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Kawasaki Motorcycle Road Tests
& Reviews

Kawasaki Motorcycle Guide

The Kawasaki Motorcycle & Engine Division has been manufacturing motorcycles since 1954. The trademarked names of some of Kawasaki's powersports machines–from Kawasaki Ninja sportbikes to Kawasaki Vulcan cruisers to Kawasaki Jet Ski personal watercraft–have become household names.

2012 BMW ­­G 650 GS Sertão vs. 2012 Kawasaki KLR650 Comparison

These rugged, capable dual-sports will take you and your gear anywhere on the map, gates or snow notwithstanding.

Greg Drevenstedt
June 4, 2012

What would you do with an extra $2,351? Even at today’s high prices, you could fill your gas tank hundreds of times. You could buy new gear from head to toe, a wish list of accessories, or you could fund an open-road odyssey for months. If you’re in the market for a new 650cc dual-sport single, would... Read more »

2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650 Review

The 456-pound Ninja 650 accelerates smoothly, quickly and impressively enough that most solo riders will never long for more motor.

Mark Tuttle
April 2, 2012

Before a burst of technology and specialization in the mid 1980s commenced sharpening our motorcycles into sportbikes, long-distance luxury tourers and cruisers, a street bike was a street bike. In those days you pretty much used the same one for everything: touring, commuting, canyon carving, even dirt... Read more »

Riding Among Giants, A 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS Tour Test

Riding Kawasaki Concours in Rockefeller Forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Greg Drevenstedt
January 26, 2012

Our motivations differed, but our destination was the same. Having fallen under the spell of majestic redwoods several years ago at Muir Woods National Monument, north of San Francisco, she wanted to see big trees. Having fallen under the spell of the Kawasaki Concours 14, winner of our last sport-touring... Read more »

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R – First Ride

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R: The long, wide ZX-14R has a spacious cockpit and comfortable ergonomics.

Greg Drevenstedt
January 23, 2012

At the dawn of the 21th century, as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12 and Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa duked it out for top-speed bragging rights, motorcycle manufacturers agreed to limit production machines to 186 mph (300 kph), avoiding legislative restrictions then being considered in Europe. Everyone grumbled... Read more »

2012 BMW K 1600 GT vs. 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 Road Test

BMW K1600GT vs Kawasaki Concours

Rider Magazine
November 22, 2011

photography by Kevin Wing [This 2012 BMW K 1600 GT vs. 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 Road Test was originally published in the December 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Concours: Helmet: Shoei Qwest / Jacket: Tourmaster Jett 3 / Pants: Tourmaster Flex / Boots: Forma. BMW: Helmet: Arai Signet-Q / Jacket:... Read more »

2012 Kawasakis – First Look

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R

Rider Magazine
October 10, 2011

Even though the leaves are turning brown, the season is green…Kawasaki green. The company has pulled the covers off its new-for-2012 street models, which includes three sportbikes and its flagship touring cruiser. 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R For 2012, the mightiest Ninja has been reworked from stem... Read more »

2011 Star Stratoliner Deluxe vs. 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero Road Test

2011 Star Stratoliner Deluxe vs. Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero left side action

Rider Magazine
June 21, 2011

photography by Rich Cox [This 2011 Star Stratoliner Deluxe vs. 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero Rider Comparison Test was originally published in the July 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Above: A larger fairing and standard fairing lowers give the red Vaquero more wind protection than the Stratoliner Deluxe.... Read more »

2011 Honda CBR250R vs. Kawasaki Ninja 250R Road Test Comparison

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250 and Honda CBR250R action

Arden Kysely
June 13, 2011

photography by Rich Cox [This 2011 Honda CBR250R vs. Kawasaki Ninja 250R Road Test Comparison was originally published in the May 2011 issue of Rider magazine] The Ninja (left) reigns in the canyons, the CBR rules in town, but their capabilities overlap so much that we're still flipping a coin. Reading... Read more »

2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Road Test

2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero front action

Bill Stermer
June 8, 2011

[This 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Road Test was originally published in the April 2011 issue of Rider] With today’s economic realities, we all want more for our money. We want “Buy One, Get One Free,” we want “But wait—there’s more,” and with a new motorcycle many of us want a bike... Read more »

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Road Test

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 left side action

Rider Magazine
June 3, 2011

photography by Adam Campbell [This 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Road Test was originally published in the February 2011 issue of Rider magazine] The Ninja 1000 feels right at home in tight, twisty conditions with modest weight and zippy power. Perhaps because of our Puritanical roots, naked bikes aren’t... Read more »

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Kawasaki Motorcycles, Who Uses Them?

Kawasaki motorcycle test drives are only the beginning. The company offers a full range of motorcycles, from cruisers, sport tourers, sportbikes, dirt bikes and the iconic Kawasaki KLR650 dual-sport to ATVs, side-by-sides and personal watercraft.


Kawasaki Motorcycle Standouts

The 1984 Kawasaki GPZ900R helped usher in the modern sportbike era with its liquid-cooled, 16-valve, in-line four engine that was capable of more than 150 mph. It was the first motorcycle marketed under the Ninja name and the subject of many Kawasaki motorcycle reviews. The 1986 Kawasaki ZG1000 Concours was powered by a 997cc in-line four with shaft drive, and it had a full fairing, tall windscreen, lockable saddlebags and large fuel capacity, making it one of the first sport tourers (it was replaced by the Concours 14 in 2008). In 1987 Kawasaki motorcycle test drives began to include the KLR650, a 651cc single-cylinder dual-sport motorcycle that stayed in Kawasaki's lineup all but unchanged for 21 years (it was updated for 2008), developed a reputation as an inexpensive, durable adventure bike, helping to launch numerous around-the-world trips and a large aftermarket for accessories.

Kawasaki motorcycle reviews made the Concours 14 Rider's 2008 Motorcycle of the Year because it reinvented the venerable Concours, building a comfortable, well-appointed sport tourer around the Ninja ZX-14 engine, with the addition of Variable Valve Timing for a broader powerband.

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