1972 Kawasaki H1 Cafe Racer for Sale

1972 Kawasaki H1 Cafe Racer R Front

Kawasaki’s 500 and 750 two-stroke triples are relics of a bygone, smokier era.  Two-stroke machines are all but extinct today, unless you count leafblowers, due to ever-tightening emissions laws.  But for a time, they ruled the streets, providing the masses with a cheap fix to slake their hunger for speed.  Until they wheelied over backwards or crashed into a hedge…

The H1 and H2 Kawasakis were the hot-rods of the bunch, with neither the road-holding finesse of Yamaha’s RD or the refinement of Suzuki’s GT, and their dangerous reputation has seen prices headed upwards in recent years.

1972 Kawasaki H1 Cafe Racer R Rear

This H1 500 has been lightly modified.  I’ve become very enamored of the fire-breathing two-stroke triples from Team Green, although the H1 and H2’s came from the factory with a pretty non-sporting riding position and unimpressive braking.  This particular example certainly solves the first of those problems, going for a full-on, stretched-over-the-tank style with “clubman” bars, which are basically like poor-man’s set of clip-ons and very stylish, although possibly uncomfortable.  In the quest for style, it also unfortunately loses the practical two-up seat and, with it, the ability to terrify a passenger.

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Kawasaki H1 500 Cafe Racer

I purchased the Kawasaki a year ago with worn out pistons and not running. The seller said the bike was professionally built by a shop in south Florida about 10 years ago. The frame was striped than and repainted during the build.  I do not have any of the original parts that came off the H1.

I replaced all three pistons (Wiseco) , cylinders, heads  and rings. The carbs were rebuilt and new floats were installed. I installed a solid state voltage regulator and new rectifier plus new brushes in the alternator and the charging system works better than when the bike was new. I changed the gear box fluid with Bel Ray  gear saver oil. The gear box shifts perfectly. Bar end mirrors are new. Six months ago I added a new battery. The master cylinder was replaced with a new one and it came with a spare piston and seals. After getting it running I found the right hand crankshaft seal was bad, I replaced with a new one. The original air filter box was replaced with chrome JBS performance filters. The chain was replaced with a new one.  All three sets of points and condensers were replaced. I added the Cat tail light. The fork seals were replaced two months ago.  The fuel filters and fuel lines are new.  Clutch has heavy duty springs and the disks are in perfect shape. The Kawasaki will start on the first or second kick even if it’s been sitting for extended periods of time. Inside of the gas tank has no rust. Overall condition of the bike is very good. It does have two small dents in the tank. The paint has chipped in a few places. I was going to repaint the tank and fenders, but I think the patina makes the bike look like it ridden, not a trailer queen.  The chambers are Bassani and are in perfect shape. WARRNING; When this bike hits 5000RPM’s, you better be holding on, it’s like getting shot out of a cannon.

1972 Kawasaki H1 Cafe Racer L Front

And you know what Hunter says about being shot out of a cannon: it’s “always better than being squeezed out of a tube…”

This one has some scuffs and rough spots, but looks pretty ready-to-rumble.  Some of these Kawi’s are starting to really go up in value, but the non-standard state of this one may keep prices low.  I realize that, in most cases, cafe-style is more about looks than anything else.  But I can’t help it: these bikes just look cool, low and mean.  The next bike on my list may be a Laverda or Guzzi but, right after that, there’s a Kawasaki out there with my name on it.  Probably scratched into the tank with a pen-knife by some high school kid in 1975…

-tad

1972 Kawasaki H1 Cafe Racer L Rear

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