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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.

2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Road Test

Me in leathers is like 10 pounds of rice in a 5-pound bag. But the new Ninja did not protest and propelled me quickly around the track.

Greg Drevenstedt
February 24, 2009

[This 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Road Test was originally published in the April 2009 issue of Rider] As time passes, people tend to get slower and heavier, and their mass becomes less centralized. In contrast, sportbikes slim down, firm up and have more energy. If I could reinvent myself every two years,... Read more »

2009 Kawasaki Ninja 650R Road Test

2009 Kawasaki Ninja 650R

Rider Magazine
January 15, 2009

photography by Scott Hirko [This 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 650R Road Test was originally published in the March 2010 issue of Rider magazine] 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 650R in action. Test motorcycles come and go here frequently, except certain models we have trouble letting go. Our shop will only hold so many,... Read more »

2008 Kawasaki Z1000, Triumph Speed Triple and Yamaha FZ1 Road Test Comparison

2008 Yamaha FZ1, 2008 Kawasaki Z1000 & 2008 Triumph Speed Triple

Greg Drevenstedt
November 5, 2008

In my past life I was a scientist-specifically, a demographer who studied trends in human mortality (depressing, I know). Although my number-crunching days are behind me, my research background still comes in handy. To put these bikes-Kawasaki Z1000, Triumph Speed Triple and Yamaha FZ1-on a level playing... Read more »

2009 Kawasaki KLX250S Road Test

Kawasaki’s 2009 KLX250S takes on the Death Valley back country. The updated dual-sport has excellent manners both on and off the pavement.

Arden Kysely
September 15, 2008

[This 2009 Kawasaki KLX250S Road Test was originally published in the September 2008 issue of Rider magazine] Have plate, will travel–that’s dual-sporting in a nutshell, and nowhere is that description more appropriate than in Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada, where miles... Read more »

2008 V-twin Touring Cruiser Motorcycle Comparison

Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, Honda VTX1800T, Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic LT, Star Motorcycles Stratoliner S, Suzuki C109RT

Bill Stermer
September 15, 2008

[This V-twin touring cruiser motorcycle comparison review features the 2008 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, 2008 Honda VTX1800T, 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic LT, 2008 Star Stratoliner S and 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109RT was originally published in the September 2008 issue of Rider magazine] Cruisers... Read more »

2008 Motorcycle Fuel Economy Comparison

2008 Suzuki GZ250 action

Bill Stermer
September 15, 2008

Photography by Kevin Wing [This review of nine fuel-efficient motorcycles was originally published in the October 2008 issue of Rider] 2008 Suzuki GZ250 Motorcycles included in this review (2008 model year): Honda Nighthawk, Kawasaki Ninja 250R, Star V Star 250, Suzuki GZ250, Honda 750 Shadow Aero,... Read more »

Rider’s 250-class Dual-Sport Motorcycle Comparison

250 Dual-Sport Comparison

Arden Kysely
September 15, 2008

photography by the author, James Norris, Roger Eggers and Kail Wathne [Rider's 250-class Dual-Sport Motorcycle Comparison including the 2008 HONDA CRF230L, 2009 KAWASAKI KLX250S and 2009 YAMAHA XT250 was originally published in the October 2008 issue of Rider magazine] 2008 HONDA CRF230L, 2009 KAWASAKI... Read more »

2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Road Test

Kawasaki gave the liquid-cooled, 249cc, DOHC parallel twin new heads with reshaped intake and exhaust ports, and more compact combustion chambers, all in the interest of enhanced midrange.

Bill Stermer
July 9, 2008

[this 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R road test review was originally published in the June 2008 issue of Rider] Motorcycles are amazing. Can you imagine, in the highly competitive world of automobiles, that a company could bring out a particular model and continue to sell it, virtually unchanged (except for... Read more »

2008 Honda VTX1300T, Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT, Suzuki Boulevard C50T, Star V Star 1100 Silverado Motorcycle Comparison

Windscreens, backrests, bags and V-twins: Beyond that, they’re all different.

Bill Stermer
July 8, 2008

[this middleweight touring cruiser comparison review features the 2008 Honda VTX1300T, 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT, 2008 Star V Star 1100 Silverado and 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C50T, and was originally published in the May 2008 issue of Rider] You’re a cruiser rider, and you like to travel,... Read more »

2008 Kawasaki KLR650 Road Test

2008 Kawasaki KLR650

Arden Kysely
July 8, 2008

I don’t know what you’ve been doing for the past 21 years, but over at Kawasaki they’ve been listening, and making lists. The company’s mainstay dual-sport, the KLR650, has been on the street in much the same form since 1987, so Kawi’s had plenty of time to compile a long... 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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