Five classic strokers no.2: Kawasaki H1 Mach III-News & Reviews-Motorcycle…

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Kawasaki 500 H1 (Match III) Prototype

06 Aug 2013 | Ian Falloon looks at classics in motorcycling history Kawasaki’s H1 Mach III is number two

Ian Falloon

Five classic

Number 2: Kawasaki H1 Mach III

who’s ridden an H1 will the sensory onslaught it could with a twist of a wrist!

and high performance motorcycles are and the machine that created legend was the incredible two-… H1 Mach III. Introduced in 1968, the H1 was raw and untamed, with an power-to-weight ratio. The H1 may have flawed, with a reputation for handling, but in 1969 no other machine could match its performance.

Development of the H1 began in 1967 by a team headed by the engineer Yukio Otsuki. It was a new design, sharing little existing Kawasaki rotary-valve The three-cylinder engine totally the motorcycle, almost to the extent the frame and cycle parts secondary. With the cylinders 15 degrees, the in-line three-cylinder engine had dimensions of 60mm x giving 499cc.

Lubrication was by the Kawasaki ‘Injectolube’ with positive feed to the main bearings.

During much attention was paid to the central cylinder, and the outer fins were cropped on the side to provide extra for the middle. Producing high required a large port and this, coupled with the to maintain good cooling of the cylinder, resulted in a long Placing the ignition distributor on the and alternator on the left also engine width.

The ignition was one of the more important and the H1 was the first production street to feature a pointless electronic

The spark plugs were of a gap type, specifically designed to overheating and oiling in two-strokes. was by three Mikuni VM28SC and the bike produced 44.1kW at 8000rpm. For 1968 this was an figure, especially considering the weight of the motorcycle was a moderate

The power-to-weight ratio was unparalleled at the

While the three-cylinder engine was a force, the chassis and running needed more development. The frame just wasn’t up to the likewise the slender fork. A centre of gravity and a rearward-biased distribution didn’t help stability, and the brakes, too, a weak point.

But the H1 was intended to go, not stop, and this it did no other motorcycle of its day. of a standing 400m in around seconds and a top speed of 200km/h, all the had to do was refuel – regularly.

Over the few years the H1 was gradually softened. The went up and the power down, the end gained a disc brake, the increased and eventually the engine was mounted.

By 1976 the wicked 500cc of 1969 was a distant memory, by the slower, sanitary KH500. by a new era of superbikes, the Kawasaki triples considered thirsty dinosaurs, a raison d’être . But that has Today the air-cooled triples are for epitomising an era when Kawasaki to be innovative and different, and created and charismatic motorcycles.


Kawasaki 500 H1 (Match III) Prototype

• During the production H1 was developed as a Grand racer, the H1-R. The first racer offered by a major for 10 years, 40 H1-Rs were with six coming to Australia.

• In the 1970 500cc World New Zealander Ginger Molloy a private H1-R. He finished overall to Giacomo Agostini on the MV

• Kenny Blake rode a Ron H1-R to victory in the 1970 Unlimited, and retired from the 500 a broken chain while in the

• For 1971 the H1-R was updated, the H1-RA. The power went up to (80hp) and Molloy was timed at at Daytona. The H1-R never expectations in the US, over its two-year period winning only one road race.

• Ginger remained the H1-R’s most exponent, easily winning the Senior and Unlimited TTs at Calder in February, 1972. He also second in the 1972 Australian Unlimited TT at Bathurst, losing by 0.2 seconds.


The top five:

1. Bultaco 8 Metralla

2. Kawasaki H1 Mach III

4. Scott TT Replica

Kawasaki 500 H1 (Match III) Prototype


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