Making Fast Faster – Kawasaki H1R Tribute Build

In Japan, Sport by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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When Kawasaki first debuted the H1 500 Mach III, it was easily the fastest half-liter production bike in the world. The next year, the labcoats at Team Green cranked the potent triple up a few notches with the release of the factory race-version of the two-stroke three-banger, known as the “H1R”.

The H1R saw the already powerful triple receive larger porting and higher compression, as well as a dry clutch and some seriously trick expansion chamber pipes, together resulting in a supposed 75hp at 9,000rpm. The racer’s 286lb weight enabled it to reach a top speed north of 150 mph. The chassis of the R-spec was a completely different design than that of the production 500, with the massaged engine squeezed into a full double cradle tube frame, which I can only imagine, unlike the street bike’s frame, was far more adequate when it came to handling the mill’s power.

Here we have a well put together H1R “tribute”, seemingly built around an early ‘70s H1 Mach III 500. Like the factory racer, this example has a race-ported engine, plus the owner added a set of 34mm Mikunis. There’s also Lockheed disc brakes (though the R ran massive drums) held via custom brackets. Part of what makes this build really shine is its custom frame. Not simply a modified version of the factory chassis, this tribute build features a full one-off frame built from scratch, plus a custom steel box section swing-arm.

Other highlights on the build include fiberglass replica bodywork, beautiful one-off rear-sets, the obligatory badass set of expansion chamber pipes, and a custom triple tree with one of the coolest one-off top clamps I’ve seen in a while. And obviously no Kawasaki racer tribute would be compete without the classic Kawi Green livery. According to the seller; this build is kosher to compete in vintage race events too, and has supposedly achieved podium finishes since being completed in 2015.

With genuine H1R examples fetching exorbitant amounts — earlier this year a 1970 specimen fetched almost $40K at Mecum’s Vegas sale — it’s always cool to see someone go out and build the dream machine they can’t afford. The sale of this build also includes a full frame off a ‘72 H1 500 street bike, which is where I imagine this build’s engine came from. Either way, I really admire this one.

You can find this 500cc two-stroke Kawasaki H1R tribute for sale here on Craigslist in Scotts Valley, California with a price of $8,500 or best offer.

This bike-uriousity brought to you by Frank S!

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