Boss Stage: 1970 Kawasaki G4TR Trail Boss

In 1968 Yamaha introduced the DT-1, the original dual sport or enduro as it was called back then.  The DT-1 created a market in the US for on/off road capable bikes that weren’t just street bikes that just looked rugged.  Kawasaki followed with their line of enduros including the 100cc two stroke G4TR Trail Boss produced from 1970 to 1978. Find this highly original 1970 Kawasaki Trail Boss for sale in Spokane, WA for $900 via craigslist.

The Trail Boss was a stylish entry in the enduro market with plenty of chrome trim.  Even the heat shield on the exhaust and chain guard was chrome plated.  Compared to the DT-1 or Honda four stroke enduros the Trail Boss is much more rare and you hardly ever see them for sale, let alone in unmolested condition. This bike is claimed to be all original, even the seat.  I seem to remember the seat having heat embossed ribbing instead of a flat expanse of vinyl as in this example, but no big deal, there is a guy in Canada making excellent reproductions.

Powered by a 100 cc rotary valve two stroke, the Trail Boss was rated at 11 bhp at 7,500 rpm. The Trail Boss was also equipped with a “dual speed” transmission.  This added a high and low range to the 5 speed transmission that you could flip between high and low with a handlebar mounted lever (but you needed to stop before flipping or rebuild the transmission if you didn’t).  In low range, the G4TR was remarkably good off road, and in high the seller claims top speed of 67 mph.  In practice, I’ve only seen 50 on my ’74 and there is no way I would ever entertain the idea of taking it on the freeway.

This example has 1,800 miles on the clock and comes with a title and original owners manual.  Given the pictures in the ad, I would have no reason to doubt the odometer.  Also, looking at the pictures, the tires look original and should be changed if you are going to ride it and not hide it.  Other than that, it looks like its ready for tiddling around your neighborhood.

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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He learned to ride on a 1972 Trail Boss and currently owns a ’74.  He’s trying hard to be strong and not drive across his home state to pick this bike up.