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The Kawasaki Story
The Kawasaki Company was formed in 1924, initially building aircraft engines. In 1949 they started producing engines that could be used in motorcycles. Some five years later, in 1954, Kawasaki launched a range of motorcycles branded as Meihatsu, a subsidiary of Kawasaki Aircraft Co. The first Kawasaki branded motorcycle did not appear until 1962.
The first Kawasaki to grab people’s attention was the 1969, H1 a middleweight 2-stroke triple of 500cc, with which Kawasaki went on to dominate the fledgling superbike market for most of the seventies.
Kawasaki Triple Models
Between 1969 and 1980 (1976 in the US), a series of Kawasaki Triple models were based around an unconventional engine. Each featured a three-cylinder air-cooled engine. Easily and cheaply modified, the Kawasaki Triple became a cornerstone of the drag racing scene in the US. And in Europe, the 1972 S-1 became very popular as a budget superbike.
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Launched in 1990, the Kawasaki ZZR 1100 was the first of the big sports tourers, at the time the fastest bike on the road. Some people called the ZZR 1100 a hyperbike with good reason. Despite its size, weight and power it lives up to its reputation as a comfortable and easy ride.
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Produced between 1996 and 2003, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX7-R was the manufacturer’s way of making a racing-type superbike available for road use. The 749cc in-line four cylinder four-stroke engine took the bike to over 160 mph (more than 255 km/h). For the eight years of its production, the bike remained unchanged, a clear indication of Kawasaki having the right vision for the time.
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