Another in a long line of racing bikes, the Kawasaki KR-1S blows other superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters clean out of the water. If you find yourself lining up for a race beside of these bad boys, just give up. You’ve already lost.
An Accidental Racer
Kawasaki had been creating racing bikes since 1969 through a process of design and engineering that this mega manufacturer had well under control. That said, you might expect the famous racing classic KR-1 to have been designed for racing. You would be wrong.
Unlike many of Kawasaki’s other models, the KR-1 was not based on the design of a previous racing bike. Rather, it was based on drawings intended for construction as a sleek, modernized road-running, high-performance commercial model. The KR-1S was the consequence of this bike’s natural evolution.
Designed for Commerce, Destined for Competition
Despite the fact that the KR-1 was initially intended for standard road usage, albeit with incredible performance potential, in production it quickly proved to have a mind of its own. Designers and engineers soon found themselves christening the KR-1S supersport.
Both the KR-1 and the KR-1S were two-stroke supersports meant for paved on-road driving. The KR-1S, however, was built with many qualities that were first introduced to the series in the KR-1, but the bike was simply more optimized for speed and competition.
A Timeless Model
In the KR-series there are other models, but there is only one generation of the KR-1S. It followed the less-powerful KR-1 and preceded the powerful, yet different, KR-1R C and D series.
- Kawasaki KR-1S (1988-1992)
The engine used in the construction of the KR-1S was a two-stroke, parallel twin-cylinder, electronic engine with a variable exhaust and a 249cc displacement. The KR-1S sported a nice 59.1 horsepower and was capable of hitting speeds of 135 miles per hour.
This high-octane “consumer supersport” (really, who does Kawasaki think it’s kidding?) had a standing quarter mile time of only 12.9 seconds at a speed of 108 miles per hour.
The KR-1S in the News
On January 17, 2019, Motorcycle News published an article on the KR-1S in which the author’s “revisited” the masterclass racing machine that dominated the 1990s
Fifteen Seconds of Fame? Not One
The Kawasaki KR-1S might have come to be known as the pinnacle of motorcycle technology for the 1990s, but Hollywood never picked it up for use in any films. The KR 150, however, was everywhere.
Typically, when a motorcycle has only a few film and TV credits, that’s emblematic of a weak pop-culture following, making it incredibly difficult to find robust and well-rounded social groups for the motorcycle. Fortunately, that’s not the case for the KR-1S!
The Kawasaki KR-1S – a Missed Opportunity
If you haven’t yet ridden a Kawasaki KR-1S, what are you waiting for? This superbike, which Kawsaki for whatever reason believes isn’t a racing bike but just a casual riding motorcycle, is an all-around wonder of design. Unfortunately, they’re out of production today, but that just makes them all the more valuable.