Everything you need to know about Kawasaki

by TopGear.com.ph | Dec 31, 2022
PHOTO: Shutterstock

What is Kawasaki known for?

Do you remember that old Kawasaki commercial in the late 2000s? The one with the iconic line, “Are you bold enough to ride a Kawasaki?” Anyone who’s old enough to remember that commercial also knows the most appealing aspects of a Kawasaki motorcycle: they’re tough, reliable, and built differently.

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Kawasaki Jukogyo Kabushiki-gaisha, or Kawasaki, is a Japanese public multinational corporation that manufactures motorcycles. It is headquartered in Chuo, Kobe, and in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The company is also known for producing engines, heavy equipment, aerospace and defense equipment, trains, and rolling stock, as well as ships.

Kawasaki motorcycles are known all around the world for their unique designs, advanced technology, and powerful engines. The brand has produced some of the most iconic Japanese motorcycles throughout history. It also has a wide range of motorcycles for daily commutes, commercial use, and leisure, so anyone can enjoy the Kawasaki experience.


Who established Kawasaki and when?

Kawasaki is named after the company’s founder, Shozo Kawasaki. Kawasaki was born on August 10, 1836, to a kimono merchant in Kagoshima prefecture in the southernmost part of Japan.

He was a born entrepreneur and became a tradesman at only 17 years old. He worked in Nagasaki, the only port open to Western trade during that time. After building his knowledge base and gathering experience, he started a shipping business in Osaka when he was 27.

Unfortunately, this shipping business failed when his cargo ship sank during a storm. Thankfully, Kawasaki did not give up after that. In 1869, he joined a shipping company that transported sugar from Ryukyu (in present-day Okinawa prefecture) to the rest of Japan.

It should be noted that through the years, Kawasaki became increasingly interested in Western-style ships because of their capacity, stability, and speed. So in 1878, with the support of Masayoshi Matsukata, the Japanese Vice Minister of Finance, he established the Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard. The shipyard was built on land along the Sumidagawa River in Tsukiji Minami-Iizaka-Cho, Tokyo, which was borrowed from the government.

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In 1894, Kawasaki was appointed executive vice president of the Japan Mail Steam-Powered Shipping Company. During that time, he opened a sea route to Ryukyu which enabled the company to transport sugar to the mainland more effectively.

Kawasaki also played many roles and had many interests aside from shipbuilding and machinery. He also worked as a Japanese politician, serving as a member of the House of Peers in 1890. He also established a newspaper in Kobe in 1898, and founded the Kobe Kawasaki Bank in 1905. After retiring from the shipbuilding business in 1896, he became a well-known art collector in Japan. Kawasaki died on December 2, 1912, at the age of 76.

Where are Kawasaki motorcycles manufactured and sold?

Kawasaki has 21 overseas production sites, affiliates, and subsidiaries in locations such as North and South America, India, Bangladesh, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, the UK, and Italy. It also has 17 domestic production sites and more than 36,690 employees and staff around the world.


What are the most iconic Kawasaki motorcycles ever featured in films?

There are a couple of iconic Kawasaki models in Hollywood films, one of which is the Kawasaki GPZ900R which was featured in Top Gun (1986). The GPZ900R was Maverick’s (Tom Cruise) ride to Charlie’s (Kelly McGillis) home. This model is a member of the Ninja family and is one of the most memorable motorcycles in the film, partly because it was released just two years prior. Performance and build-wise, the GPZ900R is considered a modern-day sports bike with its 908cc four-cylinder engine and top speed of 254kph.

Another iconic Kawasaki model in film is the Kawasaki ZZR 250, which was featured in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). In the film, Uma Thurman plays the role of an assassin on a quest to get revenge. The ZZR 250 featured in the movie is yellow, which complements the attire of the protagonist, which in turn was inspired by Bruce Lee’s yellow jumpsuit from Game of Death (1978). Like the GPZ900R, the ZZR 250 is also from the Kawasaki Ninja series.


What are the fastest Kawasaki motorcycles ever made?

When it comes to speed, the Kawasaki Ninja series knows how it’s done. In fact, the top three fastest Kawasaki motorcycles are all from the Ninja series. Our top three is the 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R with a top speed of about 330 kph. This model comes with a really big engine and is quite possibly the most powerful of all Kawasaki models to date.

Coming in second is the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at 300 kph. The ZX-10R has new tech features that put Kawasaki in first to fourth place in the Kawasaki World Superbike Championship.

And at number one we have the Kawasaki Ninja H2R at 332 kph. Both the H2 and the H2R can reach formidable speeds, but the H2R is a beast. It’s not even street-legal. The H2R uses a liquid-cooled supercharger on a 998cc in-line-four engine which produces up to 310hp.


Since when has Kawasaki been in the Philippines?

Kawasaki has been in the Philippine market since 1968 when JV Del Rosario and Sakata Shokai Ltd. started a partnership and founded the Delsa Industrial Corporation. In 1974, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) acquired a stake in the company and changed the name to Kawasaki Motors (Philippines) Corporation. In 1996, KHI took the controlling stock of the company and firmly established its presence in the country.

When Kawasaki Motors Philippines was established 54 years ago, it set its sights on being the number one brand for heavy-duty tricycles in the Philippines. It achieved its goal and remains to this day one of the top sellers in the Philippine market.

On average, Kawasaki Motors Philippines produces approximately 18,000 motorcycles every month in its Muntinlupa plant. The company also has regional offices in Cebu and Davao and services over 2,000 stores and dealers nationwide. The company also offers spare parts service and repairs.


Which Kawasaki models are available in the Philippines?

When it comes to Kawasaki motorcycles, you have plenty of options here in the Philippines. Kawasaki actually has separate commuter motorcycle and leisure bike websites so you can browse specific models according to the type of bike you want.

On its leisure bike website, you can check out the specs for Supersports, Versys, Cruisers, Heritage Models, Sports, Dual Sport, and Off-road Sports models. Under the Supersports category, Kawasaki offers the full Ninja line and the Z H2. As for the Versys, it has both the 1000 SE and 650. For the Cruisers, you can choose among the Vulcan 1700 Vquero, Vulcan 900 Custom, and the Vulcan S.

Heritage Models include the Z900RS, W800 Cafe, W800 Street, Z650RS, W175, and the Z650RS Z 50th Anniversary Edition. They also have several Ninja models and Z1000 R Edition under the Sports category. For the Dual Sport, you have the KLX 150BF and KLX230. As for Off-road Sports, you can choose among the KLX 140, 300R, KX 250, KX 250X, KX 450, and KX 450X.


The commuter bike lineup is also solid, with the Barako II and CT series, which includes the CT 100, CT 100B, CT 125, and CT 150. For their Fury Series, you can choose between the Fury 125 and Fury 125RR.

The Rouser line has several models, including the Rouser NS125 FI, Rouser NS160 FI, Rouser NS200 FI with ABS, and Rouser RS200 with ABS. You can also view the specs for the Dominar 400 UG on the dedicated commuter bike website.

Where can I buy a Kawasaki in the Philippines?

Whether you’re itching to hit the road in a new Kawasaki cruiser or you’re looking to start a new business, Kawasaki has got your back. To find the nearest Kawasaki commuter bike dealership, you can use the dealer locator tool. On the other hand, if you want to take a look at premium Kawasaki leisure bikes, you can visit the Kawasaki Motors Philippines leisure bike dealer locator tool. For other Kawasaki accessories and apparel, you can shop in their online store.


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