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There probably aren't many among us that DIDN'T want a Kawasaki Ninja when they were young. Back in the early-90s I wanted the lime green Ninja.
In fact, for many outside the motorcycle world the word Ninja is simply a pseudonym for all faring clad sports bikes, regardless of actual manufacturer.
But when and where did the ACTUAL Ninja come from? Let's rip open the history books and find out ...
Kawasaki GPZ900R (ZX900A or Ninja 900)
Released originally as a 1984 model (and continued all the way up until 2003 in some markets), the Kawasaki Ninja 900 slapped the entire motorcycle industry upside the face, knocking it's previously brass grill onto the showroom floor.
Develop in secret for more than six years, the astonishing bike featured:
-a 16-valve liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine
-908 cc motor developed 115hp that enabled it to become the first factory-produced bike that could exceed 240km/h
Revscene meet in the early-1980s
Perhaps as important as any technical feature, the bike was catapulted into pop culture by Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun (1986), who rode it in several scenes. Remember, back in the 1980s there was no YouTube, Twitter or Internet so product placement in movies was HUGE...
-three months after the bike was unveiled in December 1983, dealers entered three works GPZ900Rs into the Isle of Man Production TT ... taking first and second place!
-the GPZ900R was the Kawasaki bike to marketed in North America under the Ninja brand name.
-the GPZ1000RX was to be the replacement for the GPZ900R in 1986 ... instead Kawasaki sold the GPZ900R alongside the GPZ1000RX ... and in 1988 when the GPZ100RX was replaced by the ZX-10, still Kawasaki continued to sell the original Ninja... Not until the launch of the ZZ-R1100 in 1990 did the first Ninja lose its status as Kawasaki's flagship model. WIth only minor revisions, the original Ninja soldiered on in Europe until 1993, the US until 1996 and until 2003 in Japan.
When you look at the bike and imagine stripping away the farings, the bike is remarkably similar to many of today's bikes... genuinely showing how advanced the bike was for its time.
back in 1991, i bought a 1986 ninja 600. Was my first bike. Wasn't the best handling bike at low speeds, but still lots of fun. Rode half the summer on just my learner's license. Stupid me. Lucky i was never pulled over or was a problem.
I did my road test, figure 8's and salaam test with it too.
Anyone remember these ad's too? Sorry if i'm hijacking thread