For $3,500, Are Two Wheels Good?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Kawasaki’s motto used to be that they would let the good times roll. Motorcycles are pretty rare here on Nice Price or Crack Pipe, but then this A1SS is even more so. Uncommon or not, you’ll still need to determine if its price makes for a rollin' good time.

I have to say up front that I am not allowed to ride motorcycles. That wasn’t always the case, and in fact throughout much of High School I tooled around on a little Honda 125. It was d’ bomb.


But then my then girlfriend/now wife witnessed a horrific motorcycle accident involving the full checklist of terrible things that could happen when a bike hits a truck at speed. Following that she told me that didn’t want me ending up with my head one place and my now much shorter body elsewhere.

*sigh* Yes dear.

That however doesn’t mean that I haven’t stopped jonesing for a cool bike, nor occasionally taking advantage of the offer to ride, say an old Triumph Trident, around the block. Just don’t tell my wife. Seriously do't tell her, it wouldn’t end well for either of us.

That pining is what led me to find this fully restored Kawasaki A1SS in the local Craigslists. I thought, well damn let’s run that up the old NPOCP flag pole and see if anybody salutes it. I’ll bet you weren’t even aware that we even had a flag pole.


Like many Japanese companies, Kawasaki started out making everything but motorcycles. In fact, they didn’t start letting the good times roll on two wheels until merging with Meguro Manufacturing in 1963, creating the Kawasaki Motorcycle Company. Along with Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda, the company began exporting bikes to the U.S. to help fill the rabid demand for small motorcycles that had arisen in the sixties.

The A1 (also called the Samurai) was first introduced in 1967 as a street bike as well as a high-pipe scrambler denoted as the SS. It’s a very good thing that they slipped that numeral one into the name as I don’t know how many bikes they would have sold had it been called the Kawasaki ASS.


This '70 model is claimed in the ad to have been fully restored, including powder coating the frame, new paint on the tank, and chrome so shiny it’ll blind on-coming traffic, which might not be such a good thing.


The ad doesn’t say if any work has gone into the 247-cc 31-horse twin, but seeing as the rest of the bike looks to be tits, it’s unlikely that the rev-happy two stroke isn’t as well.

That engine features rotary valves and pair of Mikuni VM22SCs to feed its air-cooled cylinders. It’s mated to a standard 5-speed gearbox that gives you overdrive in the top two gears. With maximum power developed at 8,000 rpm you can bet that the sounds this bike makes are like a bee hive’s angry dance in any of those cogs.


Knobby tires on traditional spoked wheels match the side pipes in giving this A1 a nice traditional Scrambler-style vibe, and the whole thing should be good for just over 100 mph at its top end.

I know we don’t do bikes here very often, but this one just struck me as worthy of our interest and judgement, and as such, it’s now time for you to say whether or not this cool old Kawasaki should let some new buy roll for its $3,500 price tag. What do you think, is that a good price for this restored A1SS? Or, does that price make this a bike you no like?


You decide!


Los Angeles Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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