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Key events over the last couple of decades during the development of the motorcycle arm of Kawasaki Heavy Industries ltd:

pre motorcycle period

1878 - Original Dockyard established in Tokyo
1907 - Expand into manufacture of Railway locos and coaches
1911 - Move into marine transportation
1918 - Begin manufacture of steel sheets
1937 - Kawasaki Aircraft Company formed

early motorcycle production

1949 - Motorcycle engine development begins
1950 - KE-type 148cc OHV four-stroke produced
1960 - Engine plant established at Kobe
1961 - first complete motorcycle produced (125cc two-stroke)
1962 - The B8 released, first to carry Kawasaki name

racing involvement begins

1963 - Racing version of the B8 entered in Japaned motorcross champs,
	takes first six places overall in 125cc class.
1965 - First overseas office opened, in Chicago USA
1966 - Amercian Kawasaki Motors established in Los Angeles
	Kawasaki enters Japanese GP with its first production racer
1967 - 650cc W1 released, biggest capacity unit in Japan at the time
	Kawasaki enters European GP events for the first time

racing commitment established

1969 - Dave Simmons wins 125cc world championship
	500cc MachIII H1 introduced, the worlds 1st true superbike 
1970 - HR racing version of the 500 released
	Kawasaki Motors established in Holland as distribution point for Europe
	Ginger Molloy is second in 500cc world championship
1971 - 3 cylinder series released (250, 350, 750)
1972 - 900cc Z1 super-sports/tourer released
	750cc H2 racer released
1973 - Production begins on first JetSki models
	Production figures for motorcycles pass 1 million
	The 900cc Z1 motorbike released as competition for Hondas CBR750
1974 - Kawasaki Motors established in Britain
	Establishment of first offshore plant in Lincoln, Nebraska
	Kawasaki finish 1st and 2nd in French Bol d'Or
1975 - Subsidaries established in Germany and Australia
	Mick Grant and Barry Ditchburn finish 1st/2nd in British superbike champs
1976 - Z1000, Z650 and Z200 introduced
	Mick Grant and Barry Ditchburn finish 2nd/3rd in British superbike champs
	Castrol 6-hour race in Oz won for the 4th year running
	Z900 voted bike of the year in Britain and Japan
1977 - 24hour record set on a Kawasaki at Daytona
	900cc and 250cc bikes voted machines of the year in Britain
	First 250cc class GP win
	Z650 introduced

More Production motorcycles

1978 - The big bore Z1300 released
1983 - The innovative 4-valve liquid-coold GPZ900 released
1995 - Vulcan 1500 released
1998 - Z650 launch, a re-release of the popular W1
2000 - ZX-12R released
2001 - ZRX1200 released
2003 - ZX6R and Z1000 released

See Also: K Index | Kawasaki History


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