This Japanese Bike Took Down Harley-Davidson | Up to Speed


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Motorcycles: the rebel’s vehicle of choice. For the longest time those motorcycles were Harley-Davidsons. But by the ‘80s Harleys had lost their edge, and motorcycles as a whole were hemorrhaging cool. Then Tom Cruise raced a fighter jet on a new bike called “Ninja” in the biggest movie of 1986, and everything changed. The Kawasaki Ninja made motorcycles cool again through a combination of advanced engineering, aggressive design, and killer branding. This two-wheeled speed demon kick-started the sportbike segment, and spurred an intense battle for the title “Fastest Motorcycle in the World” that continues today. Join James Pumphrey for a face-melting ride into the history of the world’s most famous sportbike, the Kawasaki Ninja!

Big ups to Bridget Davies for absolutely crushing this episode. So stoked to have her back on team UTS. Follow her on Instagram for a lot of water-cooled Volkswagen content. @bridgetinabox

Thanks to Megan Stump for the incredible, ridiculous “King Hog” and “Ninja Stepdad” animations. Check out more of her work at

High-five to Raghav Arumugam for the hilarious Ninja boardroom animation. Check his YouTube channel for more:

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