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Discussion Starter #1
The picture shows the most spectacular racing Kawa of the 80s.
Can you name the characteristics that set it apart from the rest?

Aris
 

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I really enjoyed researching this one Aris. :)

The motorcycle above is a 1981 KAWASAKI KR500.

http://www.motorsnippets.com/cars/goodwood/KAWASAKI_KR500.htm

What makes it unique is the monocoque frame design.

http://donchan3.omosiro.com/bike kr500.htm

What is really interesting is that Kawasaki in 2000 introduced the ZX12R which uses the same monocoque frame design.


Link source: http://www.sbo.co.za/kawasaki/2000kawasakizx12r_tech1.html

To read an interesting article regarding the frame design of the ZX12R go to this link: http://www.xs4all.nl/~zx11/zx12r/tests/silverbook.htm

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Andy, you got it right! These pictures of the Tamiya model are really good.
The monocoque frame design was really something back then :)
Mind you, it is the same principle with the current ZX12, but the KR frame is all hand made and the fuel tank is a part of it.
It wasn't Kawasaki's idea in the first place though, do you know where they got the idea from?

There are more characteristics that should be mentioned on that bike, regarding the engine, the brakes...(see something strange in the front brakes?), strange shape for the mudguard eh?

It was a great bike that almost made it against the competition, but actually never managed to win a race and then Kawa withdrew from GPs :(

Aris
 

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Aris,

You mentined the front brakes. I couldn't find anything on the unique design, other than the front disks were hand made at $1,000 each.

From what it looks like, there is some sort of torque brace on the caliper, similar to the ones you find on some rear disk calipers. Looks like they did away with it the following year along with the funky front fender.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Anti dive!

What you see behind the calipers is the linkage for a mechanical anti dive!
It worked as well, according to Alan Cathcart who tested the bike recently.
It is a mechanical linkage which is loaded when braking and thus not allowing the fork to dive a lot. Like that the springs in the forks are much softer than they would have to be if they had to take care of front end dive during braking, and could be adjusted to suit the track and rider more easily.
Of course this bike' wheelbase is very long compared to modern standards (it was longer than all the others back then as well!) and there wasn't so much weight transfer anyway.
The strange looking fender was designed to guide the fresh air to the radiator, while also hiding the anti dive linkage from competition eyes ;)
Actually the first time it was introduced, it didn't have these side openings and there was a protest by Kenny Roberts about it not complying to the FIM regulations about front wheel coverage!

Aris
 
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