One day my friend Dwight took me on the back of his bike to a Kawasaki Dealership on Long Island, NY and there my eyes fell upon the most beautiful thing I had ever seen...a 1968 Kawasaki W2 650. It was Red & Glistening Chrome and beckoning and I just had to have it. In retrospect, it was one of the worst bikes ever made and I'm surprised that it didn't turn me off to motorcycling completely. Guess I've always been a glutton for punishment.
My Dad who was a very fair man (deceased 03/18/2012) never wanted me to own a streetbike due to my Grandfather having lost his leg in a motorcycle accident back in 1914 riding an Indian Motorcycle.
But being the fair man that he was, he told me that if I had the "sticktoittiveness" to work and save my money for what I wanted, he wouldn't stand in my way. So after years of working as a newspaper delivery boy and $1369 later, the beautiful 1968 Kawasaki W2 650 was mine :)
As it turned out, the bike was a lemon. It was the first year of production and I turned out to be one of the "guinea pigs". The heads had a propensity to warp, and I wasn't a hard rider. So time and time again under warranty they attempted to fix the problem but never could.
My next Kawasaki Motorcycles experience was much better. It was a 1972 Kawasaki Bushwhacker 175 enduro 2 stroke that almost made me forget the horrible times I had on the W2.
What many people don't know is that Kawasaki is a huge Japanese conglomerate that does a lot more than just build motorcycles. In fact, they didn't start getting big time into bikes until 1960. They were known as Kawasaki Heavy Industries and they were heavily involved (no pun intended) with ship building, railroad rolling stock, and electrical generating plants.
I will never forget the sound of a screaming H2 500 triple or H3 750 triple. Kawasaki at that time had a lock on the fastest production streetbikes in the world. They were scary fast, and often an accident waiting to happen. The brakes and chassis were never up to the huge power that the engines were capable of producing.
Since my Bushwhacker, I haven't had any more Kawasaki streetbikes. I guess the bad times with the W2 soured my taste for the brand. But I know they produce some nice products. The Vulcan line has been pleasing riders for years.
I started my street riding on a 1968 Kawasaki W2 650. Fun..but oh...so many problems. What are your experiences with a Kawasaki Motorcycle. Pics as well as content are appreciated. Thanks for sharing.
Your first paragraph ...