The Japanese cruiser scene has been pretty quiet lately, but Indonesia’s TMC Blog has found a photo they think indicates Kawasaki is working on something new.
TMC Blog has a photo that seems to indicate Kawasaki has combined their parallel-twin 650 motor (as seen in the ER-6n, Versys and 650 Ninja) with forward controls. If that’s true, that’s an indication something new is coming down the pipe, as Kawi certainly wouldn’t include forward controls on a Ninja or a naked bike.
According to TMC, the bike will be imported under the name EN650B.
Is there anything to this rumour? We’d guess yes, for two reasons. First, Kawasaki has long had a tradition of taking a hot water-cooled motor from a sporty street bike and building a cruiser around it. Back in the 1980s, their Eliminator lineup used retuned Ninja motors towards this end, and the 454 cruiser had what was essentially half a Ninja 900 engine.
Fast forward to the ’90s, and this trend kept up, with the 500 cc Vulcans. Despite their modest displacement, these cruisers were sleepers, as they were built around the vertical twin motor from Kawasaki’s EX500 Ninja. A few cruiser riders with bigger motors have had to eat humble pie as a result.
Now, though, they haven’t had a model like this for a few years; it’d make sense to replicate those bikes’ success with a new version, built around the 650.
The second reason? Kawasaki has said they were going to unveil a new vehicle at the AIME show in Orlando. Now, it’s true that might mean a quad or dirt bike, but that would also be an ideal venue to debut a new cruiser. It’s a jump to assume this news means we’ll see a 650-powered cruiser here this fall, but it would be unsurprising to see this happen.