Kawasaki bike history

Kawasaki Heavy Industries is a huge Japanese corporation with dual headquarters in Kobe and Tokyo. Although its motorcycles and ATV’s are the most visible products, the conglomerate also produces small watercraft, large ships, tractors, trains and even aerospace and military craft. Kawasaki was founded in 1896 by Shozo Kawasaki, and as of 2008 had over 30,000 employees and US$ 15 billion in revenue.

The company is well-known in racing circles, and Kawasaki Motors Racing, based in Netherlands, was set up in 2007 to manage the sport side of business. This outfit handles the company’s involvement in MotoGP in addition to any future sports endeavours for Kawasaki, with Marco Melandri and John Hopkins as their current riders.

The company’s most famous name is arguably the Ninja range of sportbikes. These bikes are liked for their versatility, comfort (unlike other hardcore sportbikes) and low operating costs. The range was introduced in the early 90’s, and significant changes in both technology and design have been carried out over the years to keep the bike fresh and relevant. Racing models usually have a ‘R’ appended to the name, and race-replica models, that is, bikes with a very close resemblance to those used in competition, are denoted by ‘RR’.

Kawasaki bike range

Kawasaki’s range in New Zealand include the Vulcan line of cruisers, the KD, KDX and KLX off-roaders, the ZZR streetbikes, the Ninja sportbike range and the Concours and Voyager sport-touring models. The Ninja is available as ZX-6R, ZX-10R and ZX-12R with 0.6, 1.0 and 1.2 litre engines respectively. Other models are the Brute Force, Stockman, Teryx and the Vulcan.

Looking at buying a Kawasaki? Check the vehicle history of any Kawasaki by entering its number plate in the field above.