Kawasaki H1R 500
Kawasaki’s first racing triple
It’s always nice to be able to photograph an example of the very first version of a legendary model.
Kawaski introduced the first of their racing triples with the 1970 H1R 500. The motor was based quite closely on the H1 road bike (introduced the year before), differing in having a dry clutch, larger carburettors, modified port timing, a higher compression ratio and a close-ratio gearbox.
A new dual-loop frame was used, together with a large Kawasaki front drum brake. The ‘cross-over’ header pipe is unique to the H1R. Output was 75hp with a dry weight of 130kg. Top speed was 250km/h.
Some 35 were constructed. Ginger Molloy finished 2nd to Agostini for the 1970 season with four second places, while long time Kawasaki campaigner (and 1969 125cc Championship winner) Dave Simmonds gave the marque its first 500cc victory in the final race of the 1971 season – the Spanish GP.
This bike was imported in 1970 by the French Kawasaki importer SIDEMM, with riders including D. Ravel, R. Guili and J.B. Peyré. The tank and seat are in original condition, while the fairing has been replaced.
The forks and brakes are also original. The electronic ignition is from the ’71 H1RA model. The extra crankshaft and barrels are NOS.
Photographed in northern France in 2016.