The story of Kawasaki Company goes back to 1924, at
involved into metallurgy and the aircraft industry.
In 1949, they decided to enter the motorcycle industry producing
engines that could be adapted to motorcycles.
FIRST KAWASAKI MOTORCYCLES PRODUCTS ?
In their line you could find a 60 cc two-stroke, as well as a
150cc and a 250cc four-stroke engines developed with technology
from BMW; company whom with they had had relationships since
their beginnings in the aeronautical industry.
It wasn't until 1954 that Kawasaki Motorcycles produced their
first complete motorcycle under the name of Meihatsu (a
subsidiary of Kawasaki Aircraft Co.).
Almost at the same time, they also tried to introduce their own
line of scooters to the market, but they soon realized they
couldn't compete against the two giants of the scooters industry for those days: the Fuji Rabbit and the Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon.
And now before continuing with Kawasaki Motorcycles history, I
have to open a big parenthesis…
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF KAWASAKI MOTORCYCLES
We cannot talk about Kawasaki without mentioning another make
that will definitely help Kawasaki become as well as Honda,
Suzuki, and Yamaha one of the big players in the Japanese
Meguro Motorcycles: better know in that time as the "senior
make and the king of four strokes".
Meguro entered the motorcycle industry in 1937. Having a good
relationship with the government, the people at Meguro took
advantage of the army orders.
Their first motorcycle was the Z97: a 500cc rocker-valve
motorcycle influenced by the Swiss Motosacoche. It's worth
mentioning this model was a success for the factory and the Z97
was in production till the fifties.
Along the years, Meguro produced some very nice 250cc and 350cc
rocker-valve, single cylinder models as well as high performance
twins. All of them with a very strong British influence. Then and
thanks to the commercial success they were living, they also
launched a rocker-valve 125 cc for their low end range and a twin
cylinder 650cc to accompany the already existing 500cc.
But it was in 1958, when Meguro tried to get rid of their British
influence, when things started to go wrong...
Based on a winning prototype of Mount Asama (one of the biggest
races that time), Meguro Motorcycles produced three nice and
elegant machines with overhead camshaft: the 125cc E3, the 250cc
F and the 350cc Y A. Unfortunately these bikes turned out to be
too heavy and didn't get the buyers' attention. Meguro will soon
return to rocker valve models.
Meguro Motorcycles remained as one of the top 10 manufacturers
till 1960, but due to some bad decisions, as the ones mentioned
above, the company started to decline and was soon bought by
In 1960 Meguro signed an initial agreement with Kawasaki
Motorcycles, and in 1962 they had completely disappeared.
….And this brings us back to Kawasaki Motorcycles...
In 1960, the company decides to give a serious push to the
motorcycle division of Kawasaki Aircrafts:
They take out of the market the Meihatsu brand, they build their
own plant of low end and low powered machines and buy Meguro.
These brilliant moves and decisions made Kawasaki Motorcycles
have one of the widest range of models in the market. Kawasaki
Motorcycles could offer at that time (1960's) from a 50cc
moped-scooter to a powerful, high end and beautiful 650 cc twin
Its also important to mention that due to their very own nature,
Kawasaki Motorcycles has always played the role of Maverick in
the industry and that a feeling of independence from their main
competitors has always been present.
Since then, many stories have been written, many models have been
produced and many races have been won on Kawasaki Motorcycles,
the truth is...
Nowadays Kawasaki Motorcycles is one of the major players in the
industry and following their tradition, they nowadays offer a
wide range of products for all kind needs and likes.
You can also take a look at Kawasaki 2007 line-up . Check this
Enjoy the ride!
Daniel Levy is the owner and contributing writer of
. He loves motorcycles
and Web development. For more great info visit http://www.japanese-motorcycles-only.com/