1969 Timelines: 1951-2000

Launches H1 motorcycle.

Following the Kawasaki W series, Japan’s largest motorcycle of the day, which initiated the big bike boom, the Company introduced an epoch-making new model, the H1 (2-stroke, 3-cylinder, 498 cm3) in 1969. In that era, large motorcycles were mostly produced by European makers, who dominated the U.S. market as well. However, exports of Japanese motorcycles with large engine displacements were expected to grow dramatically. Amid such an environment, the success of the H1 confirmed Kawasaki’s big bike reputation and position in the U.S. market. Among the H1’s outstandingly unique attributes were awesome power and high performance, an exhaust roar typical of the 3-cylinder models, which came out of the asymmetrically set mufflers (two on the right, one on the left), and two-tone coloring of white and blue.