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Garage Find: 1971 Kawasaki MT1 Mini Trail

“Get’chur motor runnin’, head out on the highway… lookin’ for adventure, in whatever comes our way…” It’s almost as if Steppenwolf performed the song Born to Be Wild about this 1971 Kawasaki MT1 Mini Trail. Ok, that’s pushing it a bit, even for me. The seller has this wild ride posted here on craigslist in Wenatchee, Washington and they’re asking $2,350. Here is the original listing.

We have only seen one 1971 Kawasaki MT1 Mini Trail here on Barn Finds so they’re pretty rare to run across these days. They were quite a bit more powerful than Honda’s Z50 monkey bikes at 75-cc, so they are potentially fun to ride even for adults, or small adults. Although, I’m a tall guy and I don’t mind riding a small bike like this. A giveaway for a 1971 MT1 is the external spring forks, in 1972 they were changed to internal for a smoother look, but I like the look of the exposed springs.

Kawasaki made the MT1 from 1971 to 1975 before it was replaced by the KV75. The 1971 models, as seen here, were all lime green, or the gas tank and front fender should be. The fenders appear to have been repainted a dark green at some point which isn’t a bad thing, it matches great, in my opinion. And, maybe that’s a factory variation or something. From what I know, the front fender should be the same color as the gas tank and the rear fender is typically black. Replacement decals are available if the next owner wanted to restore it as there are a few chips in the tank.

This is one of many small motorcycles from this general era that were made to be transportable in the trunk of a car. The oil and gas tank vents can be closed and the handlebars can be folded down to make it easier to lift into a car trunk. Although, at 125 pounds, they aren’t exactly featherweights. The seller says that this is a one-owner bike and is in original condition, so maybe the fenders are factory painted?

This is one nice-looking motorcycle and famous race car driver Al Unser helped Kawasaki do a bit of marketing which is pretty fun. The engine is a Kawasaki 73-cc two-stroke single with 4 horsepower. It’s backed by an automatic transmission with a centrifugal clutch. The seller says that only the air filter has been changed from original and it’s priced above most market values, so hopefully the seller is willing to deal a bit. Have any of you owned a small Kawasaki motorcycle like this MT1?


  1. Howard A Member

    While the song reference is surely appreciated, this is about as opposite “Cap’n America” and his ’52 Panhead could get, but as different as the physical aspect may be, the motive is the same. It’s pretty much unique with motorcycles, monkey bike to HD chopper, it hits the same nerve. Once tasted, barring any catastrophe, it’s usually a lifelong obsession, and many started right here. For most, this was the 1st motorized 2 wheeler after our bicycles, and the 1st time we really got hurt, but t’was all in good fun. To think parents were irresponsible allowing their kids to have these, isn’t exactly true. We came from a time, when, if you messed up, ,,and lived, you probably wouldn’t do that again, and that was how you learned. Many have come full circle, and these save a lot of walking for old farts, and who knows given to the right kid, it could still lead to a future of biking. Great find.

    Like 9
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Well said, sir.

      Like 1
  2. DSteele

    Let the good times roll

    Like 1
  3. Tony B.

    I have one of these. This is the “Parnelli Jones” model. Would have also had a rear license plate frame that advertised it as such. Cool little machines.

    Like 5
  4. Wes Holliday

    All the good stuff is on the wrong coast !

    Like 2
  5. The Other Chris

    Someone call Cars n Cameras!

    Like 1
  6. Colin Smeltzer

    This is the first year MT-1, 1971, it was the “Parnelli Jones Dynomite”
    This one isnt bad but is lacking the factory “unobtanium” air filter canister and filter. I have 3…. it is a little over priced but really not a lot. This year is HIGHLY collectible. I have 2, 71’s, a 74, and probably another 2 or 3 in parts, besides a 71 A1SS Scrambler, a 78 KZ1000, and an 81 KZ750. all in various stages or restoration, or restomodation.
    Yes I have 2 wheeled Kawasaki issues.

    Like 11
  7. DLO

    Wow! Steppinwolf with a Kawasaki MT1. Now that’s a connection you don’t make every day. Thanks for the jolt. I spit my coffee and laughed my a** off.

    Like 2
  8. Mark Mitchell Member

    When I was 12 or 13, I entered a model building contest by Revell. The models were all motorcycles, and it was a nationwide contest. I wound up winning first in my age bracket, and the prize was one of these Kawasaki mini bikes. Unfortunately, when I went to pick it up, they were sold out. They substituted a much better Kawasaki 100 G5 Enduro like this: Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled to win a REAL motorcycle!

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Scotty, someone took your advise and got the motor runnin’.

    Like 1

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