1970 Kawasaki Other
Year of manufacture1970
Engine numberKAE 13242
1970 Kawasaki 498cc Mach III (H1)
Registration no. not registered
Frame no. KAF 14256
Engine no. KAE 13242
Iconic high-performance two-stroke
Recent full restoration
Imported from the USA
'A 500 that's so fast it has to be judged alongside 750s, then it beats most of them, can't help but addle the brains.'- Bike magazine.
From the Z1 to the ZX10R, Kawasaki has long enjoyed a reputation for building uncompromising - often outrageous - high performance motorcycles. However, the machine that started it all was not a four-cylinder four-stroke like the forgoing, but a two-stroke triple: the awesome, legendary Mach III. Light weight (382lbs) combined with a peaky 60bhp and indifferent handling made the two-stroke triple an exciting machine to ride but one that nevertheless had the legs of just about everything under 750cc when launched in September 1968. Kawasaki claimed a top speed of 118mph and a standing quarter-mile time of 12.4 seconds; with altered gearing it could be made to go even faster, one American journal achieving 124mph.
Kawasaki already had considerable experience of building high-performance two-strokes in the shape of its 250cc Samurai and 350cc Avenger twins, but for obvious reasons was forced to abandon their disc valve induction on the triple. Thus the latter was a conventional piston-ported affair, driving via an in-unit five-speed gearbox. This all-alloy unit went into a tubular steel cradle chassis boasting conventional suspension and a steering friction damper, the latter a wise provision. There were drum brakes at both ends: a 200mm twin-leading-shoe unit at the front and 180mm SLS at the rear.
The Mach III (H1) triple was regularly revised and updated, gaining a front disc brake, revised steering geometry and rubber engine mounts among other changes before production ceased in 1976, by which time the model had become the KH500.
This Kawasaki Mach III has recently undergone a no-expense-spared, 'ground upwards' restoration. The attention to detail is outstanding, making it possibly one of the best examples of this rare Kawasaki currently available. The bike was imported from the US this summer, specifically for this auction, and comes with a US title. All taxes have been paid and a NOVA declaration completed. An opportunity not to be missed!