Who are Meguro and why is Kawasaki reviving the brand in 2021?

Kawasaki goes right back to its motorcycling roots by dusting off the Meguro nameplate 60 years after the pivotal part it played in motorcycling history

Meguro K3

With such a strong bloodline that ensures its models at the lower end of the displacement scale are as well known as its headline-grabbing sportsbikes, you’d forgive Kawasaki for not wanting to diversify such a solid brand too far.

However, it would appear Kawasaki bosses are looking beyond the green hues of its own wares to corner more niche areas of the motorcycle market. This began in 2019 with the 49% share taken in Italian exotica marque Bimota and is now continuing with the revival of the Meguro nameplate.

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With the name first appearing on Kawasaki’s Japan website during the latter half of November to create a flutter of anticipation, we now have a motorcycle to turn our focus to - the Meguro K3.

While the name gives very little away, the Meguro K3 is otherwise visually familiar, being based on the Kawasaki W800, and according to specifications they remain identical under the skin too with 773cc and 51hp wrapped up in some nostalgic retro styling.

So what’s new and why is this Meguro so special?

Well, this story could very well have been the other way around in that we idolise ‘Team Green’ as Meguro, with Kawasaki being revived as a nameplate from a bygone era instead.

Indeed, back in the 1960s, Kawasaki at the time specialised in aviation and it was Meguro operating as an established motorcycle brand. However, when they pooled resources and know-how, the Meguro name was ultimately phased out and the rest - for Kawasaki at least - was history.

As for why Kawasaki is dusting off Meguro now seems more for nostalgic value than anything else, sitting somewhere between a standalone brand segue and merely a premium limited edition range. 

Indeed, it would stand to reason the Meguro K3 would be an upper crust version of Kawasaki’s retro range, in much the same way Bimota can act out its hypersports, niche European ambitions without worrying about diluting its bread and butter machines.

The Meguro K3 wears plenty of distinctive branding to pay homage to yesteryear, while the K3 sits apart from the W800 a little further with a taller handlebar, black forks, adjustable rear shocks, unique seat trim and a black/chrome finish.

The Meguro K3 comes in at approximately £1,600 more than the base W800 (albeit with plenty of flexibility when it comes to duty/exchange figures!)