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From Ships to Bikes

“Ninja” the word represents sports bike to anybody remotely associated with motorcycles. However, the company that built this bike was originally into manufacturing Ships. The paradigm shift happened when Megero Motorcycles which had been in business since 1937 making dirt bikes, was bought out by Kawasaki in 1960. This was the beginning of out of the box decisions made by Kawasaki which made them a leader in the motorcycle industry rather than a follower.

Originally Kawasaki’s aircraft engineers designed the bikes, their primary focus horsepower. This approach led to the bike becoming very popular with thrill seekers. This focused approach led them to win the FIM world championships and a manufacturer trophy on multiple occasions. The first was with Dave Simmons in both the West German GP and the Isle of Mann TT.

The 80’s is where the company’s fortunes really changed; Developed in secret over six years, the GPz900R rocked the world when it was first released in ’83. The new model was equipped with Kawasaki’s first liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 4-cylinder engine (max power of 115 PS) and a light, compact chassis. With a top speed of the more than 250km/h and a 0-400m time of 10.552 s, the GPz900R rewrote the motorcycle record books and took the top spot as the world’s fastest bike. When sales started in 1984, the GPz900R was named “Bike of the Year” by magazines all over the world, the name Ninja was given to it by a bunch of engineers in the US office of Kawasaki (No particular reason for the same); this was then adopted by their global counterparts.

As kids we have seen the Ninja being ridden across the streets of Mumbai, there was one that a guy rode on Altamont road, this was close to our school and we would just stare at the bike in absolute awe. Till date this is one of the bikes we aspire to own….

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Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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