Back in 1964 when I was 8 years old, my dad worked for Canadian Tire in the small engines repair shop. If you had bought a lawnmower, snow blower or a rototiller from Canadian Tire and it needed warranty work, it got shipped back to back to Canadian Tire for the work and my dad was the guy who took care of it.
In 1964 Canadian Tire became the importer for Kawasaki motorcycles. All of the models available were 2 strokes and unfortunately, when they came off the assembly line, the piston cylinder fit was too tight for the Canadian market. Everyone who bought one of these motorcycles didn't adhere to the break in requirements and unfortunately, most of them seized their piston. They ended up back in the small engine repair shop and my dad had to fix them.
It became a habit for my dad to rebuild one of these bikes and drive it home to do the initial break in. That trip was 25 miles each way. On rare occasions, he would offer me a helmet and we would to up for a ride around and that's where I found a love for riding. Spending time with my dad riding around. No mother, no brother or sister. Just dad and I doing something special together.
In 1971 my grandfather died and dad went to the funeral by himself. He came home with a Honda 150 dream in the trunk of the Dodge Monaco and we unloaded it. It was my grandfather's and dad thought I would like to have it. So I inherited the Honda. 1972 rolls around and out comes the Kawasaki brochure with the lineup for the 350, 500 and 750 Kawasaki with a Kawasaki pilot in an all white riding suit and a Bell star helmet. Well that did it. I had to have one, so i got a job at a local butter tart factory working afternoon shift cleaning the factory. I saved every penny while working for $1.45 an hour and in 1973 bought my first Kawasaki 350 triple for $999 plus tax. That's how I got hooked.
I think my brand loyalty for Kawasaki's came from my times spent with my dad and the fact that he and he alone was the guy that repaired Kawasakis in Canada for the first 2 years that Canadian Tire had the franchise before being taken over by Fred Deely. It wasn't until Honda brought out the CBX1000 in 1979 that I would have considered anything other than a Kawasaki. That Candy Glory Red CBX !! Once I saw that, I had to have one and didn't even look at Kawasaki to see the KZ1300 otherwise I would have bought the KZ over the CBX.