1st Year: 1962 Kawasaki 125 B8

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This is a holy grail bike for you collectors of vintage Japanese motorcycles. It’s a 1962 Kawasaki 125 B8, the first Kawasaki made exclusively with Kawasaki parts. The company made its fortune in the aircraft industry and that expertise was tapped to produce motorcycles. This one is listed on eBay with a $2,800 Buy It Now price and it’s located in Schenectady, New York. There are over six days left to figure out if you can swing adding another vintage bike to your collection or not. This one is tempting.

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The photos aren’t too good on this one, but it’s such a rare bike that I couldn’t resist showing it. We usually don’t highlight vehicles with “models” showing them. Why the gentleman didn’t just put this Kawasaki on the kickstand and take photos is beyond me, he’s in literally every photo. These are most likely screen-grabs from the video that they shot. Speaking of that, here’s a YouTube video showing our friend starting and riding this B8. Just remember the old saying, “If it ain’t smokin’, it’s broken!” I love two-stroke engines. Parts won’t be easy to come by and you can see that the left-rear signal light lens is missing. Luckily, there are a pair of hands showing a set of replacement lenses and some other parts so all you have left to do is plan your restoration timeline. Oddly enough, there is an eBay seller offering turn signals in case the restorer would rather go that route. This one has a new battery and also comes with “bragging rights”.

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This maroon color is one of four offered for the B8, with black, blue, and red being the others. I can imagine that like most vehicles, black would be the most valuable color to have. The Kawasaki B8 was made from 1962 to 1965 and it was based on the Meihatsu B7 which used engines made by Kawasaki. Speaking of engines, the B8 was powered by a 125 CC, two-stroke, single-cylinder that put out 11 hp. This isn’t something that you’ll jump on and ride to Sturgis, but you already know that. There was no Sturgis in Japan and these were made just for normal riding duties, not long-distance touring. My days of riding multi-thousands of miles on a motorcycle are over and all I’d ever want, or need, is something to ride around town, or maybe within 2-3 hours from home on a nice, uncrowded, scenic highway. This one would work just fine for that.

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There’s our friend, again, holding this bike up, again. This Kawasaki B8 was imported in 1962 directly from Japan by a Navy Officer. They are a rare sight in the US and are considered one of the must-have bikes due to their status as the first fully-Kawasaki-Kawasaki. And, 1962 being the first year that they were produced, I can imagine that there may be an offer on this one. A totally restored B8 was offered on eBay in 2013 with an asking price of $3,000 and the bid only got up to $887 so maybe I’m wrong on there being any interest in this one? It sure interests me! Is anyone else interested in these vintage Japanese motorcycles?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    This is just nuts. I mean, look at it and where Kawasaki went. I have a 1966 Suzuki 80, and the styling is very similar. I’d have no use for this, it’s neat someone thought enough to keep it. Parts may be an issue. I’ve had nightmares ( and crazy successes) trying to find vintage Asian bike parts. Kawasaki (and others) kept this style through the 60’s, and in the early ’70’s, what an about face. Look at the difference. The Z-1 is my favorite bike. http://archive.classic-motorbikes.net/images/gallery/z1.jpg

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  2. Greg A Yancey

    I had a 1964 Yamaha YA-6 125cc in high school back in the day…it is pretty amazing how all the Japanese bikes from that era seem to share the same bloodlines….this is not a rotary valve like the Yamaha but the lines are strikingly similar.

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  3. Bobsmyuncle

    2-3 hours on a two stroke? Yikes!

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    • Scotty Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha! I’ve done it on a Yamaha 100 Twinjet, it can be done! Plus, no mosquitoes ..(smoke screen)

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      • geomechs

        I read a story in Cycle or Cycle World back in the late 60s about a guy taking his Twin Jet 100 on a lengthy trip across country. It seems to me that he put about 4K miles on it at the time. I thought that a 3K mile trip on a BSA 500 single was really optimistic at that time.

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      • Scotty Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        On two-lane roads, maybe? There are scooter and moped clubs that have meets in other states, I have no clue how they get there but they do. It sure would be the long way.. The YL-1 is pretty smooth with those tiny twin-cylinders.

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      • Howard A Member

        Probably in the back of a pickup truck 🙂

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  4. cyclemikey

    Geez, some real adventurers here, huh?

    Three years ago in summer 2013 I rode an old Honda Elite scooter across the country from Cleveland to the Oregon coast, just for the hell of it. It was a fun and memorable trip. No problems, just took the old US highways. A LOT more interesting than droning along on the interstates. Does it take a bit longer? Of course. But if “making time” is your primary interest, then vintage cars and bikes are not really your thing anyway.

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    • Scotty Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      That’s what I’m talkin’ about; well done, sir!
      That’s a dream of mine, maybe on the Motocompo with my knees in my chin for 8 hours a day. Sometimes it’s nice to take your time and experience life at a slower, more intimate pace.

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      • cyclemikey

        Do it, Scotty! It’s a fantastic way to see the real America. Although, I don’t know about the Motocompo; that’s really taking it to the next level. If you tour the country on that, you definitely have bigger balls than I.

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    • Norbert Storcz

      Wow, must have been some adventure. I have thought of doing a trip like that, thanks for the inspiration.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Cyclemikey, you’re braver than I thought. I agree, I spent my life barreling down the interstate, and I would do the same routes you did, except a Triumph Trident would be more in order for me.

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  5. stillrunners

    cool that it’s survived……

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  6. stillrunners

    Oh and the sound of a twin jet 90 or 100 coming sent chills down those pesky S90 owners….

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  7. Peter

    Interesting find (especially the aircraft lineage, which I now feel compelled to look up), but OMG–enough with the “Caribbean Santa/Steel Drums” Muzak already!

    I want to hear the ENGINE, transmission, clutch-engagement, squeaky brakes, etc…, not some HORRIBLE, elevator Muzak….

    Why is it that SO many people, with something mechanically-cool to share, on Youtube, think a SOUNDTRACK is necessary? And then, they think that this muzak will help SELL the piece? C’mon!

    To Future Youtubers: More air (in the rear tire) and no muzak, please.

    Did I mention I found the muz-ak distracting? Makes me cringe, in embarrassment (for them)…almost enough to make my flesh crawl….

    Okay…and maybe (*sigh* IF the MUST)…more cowbell….

    Who, among us, thinks I should attempt to post my comment on the Seller’s youtube video? J/K…NOT…. LOL

    /rant over

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  8. Jimmy Jo

    I scrounged up 4 B8’s about 20 years ago. They’re around. Not very popular. The rotary valved J1 (81.5 cc) was faster.
    I like ’em though. Used to work in a Kawi shop back in the day.
    Sold the ones I had to a rehab that had started a resto program.

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  9. chad

    2-stroke:
    no 1 would follow me too close on the H-1 or H-2 (“triples”) that replaced it (splatter) but at 500 and 900 cc no 1 could! Still have the ’78 KZ 750 but 4 stroke & 2 cylinder. Wanna buy?

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