The universal Japanese motorcycle was an awkward situation for the Japanese motorcycle industry to find itself in during the early eighties. All four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha) built motorcycles which were hard to distinguish from one another. They were all in-line DOHC fours with five-speed transmissions and twin-down tube, full cradle frames. Moreover, they all looked and sounded so similar they were collectively referred to as Universal Japanese Motorcycles.
Kawasaki decided to do something about this. What they came up with ultimately spawned the popular emergence of sportsbikes.
In addition to the flashy, bodywork, paint jobs and the all-black lower engine cases, which helped distinguish the original Kawasaki GPz from the rest of the pack, real attention was given to the motorcycle's handling capabilities. It's frame was heavily braced and the steering-head area gusseted. The original Kawasaki GPz also featured Bosch electronic fuel injection, drilled disc brakes and an engine oil cooled. The eight-valve engine was capable of propelling the 258 kilogram motorcycle through the 400 meters (quarter-mile) in 11.5 seconds at a speed of about 190km/h.
The Kawasaki GPz truly changed the way motorcycle look today. It was a amazing machine in it's time.