Kawasaki is telling the world they’re working on a new “ground-breaking motorcycle” in the Ninja lineup that they’ll unveil at the end of the month.
They’ve made a lot of fanfare with the announcement, but they’ve kept the details of what actually makes the bike special a secret. They promise, though, that the new bike will capture “the spirit of the 750cc Mach IV H2 that, along with the 500cc three cylinder H1 and all-conquering 903cc Z1 Super Four.”
Hopefully the spirit is all it captures – those bikes are always remembered by previous owners (the ones who survived!) as having a scary amount of power, but crap handling. Nobody seems too anxious to re-visit those brakes, either. They always remember that power as fun, fun fun, though.
Anyway – what does this all mean? Here’s our guess: Everyone’s speculating Team Green is about to unveil a turbocharged or supercharged sportbike, and that’s probably right. We know the Japanese manufacturers are all working on this technology as an attempt to meet EU emissions standards in the very near future. Kawasaki showed off a supercharged motorcycle engine at the Tokyo Motor Show last November.
There’s more to it than that, though. Kawasaki hasn’t made a really big splash since they introduced the Ninja 300 back in 2012, and even that bike only captured the imagination of a smallish segment of established motorcycle buyers (although rumour has it, it’s selling very well to newbies). They’ve made competent sport bikes (they’re still atop World Superbike competition), but they haven’t brought out a bike with the impact of, say, Yamaha’s FZ-09 or FZ-07.
It would be very, very bad for Kawasaki to rest on their laurels of superbikes past and expect that to guarantee future sales. It’s also important to remember this year is the 30th anniversary of the Ninja lineup, and company officials would no doubt like to commemorate that milestone with an impressive new machine, instead of simply repainting old bikes, like the ones above.
You can see a YouTube video with a few scant details of the release below.