Restoration Without the Exploration

Elliot Strong
by Elliot Strong
Jason Roberts has ventured into the nebulous realm of restoring a vintage Kawasaki...

Torrance, California, August 5, 2002 -- For those of the "plastic bike generation," as the old hacks call riders of post-`70s machines, Kawasaki produced its three-cylinder two-stroke road rockets between 1969 and 1976. Most popular was the 500cc H1, or Mach III, but there was also the scary-fast H2 750 as well as 250, 350 and 400cc models. Designed specifically to satisfy the insatiable American desire for straight-line acceleration, the triples were the quickest and craziest things on two wheels and were the catalyst for Kawasaki's massive growth in the US market. By the late 1970s, rising gas prices and stricter emissions regulations killed off most of the large-displacement smokers, as did the advent of big four-strokes such as the Z1 900.

It's still amazing to me, in this day of litigious consumers and near-impeccable quality control, that these bikes could have been produced and sold the way they were...

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