Kawasaki motorcycle logo

Kawasaki Aircraft initially produced motorcycles under the Meguro brand after purchasing an ailing motorcycle manufacturer, Meguro Manufacturing, with whom they had previously collaborated. This eventually evolved into Kawasaki Motor Sales. Some early motorcycles have a “Kawasaki Aircraft” emblem on the fuel tank.

Kawasaki engineers were working on a four-stroke engine for small cars in 1962. The engineers were then transferred to the Meguro factory to work on the Meguro K1 and the SG, which was a single cylinder 250 cc OHV. Kawasaki and Meguro merged in 1963 to form Kawasaki Motorcycle Co.,Ltd. From 1962 to 1967, Kawasaki motorcycles featured an emblem that resembled a flag within a wing.

Work on the Meguro K1, a 500cc vertical twin clone of the BSA A7, and the Kawasaki W1 continued. In response to the growing American market for four-stroke motorcycles, the K2 was exported to the United States for testing. It was initially rejected due to a lack of power. By the mid-1960s, Kawasaki had finally begun to export a reasonable number of motorcycles. In 1968, the Kawasaki H1 Mach III, along with several enduro-styled motorcycles to compete with Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda, increased Kawasaki unit sales.

In 1974, the American Kawasaki Motors Corporation (KMC) was established in Lincoln, Nebraska, to complete Japan-produced components into finished motorcycles for the North American market.

Kawasaki’s engines division consolidates engine research and development projects in a single office complex in Grand Rapids, Michigan.