The 1980s were a pretty wild time for the motorcycle industry. Bikes that were produced by the major manufacturers were extremely advanced in comparison to those that came before them. But, they also had their share of flaws. For instance, Kawasaki had some real problems with their bikes’ frames and engines. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of Kawasaki motorcycles during the 1980s and why they struggled so much during this decade.
The 1980s were a time of huge change for Kawasaki motorcycles. Their sales figures began to climb again as they started producing more and more high-performance machines. In fact, during the mid-1980s, they produced some of the fastest bikes in history including the GPZ900R Ninja which was capable of speeds upwards of 160 mph!
Kawasaki started out the 1980s with a bang. In 1981, they sold a total of 70,971 motorcycles. This was more than any other manufacturer. However, Kawasaki sales dropped significantly over the next few years and didn’t rebound until 1985. By this time, Honda had already sold more than 100,000 motorcycles and Yamaha had sold a little over 100,000 motorcycles as well. Kawasaki wasn’t going to give up without a fight though. They managed to sell close to 100,000 motorcycles in 1986 and 1987 before dropping down to 80,000 in 1988 and 1989. Unfortunately for Kawasaki though, they were still nowhere near Honda or Yamaha when it came to sales figures during this decade.
However, as is often the case with Kawasaki’s products from this era, there were some serious flaws with their bikes’ engines and frames. The frame was just too flexible which made it hard to control when braking or accelerating at high speeds. And when it came to engines, most suffered from poor valve timing which led to increased wear on the engine components and also increased emissions levels from these bikes! But, even with these problems, Kawasaki’s bikes were still able to compete with the best of them.
Kawasaki continued to produce many of their best-selling models during the 1980s including the GPZ750, GPZ900R Ninja, and ZXR750. They also introduced a few new models including the Z1000, Vulcan 750 cruiser, and KLR650 dual-purpose bike.
The 1980s started off with a bit of a rough patch for Kawasaki. Their biggest selling model, the GPZ750, was discontinued in 1980. This was followed by the discontinuation of the KZ650 twin which had been in production since 1974. The new bikes introduced during this year included the KZ400, KX500, and Z650. However, none of these models would prove to be as popular as their predecessors had been. In fact, the Z650 would be discontinued after just one year in production!
The most popular Kawasaki motorcycles:
Kawasaki motorcycles in the 1980s were extremely popular with both recreational and professional riders. They produced bikes that could compete with the best of them. Here are some of the most popular Kawasaki motorcycles from this decade:
This bike was first introduced in the 1970s and was intended to be a sport bike. It featured a 900cc engine which produced up to 100 horsepower. But, it was extremely light and had a very responsive suspension system. It also featured some unique design elements including handlebars that were mounted on top of the gas tank! Unfortunately, these bikes had some major flaws including a very weak frame which could easily break when riding at high speeds! But, they were still able to maintain their popularity during this decade as they made up for their shortcomings with some impressive speed and acceleration capabilities!
The GPZ900R Ninja:
This bike was one of Kawasaki’s most successful models during this decade. It was capable of reaching speeds upwards of 160 mph! It also featured many unique design elements including a twin headlight system which made it resemble a space ship! The GPZ900R Ninja was originally intended to be a race bike but it eventually evolved into an extremely fast street bike! Unfortunately, these bikes had some major problems with their engines and were known to burn through valves and piston rings very quickly. But, even with these problems, they were still able to compete with the best of them!
This bike was introduced in 1990 and was one of the fastest motorcycles in history. It featured a 1,100cc engine which produced an impressive 160 horsepower! It also featured an impressive design which included features like forward facing handlebars which allowed the rider to be seated more upright. This bike was extremely popular with professional riders as it was one of the fastest bikes in history. However, it had some major flaws including poor braking capabilities due to its high center of gravity and very low ground clearance.
This bike was first introduced in 1981 and remained in production until 1987. It featured a 497cc engine which produced up to 46 horsepower! It also featured a very unique design including handlebars that extended from the sides of the gas tank all the way back to the seat! This bike also had a very low center of gravity which made it easy to control at high speeds. Unfortunately, this bike had some major flaws including very weak suspension which made it hard to control at high speeds. But, despite these flaws, it was still a very popular bike with both recreational and professional riders!
Kawasaki motorcycles in the 1980s were extremely popular with both recreational and professional riders. They had some major flaws but were still able to compete with the best of them. Today, Kawasaki is still one of the most popular motorcycle manufacturers in the world!