Hard working and hard playing, Kawasaki family of ATVs is so widely used for so many different tasks that it is hard to imagine a world without them. Our first ATV was the three-wheeled KLT200, which debuted in 1981. It was an instant success and paved the way for a wide range of recreational and utility ATVs.
Today, Kawasaki's ATV line-up has a machine for every use, from rugged workhorses like the Prairie 650 4x4 model to high-performance sports machines like the new KFX700 V Force™ ATV.
As all these dependable machines prove, Kawasaki keeps the good times rolling on four wheels as well as two.
MORE THAN JUST ANOTHER 3-WHEELER
Kawasaki released its first ATV into a market predominately filled with 70cc and 90cc models. Compared to the lightweight recreational models of competitive manufacturers, the KLT200's advanced features allowed it to be used for light utility purposes as well as off-road fun.
At 198 cm3 the KLT200 was the largest displacement ATV on the market and the first to feature the convenience of electric starting, the superior control of a rugged manual clutch, and the latest innovation in 3-wheelers: dual-mode differential. The combination of the torquey 4-stroke engine with 5-speed transmission, a lightweight chassis and big balloon tyres allowed this 3-wheeler to go places few other vehicles could. Low-maintenance features included an enclosed drive chain and an automatic cam-chain tensioner.
The KLT250 was a performance-oriented 3-wheeler was powered by a responsive 246 cm3 SOHC engine. The sturdy leading bottom link front suspension gave a natural anti-dive effect during braking, contributing to a stable, comfortable ride. Other features included electric starting, a standard trailer hitch and a 12-volt electrical system with auxiliary accessory terminals.
AHEAD OF ITS TIME
Hunters were among the first to exploit the go-anywhere capability of the ATV. The Duckster, with its camouflage graphics, blended in with the surrounding environment and proved a reliable companion to backwoods sportsmen. The quiet 4-stroke engine and special high-traction balloon tyres perfectly suited the rugged terrain in which the Duckster often operated.
Sales of the upgraded KLT200 commenced. An electric fuel pump, a new carburettor and a complete re-styling were just some of the improvements featured.
HARD WORKING & HARD PLAYING
The Prarie 250 was the first Kawasaki ATV to bear the now famous Prairie name. This hard-working hard-playing ATV featured a displacement of 249 cm3, higher compression and a wide-ratio 5-speed transmission mated to a dual-mode quick-change differential. Convenient features included theft-resistant key ignition, fused accessory terminals, radial tyres, and front and rear cargo racks.
RIGHT-SIZED FOR FAMILY FUN
It wasn't long before older teen riders were demanding an ATV of their own, and the lightweight KLT110 was the result. Easy heel-and-toe shifting and a convenient neutral indicator made it the perfect ATV for beginning riders. An especially welcome feature for new riders was the dual-control rear brake, which could be operated from either the brake pedal or the left-hand lever.
OFF-ROAD HIGH PERFORMANCE!
The Tecate name recalled the rugged terrain of Baja, and this machine had the performance to match. High-tech features included a liquid-cooled 249 cm3 2-stroke engine, a large-capacity fuel tank, powerful front and rear disc brakes, and lightweight aluminium wheels mounting computer-designed tyres.
Parks and beaches were safer after the Police 250 (KLT250-P) debuted. The special police model was based on the popular Prairie 250 ATV.
The KLT160 off-road fun machine made its debut. Compact and lightweight, it was an ATV the family could enjoy.
THE 4-WHEELED DIRT BIKE
The first ATV in the now famous Bayou series, the Bayou 185 featured a four-wheel design, highly reliable shaft drive, a convenient reverse gear and smooth-riding independent front suspension. Powered by a single-cylinder SOHC engine, it had plenty of low-rpm torque for exploring out-of-the-way places.
Sales of the KLT185 began. Shaft drive, a reverse gear and an automatic compression release were only some of its advanced features.
An upgraded version of the Tecate ATV arrived. It was loaded with technology from KX motocrossers.
Called "the strongest 4-wheeler in the field," the Bayou 300's torquey 290 cm3 engine, the largest displacement on the market at the time, had plenty of power for hauling loads. A dual-mode differential let riders choose between maximum traction and increased manoeuvrability. Other features included a reverse gear, independent front suspension, hydraulic front brakes and a handy storage compartment.
Sales of the 4-wheeled Mojave 110/110E ATV commenced. Light weight, responsive power and a smooth ride made them big hits with riders of all ages.
4-WHEELED MX RACER
The Tecate 4 arrived as a high-performance sports ATV was powered by a liquid-cooled 249 cm3 2-stroke engine equipped with KIPS . Mounted in a lightweight, sturdy chassis running long-travel front and rear suspension, triple disc brakes and an aluminium swingarm, the Tecate 4 performed like a 4-wheeled motocross bike.
Named after the rugged desert in Southern California, Mojave 250 was a sport model ATV was powered by a high-performance, DOHC, 4-valve engine with liquid cooling. Long-travel swingarm rear suspension, double wishbone independent front suspension and triple disc brakes gave it the highest performing chassis in its category.
HARD WORKING & LONG SELLING
Offering advanced features like shaft drive, an automatic clutch, a reverse gear and independent front suspension, the Bayou 220 was the hardest working utility
The first ATV with 4WD, the Bayou 300 4x4, from Kawasaki was strong enough to tackle the toughest terrain. Its 290 cm3 engine was able to deliver huge power on the 4-wheel drive with a 5-speed transmission with high and low ranges. It also had a front differential with limited-slip, a front and back drive shaft, reverse, heavy duty luggage rack and an electrical outlet. All these features made this rugged ATV the "perfect tool for farmers or any other areas requiring performance to achieve difficult tasks.
BIGGER IS BETTER
"Tomorrow's worker today" was the catch phrase for this hard-working and hard-playing ATV. Widely used for both work and recreation, the Bayou 400 4x4, with its liquid-cooled 391 cm3 engine, was the largest displacement ATV on the market. Other advanced features included a 4-valve cylinder head and full-time 4WD.
UTILITY & RECREATION
Gutsy power from a 290 cm3 single-cylinder engine, a 5-speed transmission with dual automatic clutches and triple disc brakes made the Lakota™ 300 the most agile sport-utility ATV on the market. Sturdy front and rear cargo racks had plenty of carrying capacity for workloads or recreational gear.
THE FIRST AUTOMATIC ATV
The Prairie 400 becomes the first adult-sized, fully automatic ATV offered by a Japanese manufacturer, the 391 cm3 Prairie featured many U.S.-sourced components. The all-new Kawasaki Automatic Power-Drive System (KAPS), limited-slip front differential, MacPherson strut front suspension, and dual front disc brakes were only some of its many advanced features.
Sales of the 2WD Prairie 400 ATV commenced.
Patterned after the Top 10 industry-best-selling KVF400-A, the Prairie 300 4x4 offered all the same great features as its larger sibling, but with a more economical air-cooled engine. Produced at Kawasaki's Lincoln facility in the U.S.A., this do-it-all ATV became an instant best seller.
Sales of the Prairie 300 ATV began. Built on the same chassis and engine design as the Prairie 300 4x4, this easy-steering 2-wheel drive version was powered by an air-cooled 290 cm3 Single.
The upgraded Prairie 400 4x4 hit the market. Improved KAPS, composite racks, aluminium wheels, cigarette lighter-type accessory socket and digital instrumentation were some of its new features.
In the same year the Prairie 400 (KVF400-D) was re-released with a number of upgrades.
A derivative of the sport-utility KEF300-A, the Lakota Sport ATV put the emphasis decidedly on "sport". All-new cobalt blue body-work, a 5-speed semi-automatic transmission with reverse, powerful triple disc brakes, and swingarm rear suspension with chain drive made the Lakota Sport a serious off-road fun machine.
ANOTHER WORLD'S FIRST FOR KAWASAKI!
Another breakthrough machine for Kawasaki, the Prairie 650 was the world's first mass-production ATV powered by a V-Twin engine. This powerful engine was complemented by a rugged space frame chassis equipped with an oil-bathed, sealed rear disc brake (an ATV world first), a unique electronically controlled engine braking system, electrically selectable 2WD/4WD, and a variable limited-slip front differential (another ATV world first). Highly regarded, this ATV won the "Design and Engineering Award" in Popular Mechanics, as well as numerous other accolades from major ATV publications.
The Bayou 250 ATV, a larger displacement version of the long-time best selling Bayou 220, hit the market. A low-maintenance air-cooled engine and 5-speed semi-automatic transmission with reverse make this sturdy ATV ideal for work or play.
Like the cutting-edge Prairie 650 ATV, the Prairie 360 4x4 broke new ground in the ATV world by offering big-bore class features on a mid-sized (and mid-priced) 4x4. Features include an all-new 362 cm3 engine, and the innovative sealed rear disc brake, engine brake control, selectable 2WD/4WD and variable front differential control from the Prairie 650. A 2WD version, the Prairie 360 (KVF360-B), was released the same year.
REVOLUTIONISING THE SPORTS ATV
They said it couldn't be done, but Kawasaki proved them wrong with another world's first: a high performing 2WD sports ATV equipped with shaft drive and an automatic transmission. The combination of a mighty 697 cm3 V-Twin engine, a lightweight chassis and stunning Ninja styling make the V Force™ the most exciting sports ATV of the decade.