A-SERIES 250/350 twins
In 1966 Kawasaki introduced the 250 A1 SAMURAI to the world. This 247cc two stroke was to become a best seller in the USA and help Kawasaki establish themselves as a maker of high performance motorcycles. It was followed the year after by a 350 version, the A7 350 AVENGER.The A-Series continued to fly the flag for Kawasaki until 1971 when the range was replaced by the S-series triples.
1966-1968 A1-250 Samurai
STARTING FRAME NUMBER: A1-00001
This was a 250 with a difference, it had two rotary disc valves, produced 31 BHP and had a claimed top speed of 103 MPH. At the time this was more than enough to keep up with most 500/650 four-stroke twins and the light 319 pounds weight ensured quicker acceleration times. It was available in candy red or blue with a two-tone black and white seat. The one-piece clocks were housed neatly in the top of the headlamp shell and drum brakes were used front and rear, the front being a twin leading shoe affair. It had two steering dampers fitted, one friction and the other hydraulic. An option of low or high handlebars was offered. The optional turn signals were fitted with a lens on each side of them, very strange!
The two-stroke oil was delivered to the cylinders by a system, which Kawasaki called 'SUPERLUBE'. The round fuel tank had two small badges on it and a rubber knee grip on each side while the front fender was made from stainless steel.
Kawasaki made quite a few differences to the Samurai for 1969. The tank, although offered in the same two colours, now had the 'KAWASAKI' badge painted on it and the rubber knee grips were dropped. The seat was now all black with a new shape being used, which Kawasaki called 'tuck and roll'. A separate speedo and tacho was used along with a different headlamp, shell and brackets. The rear shocks were now fully exposed chrome units. On American models Kawasaki fitted a CDI ignition system. The optional flashers were now the more normal traditional type.
1970 A1-A 250
STARTING FRAME NUMBER: A1-13519
Once again the shape of the tank was changed to a longer squarer shape. Only one colour was offered, Pearl Candy Red. The side panel and oil tank however was finished in silver. The seat was reshaped and now hinged on the frame instead of bolting on. The rear fender was changed from chrome to a sleeker stainless steel item and the chain guard was now finished in black instead of chrome. The tail light shape was changed to the same item that was fitted to the H1-500.
1971 A1-B 250
STARTING FRAME NUMBER: A1-17477
There were very few differences for 1971. Only one colour was offered, pearl white with decals styled similar to the H1A-500. The headlamp shell was now finished in chrome instead of black while the air box was now zinc plated. Kawasaki used the overall styling for most of their 1971 models giving the range a strong family resemblance.
1967 A7-350 Avenger
STARTING FRAME NUMBER: A7-00001
Just in case the 250 was not fast enough, Kawasaki thoughtfully provided a bigger brother for you, the A7 AVENGER. Capacity was up to 338cc and horsepower was up to 42 BHP. The oil injection system was beefed up and renamed to 'INJECTOLUBE'. The fuel tank was different to the 250 by using chrome panels on each side but using the same colours - red or blue. The seat was redesigned using a ribbed pattern with gold piping around it. The mufflers were different to the 250 items due to the use of a small reversed cone at the end of each pipe. Weight was up to 329 pounds, but top speed was now claimed to be between 110-115 mph with a quarter mile time of 13.8 seconds. This was seriously fast for the time.
Like the A1, the A7 continued until 1971 sharing all the same modification that the 250 Samurai did including a range of SS models. It was eventually replaced by the 350 S2 triple.
The colour option on the road bike stayed the same as the A1 but different colour decals were used in an effort to distinguish them apart.
STARTING FRAME NUMBER: A7-18653
STARTING FRAME NUMBER: A7-24200
STREET SCRAMBLER RANGE
North America was very fond of this type of bike, so Kawasaki produced an SS version of each model just for them. The only real differences were the use of braced moto-cross style handlebars, upswept crossover twin exhausts and a sump guard. Because of the exhaust, no side panel was fitted. A pastel yellow colour option was added to some of the models and some minor frame modifications were carried out. The exhaust on some 1971 models was finished in black instead of chrome.
1967-1968 A1R RACER
This was the racing version of the road bike and produced 43 BHP. Carburettor size was up to 26mm, compression up to 8:1 giving it a top speed of over 125 mph.