’67 Kawasaki A7 Avenger
The late 1960’s through, well, the 1980’s, brought the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers from building cheap ‘jap junk’ to total dominance of the motorcycle market. We can start with bikes like the Honda Dream, the Hawk, Suzuki’s X6, Yamaha’s R5, then Kawasaki hit the world with the H1. Power beyond anything on the market at the time. It didn’t handle worth a crap, brakes were Fred Flintstone quality at best…but damn fun to ride. The ’69 Honda CB750 did completely change the motorcycling world. It was everything that nobody else was making, style, power and reliability for a long ride.
Before the CB750 hit the market, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki were building high performance, light weight 2 strokes that were beating the American and British builders on the road and on the track. There is a lot of racing history we can delve into, but thats for one of the other blogs.
Those of us that were just hitting driving / riding age in the mid to late 60’s wanted the quickest, lightest and most fun motorcycle we could get. We had 250’s and 350’s that could keep up,if not outrun, the Bonnevilles and Sportsters of the day that we could choose from. Honda’s CB350 was good but was nothing more than a slice of white Wonder Bread, it did it’s job but it was the bike you had no problem leaving outside in the rain. The two strokes were where the real fun was.
The Kawasaki A7 Avenger took all the good parts of the 250 Samurai; quick, light and fun…pumped it up and smoothed it out a bit. Power came on earlier and a little less ‘light switch abrupt’, more torque and only ten pounds heavier. Even the brakes worked pretty well by standards of the day.
At this time Kawasaki was working on two thoughts. Do we pump up the 350 to a 500 twin (to compete with the Suzuki Titan) or do we really go for it? Two years later welcome in the H1 500cc Triple. That motorcycle, as exciting as it was didn’t stop the A7. Dollar for dollar, the A7 gave the rider more performance in almost every respect.
So, while cruising ebay this morning, I found a very nice A7 that can be had for a good price. It is a runner. I can see this as a perfect little cafe racer. Upgrade the tires, suspension, a set of clubmans maybe…I guess that’s about all I would do really. Well, there is one more thing. A friend of mine back in the 70’s had one of these. Jim Gaver. He was a really good rider, made custom fly fishing rods for a living. Last time I saw him we were riding up Angeles Crest Highway. I was riding a Honda CB750F, he had just bought a CB900F. We had breakfast at Newcombs Ranch. I continued up the mountain, he went back down. I hope that maybe I’ll see him again up the road sometime.
Anyway…Jim had an A7 and he showed me a neat little trick on his exhaust that I used on my Kawasaki H2. Pull the baffles out of the exhaust pipe cut about 4-5 inches off the internal baffle, re-wrap it, slip it back in and you have more low end power,and a smoother overall powerband with no extra noise. Cool huh. This ebay special could be a lot of fun for someone looking for a cool, you won’t see these everywhere motorcycle at a good price. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures