The History of Kawasaki

KAWASAKI was born in Tokyo, way back in 1906. It got its name from the name of its owner, Shozo Kawasaki. The company specialized in ship repair and cargo transportation, gradually expanding its range of interests. At various times they have expanded into railway and civil engineering, building rolling stock, aircraft and components, and repairing and servicing vehicles. Today, KAWASAKI also has a strong position in the construction of environmental infrastructure, power plants, industrial facilities, and even spacecraft.

The Japanese government's policy of militarization in the 1920s led to the rapid development of aircraft construction. Thus, by the beginning of World War II, Japan had a record 575 aircraft deployed on aircraft carriers alone, while the United States and Great Britain together had only 220. The Asian state managed to inflict enormous damage during the fighting to Allied forces, spreading its aggression throughout Southeast Asia, all the way to India and Australia.

After its defeat in the war, Japan was occupied by the United States, whose government imposed a moratorium on the development of the aircraft industry. Aircraft factories were dismantled and exported abroad as contributions, and specialists lost their jobs. Kawasaki partially succeeded in keeping its production facilities, but only by completely retooling them. This is how the motorcycle production line emerged: largely due to the collapse of the aviation industry.

Initially, Kawasaki facilities were focused on the production of gearboxes for the motorcycle industry. In 1949, it was decided to design its own engine. Since 1951, 2-stroke and 4-stroke power units made by KAWASAKI were installed on bicycles from Noriz. Production of spare parts for third-party manufacturers did not bring the desired revenue and capacity utilization. And in 1953, motorcycle production was spun off into a separate division of the concern, which was named Meihazu. Its goal was ambitious: to develop its own motorcycle models from scratch.

The second step to remedy the situation was to increase production. If in the early 60's the concern produced annually 1700-2400 motorcycles (for comparison, Honda at the time - up to 100 thousand units per year), then in 1964 production increased to 6-9 thousand units per month. For such a leap, KAWASAKI had to acquire Meguro, which had been producing some obsolete models. After several unsuccessful developments, the 650 Meguro X motorcycle, called the KAWASAKI W1, premiered in May 1966. It was equipped with a four-stroke two-cylinder engine of 50 horsepower and 650 cm³ volume, and had a top speed of 180 km/h.

Managers of Japanese manufacturer had to do market research, studying the preferences of American consumers. During which it was found that transoceanic motorcyclists, recognizing and respecting the leadership KAWASAKI in power and maximum speed, would like a more dynamic acceleration, lower weight bike, as well as better handling and safety while making turns. Work began on lightweight powertrains, and the result was a new model in the lineup, the KAWASAKI A1 Samurai with a 250cc engine.

In 2001, KAWASAKI formed a strategic alliance with another legendary Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, Suzuki: they design and produce motorcycles, but retain their own sales structure.

The manufacturers sought leadership in all classes of motorcycles. They could not ignore cruisers. In 2004, they launched the flagship Vulcan 2000 with a record-setting 2,053cc V-engine producing 103 horsepower. Electronic fuel injection, dual throttle valves, forged pistons and rods and hydro-compensator valve timing ensured precision, reliability and power. Do not forget to use Kawasaki VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.

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