As the first production Kawasaki motorcycle to wear Lime Green paint, the 1969 F21M Green Streak paved the way for today’s KX™ motocross bikes.
IRVINE, CA – April 8, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – In what would become one of the greatest brand-building moves in motorcycling, in 1969 Kawasaki took the bold gamble of repainting its existing F21M 250 Scrambler to the now-famous Lime Green color developed by Rollin Sanders, a.k.a. “Paint by Molly.” The color had already debuted at Daytona in March on the factory 250cc A1R and 350cc A7R road racers, emphatically showing that the Kawasaki name meant high performance. But while the factory road racers were not for sale, the production F21M was, making it the first Lime Green Kawasaki bike ever available to the public.
A competition scrambler, the F21M’s 238cc single-cylinder, two-stroke air-cooled engine boasted a power-inducing rotary-valve intake that helped establish Kawasaki’s performance reputation. By 1969 the model was already proven in competition because the previous year, Steve Hurd had won the Elsinore Grand Prix on a 1968 “red tank” F21M, giving Kawasaki its first major dirt win in America.
Emphasizing how serious a racer the F21M really was, each bike came with a spare piston, two sets of rings, a wrist-pin bearing, a spare clutch, a gasket set and various sprockets packed right in the crate. In short, for $875 privateers got everything they needed to race. Forty-seven years ago, Kawasaki was already going for it.
Riding an F21M is a highly intense experience. The engine bursts into life with a blast of high-frequency sound, vibration buzzes through the steel double-cradle frame and bars, and exhaust waves rifle through the expansion chamber as the revs spike. The four-speed gearbox, short-travel suspension and drum brakes are just adequate to keep up with the raucous engine. Those were good times, but they were also wild times.
After three years of production, the F21M was replaced by the F81M before the revolutionary KX™250 – Kawasaki’s first production motocross bike – arrived for 1974. However, as a result of the 1969 F21M, all Kawasaki motocrossers have been Lime Green ever since, including the current KX250F and the other KX™ models. If you ever find one at a yard sale in Greenville, Greensboro or even Green Acres, grab it. Because the legend of the Green Streak lives!
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) started full-scale production of motorcycles over a half century ago. The first Kawasaki motorcycle engine was designed based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines, and Kawasaki’s entry into the motorcycle industry was driven by the company’s constant effort to develop new technologies. Numerous new Kawasaki models introduced over the years have helped shape the market, and in the process have created enduring legends based on their unique engineering, power, design and riding pleasure. In the future, Kawasaki’s commitment to maintaining and furthering these strengths will surely give birth to new legends.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, side x sides, and Jet Ski® watercraft through a network of approximately 1,100 independent retailers, with close to an additional 7,700 retailers specializing in general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with approximately 300 of them located at KMC’s Irvine, California headquarters.
Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.®”, is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand is synonymous with powerful, stylish and category-leading vehicles. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of powersports products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.