7. Kawasaki Goes Big Time in New York

Most manufacturers introduce a couple of new models every year, so it’s not really much of a surprise when they do. But there was something different in the way Kawasaki did it this year.

Team Green provided two significant product updates this year in its 2013 Ninja ZX-6R and new Ninja 300. Both replace outgoing models while offering a boost in engine displacement. The ZX-6R received a 37cc bump to 636cc, an engine size it had previously used from 2003-2006. The Ninja 300 meanwhile replaces the Ninja 250, offering a number of upgrades including a slipper clutch, optional ABS and a new 296cc engine.

Both models were leaked in an EPA spreadsheet that Motorcycle.com was first to report in August, weeks before the bikes were officially announced.

What makes this appear on this list of Top 10 Motorcycle News Stories of 2012 however, was the big Times Square Takeover event Kawasaki used to unveil the new models for the U.S. market. Instead of a big reveal at a motorcycle show or a private launch event with a room full of moto-journalists, Kawasaki rented two blocks of Broadway from West 45th to West 47th in New York City for a very public launch.

After years of budget cuts and compromises following the global economic downturn, Kawasaki went all-out in introducing its new, larger-displacement models, reminding us of a happier time for the industry,