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In 1896 Shozo Kawasaki founded the firm that would become Kawasaki Heavy Industries. In 1907 Kawasaki began building railway rolling stock, in 1911 building their first railway locomotive. The group built ships and large civil engineering projects; bridges etc, but in 1918 an aircraft department was set up, producing its first aeroplane in 1922. Motor vehicles were produced from 1918 onwards, then from 1933 Rokkogo cars, trucks and buses were made. In 1937 the aircraft division became a separate company, building fighters for the Japanese air force. After postwar reorganisation Kawasaki took over the Meguro motorcycle firm, whose 500cc bike resembled a BMW A7. In 1961 the 125cc B8 bike was launched, followed by a range of 50cc to 250cc bikes, including the Samurai. 1966 saw the 650WI hit the market, and in 1969 the 500cc Kawasaki H1 Mach III three-cylinder two-stroke appeared. In 1973 the four-stroke dohc 900cc Z1 was the biggest bike, growing to 1000cc and followed by the KZ1300. In 1981 Eddie Lawson won the AMA Superbike championship on a Kawasaki. The air-cooled GPz550 is followed in 1983 by the liquid-cooled four-valve GPz900R 'Ninja'. In 1989 the 'ZXR' race replica bikes are launched. The 1052cc ram-air ZX-11 was launched in 1990, the fastest production bike in the world. In 2000 the top of the range ZX-12R was launched, followed by the ZX-10R. In 2008 the Concours tourer was given the 1352cc engine from the ZX-14.
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