The first Kawasaki motorbikes appeared in the 1960s, but the Kawasaki brand goes back to 1896, when the company made its name as a ship-builder.
The 60s saw the company buying up Meguro motorcycles, a well-known Japanese brand and the only producers of a 500cc machine. By the 1970s Kawasaki had expanded the product range to include 50s, 125s, 250s and a 750 model – at that time the biggest bike in Japan.
Kawasaki also had success on the track, winning its first world championship in 1969.
Through the 1970s and 1980s Kawasaki competed head on with Honda. The 900cc Z1 outpowered the Honda 750 on the road and on the racing circuit, and world championships followed in the 250 and 350cc classes as well as in the AMA Superbike championship.
The 90s and noughties saw new models that built on the brand’s impressive stable of bikes. The ZX-12R was born in 2000, becoming the flagship of the ZX series.
In 2008 the Kawasaki Concours was overhauled, re-emerging as the Concours 14, a blend of the best bits of the Ninja ZX-14 superbike (including its 1352cc engine). This bike is reckoned by many as the ultimate touring machine.