Remember back when the manufacturers used to produce pocket-sized inline-fours? There’s a rumour that they’re planning to do so again.
Younger readers might not have ever seen one, but a few years ago, the Japanese Big Four used to crank out four-cylinder 400 cc and 250 cc machines, but the combination of the North American ego and the horsepower wars of the ’90s meant nobody wanted anything less than a 600 cc supersport over here (and even those riders were told they were on a girl’s bike). Meanwhile, in developing markets, nobody had the money for that sort of technology, so those machines basically vanished from the market.
Bam! Fast-forward to 2014, and TMC Blog from Indonesia is circulating rumours of a new 250 cc motorcycle in the I4 format from Kawasaki. CMG’s grasp of Indonesian is a little rusty, and Google Translate isn’t much help here, but from what we can gather, they’re telling us that Team Green is going to build a scaled-down ZX-6R, coming in the next couple years.
It would be a bold move, but interesting. Kawasaki is already working on a single-cylinder version of the 250 Ninja for other markets, and of course they have the Ninja 300 twin (sold as a 250 in some markets). Could they really be working on a third entry in the quarter-litre sportbike market? It would seem like a very bold and somewhat risky move, but TMC has proven to be accurate when reporting this stuff before.
If this bike does show up on the market, it would be interesting to compare it to the original 250 pocket rockets of the 1980s and 1990s; those machines had super-high redlines, put out over 40 hp, and generally eclipsed anything in the quarter-litre class today. Motorcycle technology has advanced greatly since then, but so has the need to build to a tight price point.