX250
  • KDX400
  • KDX420
  • KDX450
  • KLX110
  • KLX125
  • KLX125L
  • KLX140L
  • KLX250
  • KLX300R
  • KLX400R
  • KLX450R
  • KLX650R
  • KMX 125/200
  • KT250
  • KX60
  • KX65
  • KX80
  • KX85
  • KX100
  • KX125
  • KX250
  • KX500
  • KX250F
  • KX450F
  • KX420
  • KX500

Streetbikes

  • A1 Samurai 250 (1967–1971)
  • A7 Avenger 350 (1967–1971)
  • B85 & B85M 125 (1965)
  • D1 100 (1966–1969)
  • Eliminator 125
  • ER-5
  • Fury 125
  • H1 Mach III 500 (1969–1975)
  • H2 Mach IV 750 (1971–1975)
  • KH500 (1976 only)
  • KH125
  • Kawasaki KSR110
  • S1 Mach I 250 (1971–1975)
  • S2 Mach II 350 (1971–1975)
  • Versys
  • Z125 Pro
  • Z250SL
  • Z250
  • Z750
  • Z800
  • Z1000
  • ZRX1200R
  • ZZR250
  • ZZR400
  • ZZR600
  • ZZR1100
  • ZZR1200
  • ZZR1400, also marketed as the ZX-14

Sport bikes

  • Ninja 250R (A.K.A. EX250, GPZ 250, ZZ-R250) (Production year: 1986–present)
  • Ninja 300 (A.K.A. EX300) (Production year: 2012–present)
  • Ninja 400R (A.K.A. EX400, (Production year: 2011–present)
  • Ninja 500R (A.K.A. EX500, GPZ500S, ZZ-R500) (Production year: 1987–2009)
  • Ninja 650R (A.K.A. ER-6F EX650R) (Production year: 2006–present)
  • Ninja ZX-150RR (A.K.A. KR150, KR150K, KRR150, Ninja 150 RR, Ninja RR) (Production year: 1996–present)
  • Ninja ZX-6R and 6RR (Production year: 1995–present)
  • Ninja ZX-750 F2 (Production year: 1988 Special Edition)
  • Ninja 1000 (A.K.A. Z1000Sx) (Production year: 2011–present)
  • Ninja ZX-10R (Production year: 2004–present)
  • Ninja ZX-12R

Sport-Touring

  • ZG-1000 Concours / GTR1000
  • Concours 14 / 1400GTR
  • Voyager 1700 (reintroduced in 2009)

Scooters

J300 J300 Special Edition Epsilon 250

Models no longer in production

  • A1 Samurai 250cc
  • A7 Avenger 350cc
  • Kawasaki AE50 50CC (produced 1981–1986)
  • Kawasaki AE80 80cc (produced 1981–1986)
  • Kawasaki AR50 50cc (produced 1981–1994)
  • Kawasaki AR80K 80cc (produced 1981–1990)
  • B7 Pet (Step-Thru)
  • B8 125cc (1962–1965)
  • Kawasaki B8M Red-Tank Furore 125cc 1962–1965)
  • C2SS & C2TR (1964–1968)
  • G1M 100cc (1967)
  • G31M Centurion (1970–1971)
  • Kawasaki G4TR G4 'Trail Boss' produced in early 1970 (1971 (G4TR-A), 1972 (B), 1973 (C), 1974 (D), 1974 G4TR-A 'Agi'Bike, 1975 (E), 1975 G4TRAA 'Agi'Bike). 10 speed - 5 high 5 low 997cc
  • Kawasaki KV100 KV100 A7-A9 (1976–78) KV100 B2-B4 (1976–78)mainly sold as farm ('agi') bike in Australia, New Zealand & Canada
  • F11M 250cc (1967)
  • F21M "Green Streak" (1968–1971)
  • F3 Bushwhacker 175cc (1968–1970)
  • F4 Sidewinder 250cc (1969–1970)
  • F5 Bighorn 350cc (1970–1971)
  • F6 Enduro 125cc (1971–1974)
  • F7 Enduro 175cc (1971–1975)
  • F8 Bison 250cc (1971–1972)
  • F81M "Green Streak" 250cc (1971)
  • F9 Bighorn 350cc (1971–1975)
  • ER500A/D 498cc (1996–2008)
  • Ninja ZXR 250 / ZX-2R (produced: 1988–1999)
  • Ninja ZXR 400 (produced: 1991–1999)
  • Ninja ZXR 750 / ZX-7 (L model street; M model race 93-95) (produced: 1984–1995)
  • Ninja ZX-7R / ZX-7RR (J model street; K model race 91-92)(produced: 1996–2003)
  • Ninja ZX-9R (produced: 1994–2003)
  • Ninja 1000R (produced: 1986–1987)
  • Ninja ZX-10 / ZZR-1000 (produced: 1988–1990)
  • Ninja ZX-11 / ZZR 1100 (produced: 1990–2001)
  • ZZR1200 / ZZ-R1200 (produced: 2002 - 2005)
  • GPz750 (produced: 1983–1987)
  • GPZ1100B1/B2 (produced: 1981–1982)
  • GPZ1100E (produced: 1995–1996)
  • GPZ250R (Released in Japan only) (produced:1985-?)
  • GPZ305 (produced 1983–1994)
  • GPz750 Turbo (produced: 1983–1985)
  • Ninja GPZ900R (produced: 1984–2003)
  • Ninja 600R AKA: GPz600R, GPX600R, ZX600A-C (produced: 1985–1997)
  • ZX600A Website with Specs.
  • 454 LTD (produced: 1985–1990)
  • Kawasaki S1 Mach I 250cc (produced: 1972) (a two-stroke triple)
  • Kawasaki S2 Mach II 350cc (produced: 1972) (a two-stroke triple)
  • S3 400 (a two-stroke triple)
  • Kawasaki H1 Mach III 500cc (produced: 1968–1972) (a two-stroke triple)
  • Kawasaki H2 Mach IV 750cc (a two-stroke triple)
  • KR250
  • KH125 (produced 1975–1998)
  • AR125
  • ZG1200 Voyager XII (Four)
  • ZN1300 Voyager XIII (Six)
  • KE100 (produced 1976–2001)
  • KE125
  • KL250A1/A2/A3/A4 (produced: 1978–1981)
  • KR-1/KR-1S/KR-1R (produced: 1989)
  • KH250/400/500 (See article)
  • Z500/Z550 (A.K.A. KZ500, KZ550, GPz550) (produced: 1979–1985)
  • Z750B (Twin) (produced: 1976–1978)
  • Z1/KZ900 (produced: 1972–1976; Z900 sold in North America as KZ900)
  • Z1R (factory production cafe racer 1015cc four-cylinder; produced 1978–1980)
  • Z750RS Z2 (produced: 1973–1978)
  • KZ750L3 (produced: 1983)
  • KZ750L4 (produced: 1984)
  • KZ200 (produced: 1980–1984)
  • KZ305CSR
  • KZ400/Z400 (produced: 1974–1984)
  • KZ440/Z440
  • KZ350
  • Z650 (produced: 1976–1983; sold in North America as KZ650)
  • Z1000-H (Fuel Injected, Produced 1980)
  • Z1000-ST (Shaft drive, Produced 1979 -1981)
  • KZ1300 (Six cylinder)
  • ZL900A Eliminator (produced 1985–1986)
  • ZL600A Eliminator (produced 1986 only ??)
  • ZN700LTD (produced 1984–1985)
  • ZR-7 (produced: 1999–2003)
  • ZEPHYR 750 (produced: 1991–1999)
  • ZR-1100
  • KSR II
  • W650 (produced: 1999- 2007)
  • Voyager
  • ZZR1100 (produced: 1990–2002)
  • KZ-1000 (various configurations; produced 1977–1980)
  • KZ-1100 (various configurations; produced 1981–1983)
  • AE 50 (produced: circa 1981–1982)
  • KZ900 A4 (produced: ca 1976)
  • Kawasaki F1TR 175cc (1966)
  • Kawasaki F2TR 175cc (1967)
  • Kawasaki J1TR 85cc (1967)

ATV / Quad

  • Aeon Cobra
  • KFX 50
  • KFX 80
  • KFX 400
  • KFX 450R
  • KFX 700
  • Prairie 360
  • Prairie 400
  • Prairie 700
  • Brute Force 650
  • Brute Force 750
  • Kawasaki Bayou KLF 185
  • Bayou 220
  • Bayou 250
  • KLF 300
  • KLF 400

Road racing motorcycles

  • Kawasaki KZ1000S1
  • Ninja ZX-RR
  • KR250
  • KR350
  • KR500
  • KR750
  • KR1000
  • KR-2
  • KR-3
  • A1R
  • A7R
  • H1-R
  • H1-RW
  • H2-R
  • X-09
  • F5-R
  • 602S
 

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