Classic Bikes / Kawasaki A1 Samurai

Kawasaki A1 Samurai

The Kawasaki A1 Samurai was a hugely popular motorcycle in the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially in the United States. Although sold only between 1967 and 1971, the A1 Samurai played an important role in the future success of the Japanese high performance motorcycle company.

Kawasaki A1 Samurai Production History

Two years after taking over the Meguro motorcycle company (in 1963), Kawasaki introduced the W series which was very similar to the British vertical-twin motorcycles. However, the W series wasn’t as successful as expected and Kawasaki developers soon realised that they need to make a bike which will be able to compete with better steering and lighter yet faster rival motorcycles. The Japanese bike maker almost immediately started developing a new motorcycle and in 1967, Kawasaki unveiled the A1 Samurai that was made for foreign markets, most notably the United States. The lighter, faster and better steering motorcycle was a major success and Kawasaki soon introduced more powerful A7 Avenger which was also sold from 1967 to including 1971.

Dating and Serial Numbers

Although produced only four years, Kawasaki A1 Samurai’s appearance changed quite substantially from 1967 when it was launched until 1971 when the production ceased. And these changes can be used to determine the production date at a first glance. Listed below are the main changes according to years of production:

Kawasaki A1 Samurai Vs A7 Avenger

The Kawasaki A1 Samurai and A7 Avenger looked very alike but there was one major difference between the two bikes – the engine. While the A1 Samurai had 250cc engine, the A7 Avenger came with a twin-cylinder, two-stroke, dual rotary valve, oil injected 350cc engine.