Total Motorcycle’s interview with Kawasaki Motorcycle Canada:
by Andrea Le Pard and Mike Le Pard.
If there is anyone who can represent Kawasaki Canada’s interests best, it would be Glen Widle. Glen Widle is the owner of the number one exclusive Kawasaki dealership in all of Canada. Precision Kawasaki: (403)-347-5900 is located in Red Deer, Alberta.
We interviewed Glen Widle at the 2004 Calgary Motorcycle show on January 10th, 2004.
Glen informed us about Kawasaki’s official (and “secret”) hop-skip-jump 3 year program to put Kawasaki way ahead of the competition. The “plan” is designed not only to put Kawasaki where they want to be (on top) but also to shock-and-awe the consumer with models that they never thought possible! The plan started in 2003 (the “hop”) with the introduction of attention- grabbing motorcycles like the ZX6R and ZX6RR as well as the Vulcan 1600 Classic and 650cc ATV. The “skip” is 2004 with the introduction of the ZX10R and Vulcan 2000. These models take Kawasaki to new heights in performance and power. The “jump” will be the 2005 models and the introduction of (at least) a “beefed-up” Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 touring edition and changes to the Nomad 1500 model as well. Glen informed us that the Kawasaki Nomad 1500 hasn’t been changed since 1999 and is probably due for a makeover in the 2005 model year. Unfortunately, we don’t know what changes are to take place for the Nomad 1500, we just know that it is coming.
With the introduction of the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 in 2004, Kawasaki introduced the largest displacement V-Twin in the world. It shocked thousands, sold hundreds, and brought Kawasaki to where it wanted to be – on the top of the cruiser market.
With a “Bigger is Better” attitude, the Vulcan 2000 stepped up to the Harley-Davidson and cruiser market with a force. At 760 lbs and targeted to men, the Vulcan 2000 is position for larger riders that need a larger bike. With a newer update on their classic Vulcan they have already sold the entire 2004 production! There will only be 32 of these in Alberta since demand is greater in the USA. So if you are in the USA, except to see a lot of 2004 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000’s around! Lucky you! At the motorcycle show, the Vulcan 2000 was extremely popular, with a new rider “testing” it out every minute. It would easily seem Kawasaki hasn’t just hit a home run in the market, but they hit a Grand Slam!!
Kawasaki has been known for its powerful and fast motorcycles since the 1970’s. With a recent lapse in the title of fastest bikes being lost to Suzuki (GSX-R series) Kawasaki is back and intends not to have a lapse again.
That brings us to Kawasaki’s other hot ticket item, which is the all new 2004 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. The ZX10R is definitely in the super-sport category and Kawasaki is prepared to take on all manufacturers with it. Glen informed us that it is the only production motorcycle to have greater than 1:1 weight to horsepower ratio. For example, the new Yamaha R1 is only a 1:1 ratio. That will make head-to-head competition very interesting with the two top super-sport bikes. The ZX-10R was designed from the start to be very competitive, and it looks like Kawasaki has another winner on its hands.
No one would argue (maybe just the owners) that the 2003 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6RR was a disappointment. The Ninja ZX-6R 636 outperformed it and so did a lot of other super bikes. Safe to say, Kawasaki was a tad bit upset. Though customers shouldn’t be disappointed this year, becasue Kawasaki took the ZX-6RR back to the drawing board and tweaked it for performance. With advanced modifications to make it more competitive on the track where the ZX6RR was at home. For those who don’t know, RR typically stands for Race Ready (by the general public). Glen told us that the new 2004 ZX-6RR can be tuned even further to have even more horsepower and torque than the ZX6R. Only time will tell if Kawasaki beefed up the 2004 ZX-6RR enough.
The other big Kawasaki bike for this year is the Z750. Taking styling cues from its big brother, the Z1000, it is a sport standard with the emphasis on “sport”. Both the Z750 and Z1000 engines are from the Ninja line of super sport bikes so lack of performance won’t be a question. The Z1000 shocked the market when it was first released, and Kawasaki’s Z750 is aimed at riders with a couple of years experience who want a Z1000 but prefer the economical price of the Z750. The Z750 was designed to look like the Z1000, but it targets the rider who wants more sport riding and corner carving with its low weight, aggressive design and high power ratio. Glen mentioned that the Z750 is supposed to fill a gap in the Kawasaki lineup between their entry level bikes and their more advanced sport standards. We noted that Kawasaki already has a simular bike to the Z750 in it’s lineup, the ZR-7S. Both of the models are inline four cylinder engines with the sport standard approach. Kawasaki informed us that there are dramatic differences between the two bikes, and that the ZR-7S will not be discontinued or replaced by the Z750.
There is no question, Kawasaki is future driven. With a very positive outlook on the future and their solid hop-skip-jump plan in effect, we can’t wait to see what Kawasaki will be offering to motorcyclists in the near future. Whatever comes, we know it will be great.
As Kawasaki says… “Let the good times roll”…
Kawasaki also wins out very unique and special “Best free candies at the show” award. Their green apple flavoured candies were awesome!
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