A few days ago, The Standard Catalog of Japanese Motorcycles 1959-2007 arrived and it looks like I’ll be referring to it quite often. Inside are pages filled with photos and lists of literally every Japanese motorcycle offered for sale in the U.S. from 1959 through 2007. If you have a need or desire to know who sold what and when, this is your book.
It’s not anything other than what it’s supposed to be, there are no exciting behind the scenes stories or unreleased concept bikes, it’s just a manufacturer by manufacturer list, each one broken down by year with all models listed for each year. There are plenty of photos showing the new or distinctive models and a description of the changes from one year to the next. In a few cases, the photos show a nicely restored current example with an aftermarket exhaust or seat or some other not completely stock accessory but for the most part, it gives a very detailed rundown of each company’s lineup for each year.
The details listed are models, engine configuration and displacement and number of gears in the transmission. If you need to dig deeper, you’ll need a manual for that model or a more detailed reference but this will give you a nice overview of all of the bikes.
If you already know which bike you’re interested in and need a lot of very specific details, this is not your book, but, if you are in the market for an older Japanese motorcycle, especially if you’re not sure what you want, or if you need a quick overview of all of the Japanese offerings over the years, this will come in pretty handy.