The Story of the LonesomeTwin™
In 1975 Kawasaki saw a potential opening to steal another sector from the then British dominated motorcycle market which was speedily in decline. They saw Triumph struggling and spotted the reality of the much loved Triumph Bonneville dropping out of the market so they developed a 750 twin which was bigger than it’s only other already established rival, Yamaha’s XS650 and in 1976 Kawasaki’s 750 B1 was launched.
It was quite swiftly followed by the B2 in 1977. Changes were minimal and mainly kept to a change of colours and pin stripping. The B3 was launched in 1978 and did have quite a few more major modifications. Single phase charging was introduced along with a combined regulator/rectifier unit. A few other cosmetic changes were also made including colours and pin stripping. In 1979 the B4 was introduced. Again, like the B2, very similar to it’s predecessor the changes were not massively apparent. It was bending towards the American market and was modified to comply with their regulations. Manufacturing then moved to the USA and aimed at their market and the G1 LTD II was developed and launched. Cast wheels were now fitted with the rear being 16″ and fitted with drum brake instead of the 18″ disc brake of the ‘B’ series. The style had changed from the ‘B’ tourer to a tourer/cruiser style. 1981 proved to be a quiet year for the 750 twin with no new models on offer. Was this the end of the 750 twin?
Indeed it was not. Behind the scenes our Japanese friends had been beavering away again and 1982 saw the launch of 3 more models. The M1 CSR (Chrome Spoked Rims), The S1 LTD and the Y1 LTD. These 3 models were full cruiser style now and between them incorporated various upgrades such as electronic ignition, self cancelling indicators and lighter alloy rimmed spoked wheels to name a few. 1983 saw another ‘big’ development. The K1 LTD belt drive was launched along with the S2 LTD and the Y2 LTD, the latter 2 being variants of their predecessors. 1984 saw the launch of the K2 which turned out to be the final model of 750 twin that Kawasaki would produce.
So finally after 8 persistent years and 12 hardly market busting models Kawasaki decided to pull the plug on the 750 twin. No longer would their throbbing, vibrating burbling twins grace showrooms around the world and wake people up at 7.00 am on that Sunday morning bimble. The ones that did sell had virtually no value on the second hand market so those that had been bought were put out to graze. Many were just left to rot in gardens but a lucky few were covered up at the back of the garage and used as incubators for spiders. As the years rolled by technology boomed and the motorcycle industry moved forward in leaps and bounds with V-twins, 6 cylinder and the one litre engine capacity being created. With a mere 750cc so ‘yesterday’ our twins were lost and forgotten and became motorcycle dinosaurs.
Then along came the ‘Born Again’ biker. He mainly did one of two things. He either went out and bought himself a shiny new ‘Plastic Rocket’ with a matching colour co-ordinated power ranger outfit or he wanted a blast from the past and another go on the one he rode back in the day. The later was typically British with his stiff upper lip, brief case, bowler hat and umbrella and had always been around trying to rediscover his identity. I was a biker. I’m a biker. I want another bike. The old British bike market was very limited in supply and very expensive for a retired pauper so in the words of ‘The Vapours’ he was forced into ‘Turning Japanese’. Restoration started on the Japanese iconic machines. Z900’s. KH250, 350, 500, 750’s. XS 650. RD250, 350, 400’s. CB750. Goldwings. GT250, 380, 550, 750 Kettles (to name a few) started to reappear on our streets. Then came the wave of Z650. FS1E. and a few more. All this whilst our 750 twins remained in hibernation. So now ‘they’ have all been done. Anyone who is anyone will have one, some or all of these models in their collection. So what now? Pound to a pinch they ain’t got a Kawasaki 750 twin.
Now it’s our turn to shine. The few of us (very few) who still had a 750 twin were still plodding around on the unpopular machines they had reliably owned and ridden for 30+ years completely undetected. They just sat and grinned as they were overtaken by Power Rangers flying around to save the world on Sunny Sunday mornings. We do have one member, Chrislwg who bought his bike NEW back in 1976. He still uses it regularly and soon will reach the iconic figure of 100,000 miles. Respect to you Chrislwg for your faith. Here’s to many more happy years of riding sir.
Main dealers are closing down on our high streets faster than a 750 twin on full throttle. As their old shops are emptied buyers are finding strange unidentified objects in the far extremities of the attic and depths of the cellar. This is the source of many NOS spares hitting Fleabay. Demand is not high (yet) so they shouldn’t run out too soon. Availability of aftermarket spares is also on the up. There is also a big increase in imports coming to the UK, mainly from the USA as they spring clean their garages and get ready to barbeque an Ox for lunch. Prices are rising at quite a pace and there has never been a better time to get ‘your’ 750 twin out, blow off the cobwebs and give her a wash. Then give her a lot of TLC that she is so long overdue. Paint her. Polish her. Oil her. Grease her. Get her back on the road and get out riding again. That once forgotten grin will instantly reappear on your revived smug face.
I hope to see you all out on the road someday soon. Until then . . . LONG LIVE THE LONESOME TWIN!!!
©KK & Lonesome 2017