Kawasaki introduced the 3 Cylinder, 2-Stroke, 750cc MACH IV motorcycle in 1972 as a big brother to the 500cc MACH III they introduced in 1969.
Why not make a 750? – After all, that 500 MACH III was the fastest and quickest “production vehicle” you could buy in 1969 and 1970. No car or other motorcycle available for sale then could beat the 500 MACH III in the quarter mile. As other companies were trying to catch-up, Kawasaki released the 750 MACH IV in 1972 to make sure that the Kawasaki name stayed on top of the food chain through the quarter mile.
From their 1972 introduction to their 1975 final year, the MACH IV’s made a lot of history, legends, and the stuff of folklore. Almost everyone has a story about the mighty MACH IV’s (H2).
One of my favorite “period” articles is the Cycle Magazine 1973 Super Bike Shootout. This article included both the Kawasaki MACH IV 750cc and the brand-new Kawasaki 903cc Z1. Testing proved that the MACH IV was indeed the quickest motorcycle in the world in the quarter mile, around their race track, and in performance braking.
That performance came from a noisy, growling, and thirsty (23 mpg) 2-Stroke, Air-cooled 3 Cylinder engine built for business. Can’t believe the 750 MACH IV was quicker than the new 1973 Kawasaki Z1? Check the results in the attached Cycle Magazine link –
Cycle Magazine had this to say of the 1973 Kawasaki 750 – “The Mach IV is the quickest, most intense; most single-purpose street machine ever built for general consumption, a streaming, purple-eyed monster that does everything with a shriek and whose only God is performance. Lay at its feet the hottest production vehicle you can name—two wheeled or four—and the Mach IV will chuckle, snort, and then eat it alive!”
The same article reads “The Mach IV had the most willing and the most hysterical engine in the entire test. It is often difficult to wind a motorcycle’s engine up to 7000 or 8000 rpm and then gas it wide open and drop the clutch. It’s unnatural and it’s abusive, and it makes you cringe inside. But the Kawasaki engine rockets to 7500 rpm at the touch of the throttle; nick it and it comes at your throat with a cacophony of ringing fins and slapping pistons and horsepower unrestrained. The Mach IV demanded the most attention at the drag strip. It was also the most fun to ride, a wild and skittish bucking bronco with all the talent in the entire world and not one single ounce of condescension.”
Read it here –http://www.kawtriple.com/mraxl/articles/1973%20Superbikes/superbikes1.htm
This bike pictured is my 1975 MACH IV, the last one of eight Kawasaki 3 Cylinder MACH III/MACH IV’s that I restored between 2002 and 2009. I’ll be sharing restoration details in later articles, so be sure to visit again soon.
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