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 Kawasaki - VN Sumo 2
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Kawasaki D2-492-12-04
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 1500
Model : VN Sumo 2
Production : 1985 - 1995
Category : (R) Street Bike


VN 1500 Sumo II - 1992

Too much muscle

Kawasaki's policy has often been "Biggest is best." The group responded to the 750 Honda of 1969 with a 900cc bike and matched its rival's CBX1000 with a 1300 six-cylinder. Finally, in 1987, Kawasaki raised the stakes in the world of customs with the first version of its Sumo 1500cc.

Might Makes Right

Often a tad slow in reacting to its competitors, Kawasaki only adopted the traditional V-Twin engine for its customs in 1985, with the 750 Vulcan. Yamaha had started the movement in 1981 with its XV 750, followed by a 1000 in 1982. Honda entered the ring the same year with a 750, joined in 1983 by an 1100. Suzuki inflicted the final insult on Kawasaki by introducing, in 1986, a 1400cc version of its VS 750 Intruder, which had appeared the previous year. Kawasaki just had to respond and in 1987, the 1500 Sumo clearly revealed the company's intentions by its name, taken from the Japanese heavyweight wrestlers to be the most monumental and imposing of all the customs.

Gentle Power of the Sumo

The Sumo was almost too imposing, with its swelling fuel tank and twin superimposed exhaust pipes. The second version was much more elegant," with spoked wheels and teardrop fuel tank emphasing the sheer size of the engine, which, even though water-cooled, still had cooling fins on its cylinders. With a massive torque of 12 mkg @ 2500 rpm, the Sumo gave its rider an impression of power well above nom1al.


Engine: 1470cc (103x90mm) water-cooled 50-degree V-Twin four-stroke

Power Rating: 72 hp @ 4500 rpm

Valves: Single overhead camshaft/8 valves

Fuel System: two 36mm carburetors

Transmission: 4-speed; shaft final drive

Suspension: telescopic fork (front); swinging fork with twin spring/dampers (rear)

Brakes: single disk (front & rear)

Wheels: 100-90 H 19 inch (front); 150-90 H 15 inch (rear)

Weight: 555 lb

The Kawasaki VN 1500 Sumo II just exudes immense power and presence.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

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François-Marie Dumas

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