The Old Japanese Bikes Compendium
As readers may have noticed, this web site is primarily a Suzuki resource site, but obviously Suzuki was not the only 'Old Japanese Bike' manufacturer in Japan. It may surprise people to know that motorcycles were made in Japan prior to WWI and that by the mid 1950's there were over 200 companies all fiercely competing for market share in the Japanese domestic market, which rapidly collapsed down to the four main players (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha) still in business today. My plan then is to fill in information on the various manufacturers with a focus on those Japanese companies no longer in business. In the case of Honda, Yamaha and later Kawasaki data (post early 1960's), there are already loads of sources out there so I see no need to duplicate what others have already done. Having said that, companies like Kawasaki provided engines to many companies in the early 1950's well before they ever produced a machine with their own name on the tank. A case in point is the 150cc 1954 RSY in the photo above, powered by a Kawasaki KE-II engine and made by Amano Kogyo.
Note: I have focused on manufacturers, but to make things easier to find I have cross linked model names which are more commonly known back to who made them. So as an example, in the section covering names beginning in A through D, clicking on 'Auto Bit' will take you to 'Fujita Iron Works'.
Ian R. Sandy
Updated January 14th, 2020
Current count: 183 companies listed
|References and Context|