Kawasaki W, H & Z
25th April 2019
The Big Air-cooled machines | Veloce Publishing
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The first thing we noticed when we received our review copy of this book is simply that the cover is dull and boring. Sorry to say it, but the main image just isn't inspiring, and the heading and sub-heading looks pretty klunky, style-wise.
The next thing we noticed was when we opened the book; most of the images are small, or fairly small. We flipped through the covers and couldn't find a single full page picture.
More than once we've criticised Veloce Publishing for that omission. All books, we feel, deserve at least two or three VERY LARGE images meaning a full page if not a two page spread.
That said, there are a couple of half-pagers tucked away here, and the vast majority of the other images are at least reasonable-to-good quality. As for the writing, it's a little convoluted in places, so you occasionally have to read a sentence more than once to understand what's being said.
However, there is a huge amount of information here that will no doubt appeal greatly to the targeted Big K cognoscenti. The company, the development of the bikes, the marketing, the production & technical figures, and the wider experience; author Brian Long has served up what looks like a very satisfying meal.
We're not experts on these bikes, mind (actually we ain't experts on anything except drinking beer and falling down). But we've been dipping in and out and reading occasional chapters. And as ever, there are stories within stories, and the machinations of the firm (pun intended) comfortably reveal another side of Kawasaki that answers a lot of questions and brings the bikes into a tighter and manageable context.
If we had to criticise further (and unfortunately we do), we'd mention that many of the brochure images are in Japanese. That's understandable you might think considering the fact that the bikes were conceived, designed and manufactured in Japan. Nevertheless, the book is aimed at Western consumption, and it's therefore easy to feel a little cheated when confronted with unfathomable (and thereby meaningless) Japanese script.
Then again, in fairness it's difficult if not impossible to get the same material in English. It was probably never printed. So Brian Long has no doubt done the best he could with what he had.
Moving on, the narrative does mix two-stroke and four-stroke bikes, and that could mean that either camp will lose interest at various points. But for hardcore—and even anorakish—Kawasaki fans, this book aims to present a more complete picture of "The Big Air-cooled Machines".
The period covered is 1965-1980. The models covered include: Kawasaki W1, W2 & W3 (1965-1974), H1 & H2 (1968-1976) and early Z-series, including Z1, Z2 & Z1R (1972-1980). The book is hardback. The dimensions are 250mm x 207mm. And there are 160 pages and 250 pictures (colour and B&W).
Veloce is asking £30 plus postage and packing. And note that there is an eBook option. The ISBN, by the way, is 978-1-787112-17-9
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