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Kawasaki KR-1 1988



  • Kawasaki


  • KR-1


  • 1988

Engine details: 

2-Stroke, Crank Case Reed Valve, 2-Cylinder


40.5kW (55 PS) @ 10 500 r/min (rpm)

Max RPM: 


Transmission type: 


Frame type: 

Tubular, diamond

Cooling system: 




Engine type: 

Twin, two-stroke

Front brakes: 

Dual Disc

Rear brakes: 

Single disc

Dry weight: 


Overall height: 

1115 mm

Overall length: 

2 005mm and 1 945mm(South Africa)

Overall width: 

690 mm


Primary Kick


249 mL


36.8 N-m (3.75 kg-m, 27.1 ft-lb) @ 10 500 r/min (rpm)

Bore x stroke: 

56.0 x 50.6 mm

Valves per cylinder: 


Fuel system: 

Carburetors, Keihin PWK28 x 2



Color options: 

Red/Black, Green/White


Wet Multi Disc

Front suspension: 

Telescopic fork

Rear suspension: 

Swing arm (uni-trak)

Front tyre dimensions: 

100/70 R17 48H

Rear tyre dimensions: 

130/60 R18 60H


1365 mm

Fuel capacity: 

16.0 L

Reserve fuel capacity: 

2.00 L

Lubrication system: 

Superlube (oil injection)

Seat height: 

750 mm


Compression Ratio 7.4



Oil capacity: 

1.2 L (2-stroke oil)


12 V4 Ah

Front suspension travel: 

Telescopic fork 130mm

Rear suspension travel: 

Swing arm (uni-trak) 105mm

Ground clearance: 

125 mm


93 mm


Semi-Sealed Beam - 12 V 60/55 W (quarts-halogen) Bulb

Rake (fork angle): 

24.0° (Caster)

Fastest bike in the world in its 250cc class (RGV, TZR, NSR, RS250)

The Kawasaki KR-1 was let loose in 1988 and manufactured through to 1992. The bike was sold in Japan, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Mexico. It’s a rare sight to see one of these rice rockets on the road nowadays with less than 10 000 bikes ever produced. We believe the American market only saw grey imports due to strict emissions laws.

Even in Australia the KR struggled with the law. Australian delivered bikes had a 40/15 tooth sprocket ratio rather than the 41/14 seen on South African models. The reason for this was to accommodate ADR39(a) noise compliance. On a drive-by decibel test, lower revs meant less noise (Two Wheels, 1988, p. 51). This may have contributed to the differences in length as the South African B1 series were 1,945mm against their 2,005mm Australian counterpart. An even longer version was seen in Italy in the B2 series being 2,035mm.

When it came to speed the KR-1 was the best of the breed and dubbed the fastest bike in the world in its 250cc class (Performance Bikes Magazine). It dominated the Suzuki RGV, Yamaha TZR and Honda NSR 250 in the late 80’s to early 90’s.

The overall length of KR250-B1 increased when the KR250-B2 was released; presumably this was to increase stability. After 1989 the bike underwent a range of improvements seen in the KR1-S (C1, C2, and C3 models) and KR-1R (D1 and D2 models). These were Kawasaki’s answer to the rivalling TZR-SP, RGV-SP, and NSR-SP.

The models are all easily identifiable through their VIN/Frame Finish and Engine numbers. 

We’ve included the ranges below to help identify the bikes.

B1 models VIN/Frame Finish and Engine numbers 
1988 KR250-B1 with frame range from KR250B-000001 through KR250B-004000
1988 KR250-B1 with engine range from KR250BE000001through KR250BE003700
1988 KR250-B1 base service manual ID: 99924-1084-01

B2 models VIN/Frame Finish and Engine numbers
1989 KR250-B2 with frame range from JKAKRMB11KA004001 through JKAKRMB1XKA005623
1989 KR250-B2 with engine range from KR250BE003701 through KR250BE005805
1989 KR250-B2 base service manual ID: 99924-1084-01

C1/2/3 models including VIN/Frame Finish and Engine numbers
1990 KR250-C2 with frame range from KR250C-001001 through KR250C-006800
1990 KR250-C2 with engine range from KR250BE003701 to KR250BE
1990 KR250-C2 with base service manual 99924-1084-02
1990 KR250-C2 with base supplement service manual 99924-1135-51

D1/2 models including VIN/Frame Finish and Engine numbers
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