Is the “retro” trend in motorcycle aesthetic getting a little tired? While it seems like pretty much everyone has now found its vintage groove, inspired directly from their respective history, some companies aren’t done quite yet. Kawasaki, a bit of the late bloomer in terms of neo-retro models, having introduced the Z900RS last year and announced the W800 for this year. It looks like the brand might be on a roll, now, however. In fact, on January 23, it trademarked the name “Meguro”.
The Meguro Manufacturing Company got its start in 1924 as an engine manufacturer. After only a few years of activity, the company started dabbling in motorcycles, initially acting as a transmission supplier for a number of Japanese firms and manufacturers. The company came up with its very first bike in 1932, a 500cc built for Hamakura Motor and five years later, the Meguro motorcycle was born. Within 20 years or so, Meguro established itself as one of Japan’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer.
Where does Kawasaki fit in? Well, by the mid-50s, Kawasaki, then called Kawasaki Aircraft, had put a foot on the two-wheeler market with a scooter—planes and trains had gotten boring I guess. When the time came to graduate from scooters to small motorcycles, guess who Kawi turned to? You got it: Meguro. The company produced Kawasaki small bikes under license. This eventually led in the early 60s to the merger of Kawasaki Aircraft and Meguro Motorcycles to form Kawasaki Motorcycles. The Kawasaki W1, introduced in 1965 fitted with was then considered the biggest engine in a production bike, was actually an existing Meguro design, the K1, which in turn was an authorized copy of the BSA A7. The change of badging without any major innovation rapidly led to the bike becoming obsolete as British and other Japanese manufacturers aggressively flooded the market with their twins.
Kawasaki’s story is intimately related to Meguro’s: it’s the merging of the two that created the Kawasaki brand as we know it today. You would think that the company would have retained the rights to the name and wouldn’t need to trademark it.
So what exactly could a Kawasaki Meguro be? As trademark documents go, we’re given very little information to work with. The most obvious hypothesis would be that the company is working on yet another vintage-looking model. Considering the Z900RS and the W800 are bigger bore models—so potentially a middle-size or even a small-displacement model are good options to consider. A special edition of some sort is also plausible; so is the introduction of an entirely new family of vehicles to pay homage to Kawasaki’s other half. Which one should it be?