Kawasaki Heavy Industries traces its history back to 1896 when it was founded by Shozo Kawasaki. The company’s chief occupation has been shipbuilding, railroad rolling stock, and electrical generating plants. It wasn’t until 1960 that Kawasaki took over Meguro motorcycles, which was a major producer of motorcycles in Japan and was the only company there making a 500cc bike (which strongly resembled the BSA A7). By 1961 Kawasaki was building complete motorcycles, the first being the B8 125cc two-stroke. In 1966 Kawasaki introduced the biggest bike in Japan at the time, a 650cc that eventually evolves into a scrambler version.
Kawasaki continued to build bigger and better bikes, competing with great success in racing as well. The ZX-11 was introduced in 1990 and was the fastest production bike at the time. The ZX-12R came out in 2000 and was one of a new breed of bikes that had potential speed far beyond practical provability on the street.
Kawasaki doesn’t just focus on sport bikes by any stretch. The Vulcan cruisers combine reliability with very classy styling and continue to be the preferred ride of many Ontario motorcycle enthusiasts. The Vulcan Nomad has become one of the most popular touring cruisers thanks to its very cool appearance and its excellent engineering. The Voyager model was a very good looking and very well designed touring bike that remains a favourite. The Concours sport tourer remained unchanged for decades until its recent revamp. The Concours pioneered the sport touring design that attracts legions of riders who appreciate the handling and performance that they get with such bikes.
Two of the most popular ‘starter’ bikes for many years have been the EX250 and EX500 Ninja models. These sporty bikes combine solid handling, reliability, affordability and style, and very often new riders are in no rush to ‘upgrade’ when they have such a fun bike.
Ontario Kawasaki dealerships such as Kahuna Powersports in Toronto reinforce the Kawasaki brand with a deserved reputation for excellent service and a knowledgeable sales staff. Kawasaki has carved a very comfortable niche for itself in the motorcycle market, and the brand looks like it will be around for a long time.
The Kawasaki Canada website is a wealth of information about models, dealer locations, and more: Kawasaki Canada Motorcycles.