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 Meguro - A1 K & Kawa Meguro
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Meguro D2-492-21-09
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 650
Model : A1 K & Kawa Meguro
Production : 1968 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


650 W1 - 1968

Japanese giant with an English accent

Up to the 1960s, Japan relied on copying the leading foreign marques. Kawasaki built its first motorcycle in 1951 and, ironically for a marque which became famous for its two-strokes, was the sole Japanese maker with serious four-stroke know-how. It had absorbed Meguro, which had specialized in this field since the 1930s. The first Kawasakis were simply rebadged Meguros with a very British 650 twin.

Japan's Biggest Bike

Meguro's first twin had been the 650 T1 of 1955, a sort of patchwork of various British designs of the period, though its engine dimensions of 72x80mm were less "long-stroke" than was normal in England. It developed 23.5 hp @ 5200 rpm, could reach over 80 mph, weighed 503 lb and was for a long time the biggest Japanese bike along with the Cabton 600 twin and Rikuo 750.

A Dominant Design

In 1960, Meguro launched its 500 Tl, with the same engine dimensions (66x72mm) as the Norton Dominator; it was more potent than the 650, with 33 hp @ 6000 rpm and was good for 90 mph. In 1956 the 650 gained a new engine inspired by the BSA A10. After the 650 appeared for the last time as a Meguro, the Kawasaki W1 launched a new look; it scarcely changed until 1968. It was offered in three versions, including a scrambler with a high-level exhaust. In 1971 these models were fitted with a cross-shaft to move the gear selector to the left and, from 1973, with a disc front brake.


Engine: 624cc (74x72.6mm) air-cooled twin-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 53 hp @ 7000 rpm

Valves: overhead

Fuel System: two carburetors

Transmission: 4-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork (rear)

Brakes: two-leading-shoe drum (front); drum (rear)

Wheels: wire; 3.25x19 inch (front); 4.00x18 inch (rear)

Weight: 440 lb

Maximumum Speed: 115 mph

Original Kawasaki W1s are highly sought after; the current vogue for nostalgia has recently persuaded the company to issue a replica!

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.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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