Kawasaki is the company of cutting-edge motor technology and angular, aggressive styling, right? Yeah, that’s true, but Team Green is also unafraid to look back at the past. Here in Canada, that means the W800 (see Bert’s review here).
In Asia, Kawasaki offers a lot more than that! Depending which country you’re in, Kawi has some super-cool retro-styled machines available, well under that 800 cc mark. And Kawi introduced two new options at the show circuit earlier this year. In 2024, Japanese customers get the Meguro S1 and the W230.
The Meguro is a throwback to the OG marque that Kawasaki absorbed into itself, after partnering early-on. Meguro was one of the companies responsible for kickstarting the post-war motorcycle industry. While the S1 doesn’t actually have a kickstarter itself, it otherwise makes a convincing replica of a vintage Japanese motorcycle. Lots of chrome, a set of gaiters on a telescopic fork, steel fenders, rubber kneepads on the tank, all-road tires with lots of tread, a wide handlebar, upright seating position—all stuff that made the original Japanese bikes successful. We don’t know the Meguro’s horsepower rating, but since it’s powered by a lightweight air-cooled OHC single-cylinder engine in the 250ish range, we wouldn’t expect much.
Will the Meguro S1 come to Canada? Almost assuredly not, more’s the pity. And do not get your hopes up for the W230 either. This is a slightly less blinged-up take on the same formula, with more paint and less chrome. The engine is supposed to be the same as used in the KLX230 dual-sport. But if we ever get a chance to get our hands on one of these machines and ride them, rest assured that we will. The “secret bikes of Japan” have held CMG writers’ curiosity ever since we first saw our glimpses of such machines in the tattered pages of old bike magazines, and we’d love to tell you about them if we ever get that chance!