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Rossville’s Rose Kawasaki still going after 30 years

Rose Kawasaki store owner Larry Rose Jr. recommends riding a motorcycle in this economic climate of revolving gas prices. His motorcycles can save consumers a lot on gas and put money back in their pocket for food, he said.

His Rossville store was recently named “Best of the Best” by public vote in this year’s Chattanooga Times Free Press’ North Georgia contest by the same name.

“The Kawasaki KLR650 gets 55 miles per gallon,” said the store owner who also lives in Rossville, adding that his store has 32 different kinds of motorcycles for sale. “It’s a great commuter bike. Even our fastest production bike, the ZX1400R, gets 35 miles per gallon.”

Similar to the three R’s students learn in school, through his Kawasaki dealings he said he’s learned the three P’s: precision, performance and power.

“My first motorcycle was a 1986 [Kawasaki] GPZ 900 Ninja,” said Rose Jr., who grew up working on motorcycles with his father Larry Rose Sr. and late brother Jeffrey Rose, who competed with a daredevil stunt team in his youth and later competed in track drag races. “It was red, white and blue. I drove it to Daytona Beach and back.”

The younger Rose now drives a Kawasaki 99 Vulcan Drifter motorcycle.

His father began riding motorcycles six decades ago as a young boy when his father gave him a DKW German military motorcycle. Rose Sr.’s dad had worked as a traveling salesman and had purchased the bike from a German scientist visiting America on business.

Eventually the family hobby grew into the family business. Rose Sr. started operations in 1970 on Dodds Avenue and moved the store to Chickamauga Avenue in Rossville in 1980. The store began selling Kawasaki motorcycles 30 years ago in 1982.

“All of our products are Kawasaki,” said the elder Rose, also a Rossville resident who personally drives a Kawasaki Eliminator 125 motorcycle that gets 95 miles per gallon.

The smallest fully automatic motorcycle for sale in the store is a Kawasaki KLX 110 geared for a 6-year-old. The biggest one for sale is a cruise line touring bike, the Vulcan Vaquero V-Twin 1700. The most popular bike on the showroom floor is the lightweight Vulcan 900, which is fuel-injected and uses a belt drive system.

Rose Jr. said all drivers must go through a specialized driver’s license test and be issued a motorcycle license before they are allowed to drive their bike on the streets. Upon completing the course and passing the test, the person’s current driver’s license would be revised to a Class CM.

“We do a lot of motorcycle service work here,” said Rose Jr. “Our service department stays busy. In tough economic times the service department is where it’s at. We try to treat customers the same in sales and in service work.”

He said many come from Tennessee to purchase motorcycles in Georgia due to the state’s lower sales tax.

“We treat our customers like friends,” said Rose Sr. “We watch customers grow up from children to adults and watch their children grow up too. We serve families for generations.”

Rose Kawasaki store, at 826 Chickamauga Ave. in Rossville, can be reached at 706-861-3954. The store is closed Sundays and Mondays. To learn more visit the Rose Kawasaki Facebook page.

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