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Kawasaki History 2011

Lighter versions were developed in the shape of the 250cc Samurai and the 350cc A7 Avenger, but again, these machines didn't capture Having initially produced low powered machines, Kawasaki, using the knowledge acquired from Meguro, turned their attention towards bigger bikes, and in 1966 produced the W1, a 650cc machine that was heavier and slower than its rivals, so enjoyed limited success. By 1962, their name had disappeared. Having once been regarded as 'the senior make and king of four-strokes', Meguro turned away from their British influence with disastrous results.

In 1960, the company signed a deal with the oldest motorcycle company in Japan, Meguro Motorcycles, whose fortunes had declined since being a major motorcycle manufacturer from their birth in 1937. Around this time, an unsuccessful attempt was made to break into the scooter sector; the Fuji Rabbit and the Mitsubishi Silver Penguin proving too strong an opposition. Meihatsu, a subsidiary of the Kawasaki Aircraft Company, gave its name to the first complete motorbike produced by the company. Kawasaki and BMW had enjoyed a close relationship that stemmed from their days as aircraft builders.

The company's first offerings were a 60cc two stroke, and a150cc and 250cc four stroke respectively, which were developed using German technology. Historically, the company had been involved in heavy industry, including the manufacture of aircraft, ships and trains. Although by 1949 they were producing engines that could be adapted for motorcycle use, the first real motorbike didn't appear until 1954.  As with the story of many other motorcycle manufacturing companies, Kawasaki's history began on entirely different lines.

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