B8 Models

B8 Models

Postby RB » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:56 am

Don't take this as gospel because I am in no way a B8 "Expert", however I suspect that the B8 was released in late 1962 as a plain old B8 with a single seat with back rack, there was an option of a dual seat (B8T?) and later in 1963 came the release of the B8M (Motorcross)The B8M was the first racing motorcycle to be built by Kawasaki and it was the first model to be sold as a production racing machine. Based on the 125cc B8 street bikes; it had an increased 12 horsepower and was coupled to a 4-speed gearbox. The success of the B8M began a legacy for Kawasaki racing performers.
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Two "off the shelf" colour combinations were available, Jet Black or Rocket Red, Maroon or Balboa Blue were available with a 3 Month waiting list. The B8T came in Maroon as standard.
As Kawasaki America was not yet set up the bikes were imported and rebadged as Omega to be sold by Ken Kay, Most Omegas were sold through mail order catalogs like Aldens of Chicago which also sold the Bridgestone 7 Surfrider. A year later, Hard work and a dream. That's what established American Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp. way back in March of 1966. The first headquarters, an old meat warehouse in Chicago, was a humble beginning for the factory team sent to open the U.S. market.

They started with practically nothing - no customers, no distributors and no image. But they had something more important - a strong desire to succeed and a promise from the factory to supply the best products.

The fledgling entrepreneurs negotiated with several private companies around the United States to distribute the first bikes, which were small two strokes sold under the brand name of Omega. But U.S. riders wanted more excitement, so the factory quickly responded with a pair of potent rotary valve twins called the Samurai and Avenger. Here was the first indication that Kawasaki would become a company specializing in high-performance fun.

These bikes were sold under the Kawasaki name -- and there was a second operation, Eastern Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp., to handle east coast distribution. In 1968, this firm and the original Chicago company merged to form Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) in Southern California."

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1965 Saw the capacity uprated to 150cc with the release of the B8S, these bikes were available in Black or Blue as standard colours with Rocket Red or Maroon being available with a 3 Month waiting list.
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Re: B8 Models

Postby RB » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:11 am

:o
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Re: B8 Models

Postby olde coney » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:40 am

I love the off roaders, and that B8 looks to have a very Honda 'style' tank...or maybe its just me :?
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Re: B8 Models

Postby Scouse » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:46 pm

Boffin In A Coffin
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Re: B8 Models

Postby RB » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:45 am

Scouse wrote:one for sale
http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C361688

Gary T

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27,000 Miles ? :o
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Re: B8 Models

Postby tommo » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:51 pm

The advertised bike isn't a B8...I'm pretty sure it's a B1.
I have a B8T but in need of spares, so if anyone knows of a tatty one in need of restoration, I'd be grateful to know...cheers

Steve
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Re: B8 Models

Postby H2Herman » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:11 pm

First production day B8 engine. The bike that goes with it was complete. Seat was missing but we got one from Classicjapan ( thanks again ). The bike has done 800 miles, which has been authenticed by the restorer as most certainly to be correct.

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Re: B8 Models

Postby akashiclassics » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:04 pm

That advertised bike is a B1L-A 125. Got one myself.

Jeff in Aussie
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Re: B8 Models

Postby tomv » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Hi Rick:

I just happened across this thread --- We had one of the B8M motocrossers back in 1965 - AKA the "Red tank" Kawasaki - we raced it at motocross tracks and hill climbs in Minnesota.
We also had an entiore "fleet" of the B8T's - we rented those out to college kids down in Albert Lea, MN. They weren't fast, but they would haul 2 kids. :D
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