Additional photos are available here for your perusal.
Kawasaki’s Aircraft Company began the development of a motorcycle engine in 1949. The development was completed in 1952 and mass production started in 1953. The engine was an air-cooled, 148 cc, OHV, four-stroke single cylinder with a maximum power of 3.9 hp at 4,000 rpm. In 1954, the first complete Kawasaki Motorcycle was produced under the name of Meihatsu, a subsidiary of Kawasaki Aircraft. In 1960, Kawasaki completed construction of a factory dedicated exclusively to motorcycle production.
By the mid-1960s, the US had become the largest motorcycle market. American riders were demanding bikes with more horsepower and higher maximum speeds. Kawasaki already had the largest-displacement Japanese machine with their 650 cc four-stroke W series, but it did not fit the niche Kawasaki was aiming for. Honda had introduced its Honda CB450 in 1965 and in 1969, the Suzuki T500 Titan/Cobra appeared. Also in development was the Yamaha XS 650. Already familiar with the Honda CB450, Kawasaki development began work on the top secret N100 Plan in 1967.
The goal was to produce a motorcycle with 500 cc displacement that was able to develop 60 hp and have 13-second quarter-mile times, then considered over the achievable limit for a road bike. When announced in 1969, the H1 was factory quoted in the UK motorcycling press as “the fastest and best accelerating road machine ever produced, being capable of 124 mph and 12.4 sec. for the standing start quarter mile”.
This 1975 triple has a piston-ported two-stroke engine in a steel-tube cradle frame weighing in at 414lbs wet. The engine is an air-cooled 60hp three-cylinder with a displacement of 499cc, generating 42lbs torque. It also has Mikuni VM 28 mm carburetors, and thyristor-based capacitor discharge. The transmission is a chain driven 5-speed manual. The suspension setup is an Inner spring telescopic front fork, three-position spring preloaded adjustable shock absorber and swing arm on the rear. Front brakes were 296mm disc, with 180mm drum on the rear. In the US, the Mach III proved to be very popular. Motorcyclist magazine said the Mach’s power-to-weight ratio was the “best ever produced in a motorcycle meant to sell to anyone who has the money to purchase it.”
In preparation for this listing the seller had us clean, service, and sync the carbs, rebuild the front brakes, and replace the seat pin. We also gave it a new battery, cleaned the chain, and replaced the spark plugs. Finally, we gave the bike a detail.
Our service department notes the following in their condition report:
Gas Tank Internal: Ok
Tire Year Front: 2019 / Rear: 2919
Tire Life Front: 80% / Rear: 80%
Tire Press Front: 36 PSI / Rear: 30PSI
Brake Life Front: 40% / Rear: 35%
Suspension Leaks – Front/Rear: None
Hydraulic Brake Fluid – Front: Fail / Rear: Ok
Transmission Oil – Quality: Ok; Level: Ok
2T Injector Oil Level: Ok, 4/5 full
Low Beam: Ok
High Beam: Ok
Parking Light: Ok
Turn Signals: Ok
Tail Light: Ok
Brake Light: Ok
Plate Light: Ok
Battery: 12.6V, New
Test Ride: 1 mile test ride, unit operates as designed
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this Kawasaki is offered on a clean Tennessee title. Please note that as an import, this bike lacks certain compliance and emissions stickers that the state of California would require to transfer a title. Have any H1 Mach III stories or questions about this listing? Let us know in the “Comments” tab!