Kawasaki Motorcycle History

February 23, 2008
By Motorcycle USA Staff

Kawasaki Logo

Whether it’s two wheels, four wheels, or on the water with no wheels, the Kawasaki name is synonymous with fun. Operating under the umbrella of its heavyweight parent, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the consumer products and machinery division are the folks responsible for pumping out all those cool motorcycles, ATVs, utility vehicles, Jet Ski personal watercraft, as well as general-purpose engines that many of us enjoy every day.

A successful manufacturing company with a long, rich history, Kawasaki jumped into the motorcycle world first as an engine builder, then as a manufacturer in 1960. It cranked out its first street bike, the B8, which was later spun off into a motocross bike termed the B8M. This machine was a precursor to its current line of KX motocross bikes including the fuel-injected KX450F and KX250F.

Kawasaki continued to innovate when it produced its line of Jet Ski personal watercraft in 1973 and some 36 years later, Team Green is still cranking out wave shredding machines like the supercharged Ultra 260X three passenger sit down and the 800 SX-R stand-up.

2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R
The Kawasaki ZX-10R is one of the fastest bikes on the market and just one of the large line of Kawasaki motorcycles.

In 1981, Kawasaki added another wheel to its product line up with its first ATV, a KLT200 three-wheeler. A few years later, the fourth and final wheel was added when it released the Bayou 185 ATV. Shortly after, Kawasaki was the first Japanese manufacturer to the utility vehicle market with its MULE utility vehicle. Even today, many rely on their MULE utility vehicle to get the job done and for those looking for something dual-purpose that can be used for either work or play, Kawasaki offers the Teryx 750 4×4.

Currently, Kawasaki offers one of the widest range of recreational products available. Most notable are its high performance Ninja sportbikes including the all-new for 2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R Supersport and the 160 horsepower ZX-10R open class rocket. Its Vulcan line of cruisers is equally expansive with its Vulcan 500 LTD entry level machine up to its top-of-the-line Vulcan 2000 LT Classic and everything in between.