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Kawasaki posted by

Featured Listing: 1989 Kawasaki KR-1R!


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.

It may take you a little bit to pry yourself away from this first picture. It’s OK, I’ll wait a moment. Yes, that is an honest-to-God, freaking *original* Kawasaki KR-1R. The rarest of the rare of the quarter-liter smoking set has arrived, and this is your chance (and likely your only chance) to score one of these “what lies at the end of the rainbow” sort of machines. KR-1 examples are few and far between these days. The “R” spec – as it does with all other mega cool bikes with sporting intent – kicks things up a notch into crazy uber collectable mode. With KR-1 models coming across our pages so infrequently, it should be no surprise that the one and only KR-1R seen here on RSBFS was over 6 years ago (and based in England). Today, we are thrilled to bring you what must be one of only a handful of KR-1Rs that live here in the US – and this one is titled for street use.

You might wonder what’s the big deal about the KR-1R. Visually, it differs little from the lesser KR bikes. They all share the same parallel twin, reed valve inducted 250cc two stroke power plant. This motor, while not the trendy v-twin variety, has the distinction of being the most powerful of the 250cc smoking set. When it comes to bragging rights, the Kawasaki hits hard. Fun fact: A KR-1R holds the speed record at Bonneville for 250cc production motorcycles. The KR-1S is slightly different from a base KR-1 by color scheme and wheels. There are also bits that you cannot easily see, such as improved suspension components and chassis modifications (all KR models have an aluminum chassis, naturally). Take the KR-1S, add larger carbs for even more power, bolt on a close ratio gearbox and stronger clutch springs and you have one of the approximately 180 KR-1R Kawasakis in the world. It goes without saying that the KR-1R has a unique paint job with its nomenclature very, very clearly stated. All “R” model bikes were domestic (Japan) only machines.

From the seller:
The bike came from a Kawasaki collector in Japan. Motor is all stock. Stock carbs,
stock airbox, stock heads, ect all confirmed OEM Kawasaki. Fairings 100% OEM.
Windshield appears to be OEM. Two Keys.

Previous collector has cosmetically customized this KR-1R with Kawasaki OEM green
front fender, Beet rear sets and Beet exhaust and mufflers. Some suspension
components have been polished.

The bike has been professionally resprayed. Being a Kawasaki dealer with ties to
Japan, I was able to source OEM decals and correct paint codes. The paint job was done correctly. You may notice, The lower air vent was not blacked in like you see other KR-1R’s on the internet. The green and black paint lays over the air vent with a 50/50 split like it came from the factory.

All three brake calipers were sent to Powerhouse in England for complete
refurbishment. Powder coated, new seals, pistons, pads, ect. because they were old
looking. I have all the original brake parts that go with the bike.

More from the seller:
Bike has newish tires, Dunlop GPR’s, new brake fluid, new coolant, new oil, new
battery. Bike runs flawless at sea level and a little rich at my 4500ft elevation.
Bikes runs perfectly.

Bike comes with Utah title and is titled as a street bike for road use. I am looking
for offers over $20K – highest offer wins the bike. Potential buyers can contact me via email with offers. Only 180 bikes were made and this one is a very low serial number. Complete Serial number won’t be published.

Price: Accepting offers over $20,000

Deadline: July 1, 2017

Contact: rmurangemasters@aol.com

If some of the pictures look familiar, you will notice this is indeed the same Utah collector (and Kawasaki dealer) that recently thinned out a number of exotic machines (some purchased by RSBFS readers!). Gary states that this KR-1R was a crown jewel in his collection, but it is time to move on. There are A LOT of pictures, and I’ve included as many as possible. If you are serious buyer and there is something that you want to see, ping Gary for more details. Word from our readers is that Gary is great to work with and the purchased hardware shows up looking as advertised. That is good to know, especially when dealing with what may be the only US-based KR-1R with a street title.

Values are hard to come by when so few examples change hands, but I can assure you that $20k is a bottom dollar bargain number when it comes to a clean and sorted KR-1R (if you can even find one). This bike looks fantastic, and is one of the more rare models you might hope to see on RSBFS this year (or the next). So if you have a spare kidney laying around that you’re not really using, NOW is the time to reach out to Gary (rmurangemasters@aol.com) and make a deal. Good Luck!!


  • Does anyone really see this bike fetching over 20G?

    I don’t see how it gets anywhere near that. Even if it was a zero mile example.

    It is clearly very nice. And very rare. However that does not always translate into desirability. And in this case desire plus the willingness to part with significant dollars.

    And though it may have a title – who is going to spend that kind of money on a bike that I would assume they are hoping will appreciate in value – and at the very least not depreciate – to ride it. This seller had a bunch of cool 2 stroke options that would make great rider quality bikes.

    I look forward to seeing where it ends up.

  • Not worth it for some 35mm carbs and some stickers that say kr1r. Sure they were rare but outside of that it’s the same as the kr1s doesn’t offer anymore real performance over a kr1s. No special porting or other bits it’s just a kr1s with bigger carbs nothing more.

    • I forgot for awhile there someone on the kr1 forum was remaking the carb boots for the 35 mm swap it’s the same carb used on a kdx 200. It boiled down to being not worth the effort and getting your 28 mm carbs bored out to 30mm resulted in the same increase.

  • You boys in the cheap seats really crack me up. I’ve sold a few two strokes in the last two months. Every time you guys say its not worth it, I sell another one for more. Keep relying on your Kelley blue book and leave value to the collector. I’ve sold:
    2 VJ22A’s that sold for $7,000-$9,000
    1 TZRSPR for $10,000
    1 VJ22ASP for $10,500
    2 MC28SE’s for $12,000
    2 MC28SP’s for $15,000-$17,000 and you don’t think this KR-1R will bring the asking price?
    You don’t think its desirable because you don’t see people riding them around like the MC18 & MC21’s….. Fact is, you’ve never seen a KR-1R in real life and probably never will, let alone get a chance to ride one. Desirability is trying to put together a collection of two stroke SP’s and finding out the KR-1R is nearly an impossible piece of the puzzle. Enough blogging….. Think I’ll go take it for a burn up the canyon one last time before it sells, lol. Cheers

    • Thanks for speaking up Gary. The dudes who comment the most seem to have the least experience with selling. They’ve never had a really rare bike and really don’t have a clue about how many collectors there are out there focusing on completing collections.

    • Based on the attitude I am not sure I would want to buy one of your bikes. Anytime I see the “only for us rich guys” comments I as a buyer am turned off.

      As for the bike, it is a very nice cleaned up KR1-R (numbered between 01 and 99 ;)) with a steep asking price. You are cashing in on a rebounding market so you will find an equally obnoxious buyer that wants to brag how he/she paid 20 large for a KR1-R.

      I am glad I only paid what I did for my current 2 stroke line up. The more you pay up front the more you need to try get on the back end when you sell and the less likely you are to ride your bikes. The reality is also that even though my 88 RS250 is worth $20K+ based on the spares I have on hand and its excellent original running condition, I would have to wait a long time for the right buyer to show up.

      As for realistic prices, there are 2 KR250B 1988’s up on Yahoo right now with $2500 current prices. 2 million+ yen for a KR1-R is pretty ambitious.

      Good with the sale, maybe one of the folks that over paid for one the other 250’s still has some cash left LOL

  • I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Gary for choosing RareSportBikesForSale.com for the sale of his collection. We truly appreciate you supporting the site with Featured Listings for all the bikes that fit here so well. Good luck to all potential bidders and thank you again Gary!


  • I have a vj22 two mc21 at one time now a spr and ridden a kr1 many times did not pay those ridiculous prices for them. Your just a flipper admit it you didn’t pay that much for them even after import costs. The gamble is the buyer who pays that and expects to get that or more later. I watch Yahoo japan all the time i see how much they sell for they rarely go over 8k for a really nice one. Runs maybe about 1500 at most to ship one so who’s fooling who.

    • If you can get a really nice KR1R for $8K plus ship cost I’ll take 10

  • Gary,

    While I understand you have more skin in the game than the people who are just speculating and commenting – try not to take it personally. It is just peoples opinions. And I’ve certainly commented that I have enjoyed seeing all of the bikes you have sold in the recent past.

    The value is definitely to be determined. The market will speak and I do look forward to seeing where it ends up. I have no idea. Just like giving my opinion and enjoying the site. And I did not state that it was not desirable. I said that rareness does not always equate to desirable. Again – it really depends on finding the buyer who ‘gets’ the bike and sees it as worth the money.

    Take good care. And enjoy your rip through the canyon.

    Good luck with the sale.

  • I received the same dumb comments from some cheats skates who wish they could afford these bikes, I sold my MC28SP, the only one in the US that i am aware of that has HRC PGM 030 card and a ton of extra HRC components for 15k on this website as well as my RC51 for over 12k, keep selling, there is always a buyer for something special and unique

    • Not the only MC28sp with HRC stuff. I agree that $15k is the going rate for one though. I’ve sold two in the states. Both in that price range.

  • Your not the only one with a 030 card or the hrc parts not that hard to find if you know where to look. You guys sure have stars in your eyes or is that dollar signs.

  • The negative comments and apraisils with nothing to back them up is why I usually only sell bikes privately. The people who are actually interested and have the finances don’t care about anonymous blogging. They care about the quality of the bike and are willing to pay for it. I think it’s funny that people who have no where near the amount of bikes Gary has seem to think they know more somehow.

    • Agreed! Meanwhile RC45 spouts the same BS every time. Boring!

  • A tidy low mileage 1KT TZR250 poverty model just sold here (NZ) for $10k!

    2 stroke sports bikes will continue to break new ground price wise…you just can’t pick them up as easily as you once could.

  • 26 years in the motorcycle service industry and I have worked on just about every bike model out there and I have personally only seen pictures of them. It will pull 20K+ easily…

  • Loving the candidness of the seller who can back up his numbers. All bikes cater to a person’s taste to say negative things is of no value .

    if the bike brakes 20 the people that said otherwise should have a tag beside their names from now on to mark them

  • Smokinjoe drinking the hater coolaid

  • Dave, smokinjoe had the same dumb comments about both my bike and both sold for my asking price.

  • Whatever the sentiments above-it’s still a nice bike, and I would love to own it.

  • l haven’t seen a kr1 in that condition for some time let alone an R. Beautiful example for the 2 stroke enthusiast.

    Not as clean but a good comparison…… http://www.raidermoto.com/kawasaki-kr-1r/

    Great collection Gary, looking fwd to the RK coming to the market if that’s what l saw lingering in the background of previous posts.

    • The KR1-R in that listing is priced at $11,000USD.

  • I don’t understand the comments on price. It is not 1999 anymore. Whats left in Japan is not that nice, most of the good stuff was exported a long time ago. Much of what survived is not in the greatest original shape, much of the NSR SP’s were raced or crashed. In fact I would say the MC28 SP’s are more rare than RC30s these days.

    Yes you can say you see this or that on Yahoo, but getting someone to import and reg it takes time an money. Oh your container got stopped by customs and they want to have a look inside at a bonded warehouse? That will be $3000, thanks. Its not easy and not really profitable, which is why I think after another year or two we will see a lot less of this 25 year old stuff popping up. It’s one thing to do it for the love of bikes and another for money.

    And finally on the money…Harley bangs out street glides by the 10s of thousands every year, same old shit year after year and they sell for $20k plus. There are only handfuls of the nice 2 strokes left and they are never coming back…along with the V4 400s and all the other cool shit that was made during the bubble.

    • With regard to importing you are correct – you either do it yourself/with an agent and pay to fix/restore if you need to or you simply buy the bike already in the States.

      But that doesn’t mean you cannot successfully and at a reasonable price buy good used bikes in Japan for personal use and bring them over. It is just a matter of perspective and priority.

      One has to decide for themselves what the premium for a good condition State side bike is, factor in the rarity and whether you want to recoup the purchase price when you sell or not.

      Prices fluctuate – selling a collection at market peak or at least on the crest of an upswing is one thing – but the buyer must be aware they may get caught with a rare bike at market bottom.

      This seller has played his cards correctly – buying just at or prior to the 25 year window opening and then selling at the peak of “US grey market momentum and frenzy”.

      As for the KR1-R being the rarest and most desirable KR, I would argue that the New Zealand KR1-S SP carries the KR1 rareity crown.

  • I would buy this bike IF I didn’t have my Australia (17 digit vin ) KR1-S. GLWS Gary .

    • Like west said, not enough numbers for some states, Id take it though, if I was younger, enthusiastic and building up an collection not reducing one!!

  • Beautiful machine….appreciate the research making the paint job factory correct in every detail. Painting motorcycles to correct factory specs is a high level of skill and knowledge. Thanks for posting here on Rare SportBikes.

  • No worries everyone, the market will determine if $20,000 is appropriate. My advice for RSBFS would be to disable comments on featured bikes. It is kind of tacky seeing the seller the go back and fourth with people commenting.

  • there are so many buyers that find any price just fine if the quality is to their liking… three million dollar cars are sold out before they’re even built… any vehicle is worth whatever the buyer deems right… $20k is a great deal…

  • Lovelybike

  • Won’t take less than $20K…but wouldn’t replace the rusty chain and filthy sprockets?

    • It’s not $20k it’s $25+ k I believe and $30k for a deal..

  • I really don’t get all of these “peanut gallery” haters. It’s a very nice and rare bike. If you disagree with the price, don’t buy it. However, that doesn’t mean eveyone else values the bike the same way you do.

    • So what did it end up selling for? $25K? $30K? Or did the buyer bid himself up to $40K?

  • Hey – I just appreciate seeing nice bikes like this. If the seller can get $20K+ for it then good luck to them.

    Keep ’em coming RSBFS

  • Believe it or not I have a KR1R sitting in my shed awaiting restoration . Built for the ultra competitive Japanese production racing class they swept all before them . Most were destroyed by kamikaze production racers .

    As the value of this bike I thank the vendor for listing the bike and look with interest . In terms of collectable status and value most of the expensive bikes would not hold a candle to an off the floor production bike nowadays . That is the difference however as anyone can go and lay down their $ and buy one . What makes a tiny postage stamp worth squillions ?

    If you want to get the performance of an R out of an S fill your boots but you have a tarted up S not an R . Let the market desire . The market will pay $40,000 for a Sandcastle 750 Honda go figure .


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