|Kawasaki Candy Lime Green F81M
If you are a bike rider of the age of say 35-40 or older, or you were driving and saw a candy lime green blur go by, you know about the Kawasaki Ninjas with their candy lime green paint. Where did they get that green? Well, it comes from their first off-road bike, the F21M.
Kawasaki had been having great success with their bright lime green 1970 F21M bike. In 1970 Kawasaki developed a 100cc model with an unheard of 18.5 horsepower @ 10,500 rpm. It was the screaming Green Streak "Centurion." Other 100cc motorcycles of that time would have 10-12 hp... 15 at best. Actor Steve McQueen was given 6 Centurions for use in France during his movie, "LeMans." One Centurion was left at a small Los Angeles airport so that he could get from the hangers to the airport's cafe. Centurions are rare enough but McQueens sold at auction for $55,000 in 2007.
In 1971 to compliment the Centurion in flattrack and TT racing, the Kawasaki F81M, a 250cc beast was developed using the new 1971 Kawasaki F8 (250) Bison platform.
"Many the Husky and Maico rider was put to the test as the Greenstreak whooshed by, throwing up a roost from the 30-plus-horsepower two-stroker. Kawasaki produced the "Streaks" from 1968 to 1971. They were very light and powerful. Now considered a classic, they bring big money on the vintage scene." -- Matt Cuddy, Motorcycle.com
The difference between the F8 and F81M beyond the obvious was a tuned expansion chamber, steel rotary valve. The F81M had 34 horsepower, 11 more than its street legal brother and around 5 more than the competition. With a power to weight ratio of 1 hp to 8.8 pounds, 22 lbs of torque.
Add the additional air intake on the carb cover and small flywheel... this bike screamed! This motorcycle was made for 1971 only and is very rare.
Three green bikes that began the buy a "ready-to-race bike" without modifications.