Kawasaki being off the pace in building bikes!

Dirk Diggler

Jun 28, 2001
This is just an observation that I have made. And it is not a Flame, as I have ridden a lot of Kwakka's and liked them, but my point is as follows.

Kawasaki must of fired their whole R&D department a couple of years back. They haven't had any of their bikes at the front of the pack for years. (I don't know about the KX through, as I don't follow 2 smokes)

Their 4 strokes are outdated.
Their road bikes are behind the pack. Their Ninjas haven't acheived the results of the R1/6 series or GSXR's

Even the new hyped ZX-12R didn't live up to the hype. Awsome bike yes, but not the leader in that class.

My point is, the Kawasaki don't have any class leading bikes. And hasen't for a long time. Not that I don't like Kwakkers, I do. My mate has a ZX-9R, which is awsome, but a tank compared to a R!.

You read it often in magazines.
Yamaha has the 4xx series, Honda is developing the new CRF, KTM has the RFS, Suzuki hit the spot with the DRZ and what kawasaki are doing, no one knows.

It will turn into a viscous circle for them.


Mod Ban
Dec 10, 2000
They are behind the times with the KXs as well. There have been incremental improvements from year to year, but both the 125 and the 250 have been basically the same for a long time now. The KX 85 and 65 are by far the most improved bikes they have had in several years, and even they aren't the class leaders. And my friend's '98 ZX 7 is a downright porker compared to any of the newest 750s.

CR Swade

Jan 18, 2001
Too late, RC already knows!:p


Oct 9, 2000
My point is, the Kawasaki don't have any class leading bikes. And hasen't for a long time

I BEG to differ. This is a very debatable argument. The KX250 from what I have read has the best motor and suspension of any 250. My bike(KX125) also wins races and anyone that rides it thinks it is one of the best bikes they have ever ridden. THe KX125's were also class dominating along with the KX250 in the early to mid 90's. The KX125 is has one alot of national and supercross champoinships. I believe more than any other company.

I think they are just sticking with what works and is proven.

Dirk Diggler

Jun 28, 2001
Like I said, I don't know about the KX's.

In other classes, where is their dominance.

500cc GP's?

The old XR's and TT 4 stroke engines are tried and proven, but that does not mean you cannot better it.

The management is letting a great mark go down the drain.


Master of None
Jul 31, 2000
kawasaki may not be dominating superbike but doug chandler can still win the races. To do so on an outdated machine shows how much talent kawasaki really has, if they had their machines up to par they'd be a powerhouse like they were back in the late 80's. I agree that they are behind in the times, but they make a reliable bike. How many mechanical DNF's has kawasaki had recently? (serious question because I don't know)


Jul 5, 2000
You are telling me you havent heard of the KDX 200? The best trail bike there is. That is their niche. And being on top isnt that good. Oh no....brand x's sportbike is .000001 seconds faster 0-60 and .00002 seconds faster in the quarter mile. Big deal. Its all rider anyways. Like most sportbikes people buy are raced anyways. Its all for fun or transportation. I doubt the average buyer can even use all the power in those bikes.


Jun 15, 2001
Well not the entire staff is asleep at the wheel, the grafics and sticker department is still alive and well I belive.

Maybe Kawi has adopted a new strategy based on being more profitable. It cost big bucks to jossle with at least 3 other major contenders that refuse to be outdone. Maybe Kawi did not feel that all the R and D was relating to sales in the end. Maybe they feel they can sell just as many bikes with out the over head of a full blown tech war. They know they can make factory race bikes that can still compete, so why make these production bikes for the average customer who will most likely never use the bike to 90% of its full potential anyway.
Maybe a fesod if you will, factory pro racers on tweeked factory bikes, still competitvly racing but Kawi dose not have to go through the major cost of revamping production every year for cutting edge tech? After all, these guys are really trying to sell bikes and make money. The less they spend on R&D, retooling, and top end components, the more they pocket.

Just a thought. Maybe they are taking a page from the American car book.


Nov 10, 2000
Today Suzuki and Kawasaki announced they are forming an alliance that includes product development, procurement and production.

Obviously they are hurting when it comes to R&D funding... Read about it here.


Mar 7, 2001
Let see, R&D is partially to make bikes better for the consumer and partially to win races. Why win races? Because the more you win the more you sell. RC on a KX250 won Supercross and Motocross titles this year. Brown on a KX125 is in 2nd in motocross. Bostrom and Chandler are 2nd and 4th in Superbike this year on Kaw 750s, racing against the other guys 1000 twins. Bostrom on his Kaw is 1st in 600 SS. And in 750 SS there are only 2 riders in the top 25 that are not on a Suzuki GSXRs, and one of them rides a KAW. Honda and Yamaha both do very well in 500 GP, which are bikes that (unlike all the AMA classes) have no serious relationship to street legal bikes. It doesn't seem to me Kaw is off the mark too much. maybe they will get it togeather once they stop doing so well.

Dirk Diggler

Jun 28, 2001
Yamaha released the R1 & R6 and they sold by the truck load. The CBR does also because of the constant updates. The new GSXR's are outdoing the Yamaha's and are selling just as quick.

Sure, people can't use the bikes potential, but want to be seen on the latest and greatest.

The potential of a XR 400 is greater than I could find. My riding ability is about a XR 250. But I bought a KTM 520. Why? Becuse I think it is the best thumper on the market and I can afford it.

I am just saying that by Kawasaki not building any ground breaking bikes, they are losing sales and fans. Why are they the 4th biggest bike builder in Japan?


Feb 1, 2001
I totally agree with what Jason is saying here. If it is really true, they are looking pretty smart because my local dealer has a hard time keeping the KX's in stock.

I am just saying that by Kawasaki not building any ground breaking bikes, they are losing sales and fans.

Didn't Kawi do something relatively big last year to the 80?? They came out with the KX85. (and I love the fact that they have that 'fake' radiator on the other side. Now it truly looks like a 'Mini') Now 'zuki and Yammi are jumping on the boat...Sounds like a leader to me!:confused:

My '98 ran awesome. It was totally dependable. I rode it each weekend in enduros and never had a DNF becuase of bike failure. Even though I have a '02 YZ250 on the way (I'm a tall guy and I need every inch of room I can get, and the YZ takes the cake in that department), the Kawi machine is a great bike...


Mar 15, 2001
I loved my KX125 for the reliability. I think Suzuki (and Yamaha for that matter ) can learn much from Kawasaki on quality (just my opinion). My KX was admittedly somewhat slower than a YZ or KTM, but it simply didn't do anything bad. The suspension worked well and handling was excellent. Heck, the stock chain was even a keeper.

If you look close, I believe there are several things that Yamaha and others have copied from the Kx line in the last 2 or three years.

Af far as how they sell, not well here. The dealer just about has to give them away. The yellow and green ones are the underdogs and the red and blue ones are hot.
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