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Bike Find of the Day The Kawasaki Estrella

The Kawasaki Estrella

In 1991 Kawasaki, in their infinite wisdom, began building this lovely bit of  nostalgia for the Japanese motorcycle market, The Estrella. The company launched the machine  in Japan back in 1992.

But you couldn’t get one here in the US, and that’s a shame, because I think it’s not only a great looking motorcycle, but sensible as well.

If you live In Germany, you had a short window of time where you could get your hands on the throttle of one of two versions between the years 1994 and 1999. Kawasaki must have hit on something as the bikes sold some 5.000 units throughout Europe over the course of that time.

The Estrella has been available in six versions 1992 until today in Japan, and it’s been a major success there.

So did the Estrella just come out of the blue? Nope, it was the stepchild of the boys from the Meguro Works and it was based on the very cool Meguro 250 thumper. The first versions of that machine were built and sold by Meguro in the 1950s and stayed in production until the mid-1960s. When Meguro merged with Kawasaki, the model was essentially rebadged, and there you have it, the Estrella was born.

The Meguro 250 was itself a direct knockoff of the German Horex models from that time period and came from a visit paid to the Horex factory by officials from Meguro.

Before WW II,  Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. produced big ships, aircraft and machines for – as you might well guess from their name – heavy industry. Following WW II, KHI was forbidden to produce aircraft and armaments by the Allies and switched over their production capabilities to build motors for the motorcycle industry instead. By 1954 KHI unveiled a 125 cc motorcycle branded a ‘Meihatsu,’ and a few years later entered a partnership with Meguro Works. Kawasaki and Meguro merged in 1962, and the new was dubbed Kawasaki Motor Sales Co. –  the forefather of Kawasaki Motorcycle Co. Ltd..

Kawasaki Estrella
Year: 1999
Engine and transmission
Displacement: 249.00 ccm
Engine type: Single cylinder, four-stroke
Power: 17.00 HP (12.4 kW)) @ 6500 RPM
Torque: 15.5 ft.lbs @ 6000 RPM
Top speed: 75.2 mph
0-60 mph 13.9 seconds
37-87 mph 18.0 seconds
Compression: 9.0:1
Bore x stroke: 2.6 x 2.9 inches
Valves per cylinder: 2
Cooling system: Air
Gearbox: 5-speed
Transmission type,
final drive:
Fuel consumption: 78.07 mpg
Chassis, suspension, brakes, wheels
Front suspension travel: 120 mm (4.7 inches)
Rear suspension travel: 75 mm (3.0 inches)
Front tyre dimensions: 90/90-18
Rear tyre dimensions: 110/90-17
Front brakes: Single disc
Front brakes diameter: 300 mm (11.8 inches)
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc: 159.0 kg (350.5 pounds)
Front percentage of weight: 46.0
Seat height: 745 mm (29.3 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
Wheelbase: 1,400 mm (55.1 inches)
Fuel capacity: 14.00 litres (3.70 gallons)
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