Kawasaki ZX25R: Return of the four-cylinder pocket rocket?

Is Kawasaki about to make the 250 great again? The just-unveiled ZX-25R suggests that Team Green may be about to do just that.

For a while, there have been rumours of a new quarter-litre sportbike from Kawasaki, and that’s indeed what was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. But unlike most of the current crop of beginner-friendly sportbikes, with their emphasis on affordability, the ZX-25R features high-end components that will no doubt bring the price up, but also provide increased performance.

Let’s start with the motor. Instead of a parallel twin or single, the ZX-25R has a liquid-cooled inline four. We haven’t seen a proper four-cylinder 250 in decades, so that’s newsworthy enough. But wait, there’s more! Web rumours suggest output could be as high as 60 hp, which would make this an absolute screamer, even by old two-stroke standards (for the sake of reference, the old Honda NSR250 two-smokers made about 45 hp).

The ZX-25R uses decent Showa SFF-BP forks, the sort of decent bits you’d see on a 600-class supersport. Same goes for the radial brakes (single front disc and rear disc). It’s also expected to have traction control, a quickshifter and a selection of different power modes. All in all, it sounds like a proper sporting motorcycle, even moreso than the excellent Ninja 400. It’s worth noting that, at this point, the ZX-25R sounds more technologically advanced than some of the current 600 cc supersport offerings. The frame is steel, not aluminum, but the rest of the machine seems engineered for performance, not affordability. That’s very unusual in this displacement class.

Kawasaki claims this machine is for the world market, although whether that includes Canada remains to be seen.


  1. Insurance in Canada is on par with the health care we receive if and when we go down. Take whatever costs you’d have to cover in your hospital in the US and apply that to what we pay for full Motorcycle Insurance. This is applicable to riders with less than 5 years experience and a clean record. (possibly multiple policies Home/Auto/Motorcycle) It’s also an average across all provinces.

    Ex: 30 year old with 5 years experience
    No tickets, No claims
    Same insurer for the past 5 years
    SS (say, a Brand new fully paid for Yamaha R1)
    Full Coverage = $3000 +

    Year over year, the insurance will increase. Not decrease (This is most common but not always)
    CC’s are the main factor (Aside from the SS category)
    SuperSports are not covered by all insurance companies.
    Those which do cover SS will cost you more per year than the bike itself. (Again, this is most common but not always) *example. a 2004 R6 will cost around $2,500. Insurance will be 3k or more for the year.
    Canadian Insurance is not offered as a seasonal policy.

    But if we’re in the hospital for a month after a nasty crash, we don’t pay a dime.
    Vs. in America. You’ll go bankrupt or you’ll be financially tied to the debt for a 1/4 a century.

  2. Wow. Kawasaki is really displaying some manufacturing might right now. Very wide product range… perhaps the opposite of Suzuki right now. I would go have a look if it came to Canada.

  3. I agree with Terence. I have a Ninja 300 that I blast around the Nelson BC area. This bike would be a dream, I have no interest in heavy overpowered bikes, boring to ride. You have to be actively involved with a small bike, you have to carry corner speed, especially uphill. The Ninja has improved my riding like no other bike. I don’t really care about the price, spend it or leave it for the kids!! Bring is Kawi, I am #2 after Terence. LOL Cam

  4. Some of the best sounds in Japan are the wee 250/4s that scream through the gears upwards of 19k rpm. Best of all, most of ’em don’t have obnoxiously loud cans on ’em. Best of all words: Great song, respectful volume. I hope the cans coming on the market for this will be of similar ilk.

  5. Did the video show a naked version too?
    Might it be considered ( blasphemy I know! ) as a modern CB400F?
    Looking forward to seeing more as info is released.

  6. Haha, see THIS should have been the new Supercharged model!
    750-class performance from 250 cubic centimetres…
    Because who even needs to boost-up a 1000cc machine (with 100+ HP) anyway?

  7. Sold my 89 GSXR250RR this summer and regret it. This 250 would be a great replacement but like the jewels of the 80’s and early 90’s it is unlikely to come here.

    • One can dream. If it did come here, anyone who grabs one will have a collectors item. Likely the bikes won’t be around long if they come at all.

  8. Sounds like the Japanese market. At $9500 usa pricing where would this leave we in Canuckistan ? Maybe Alberta could afford it after Wexit. Seriously not sure where this would fit. Price is not entry range, power is too high to race in the lower sport bike class. A HALO 250 ???

    • If it comes to Canada I will be first in line to purchase one. Why pay that much for a 250? Revving probably north of 20,000 RPM on a little screamer would be more satisfying than cruising along on a bigger machine. Insurance in Ontario usually is affordable for small displacement bikes despite power output. Even if a 600 cc is the same price to buy, the extra insurance would double total cost of ownership in a few years making the 250 a bargain for owners.

        • Your question can’t be easily answered as insurance is different in every province. It also depends on rider age, location, usage, driving record etc. In Ontario a long time rider with clean history in the suburbs might pay as little as a thousand dollars a year but a 16 year old might not be able to get insurance at all or pay ten times that. Smaller bikes will often be a third or quarter as much under the same conditions. Multiply the difference in insurance over a few years and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad paying extra for a really cool small bike compared to insuring a bigger bike.

        • Insurance in Alberta is cheap. For basic plpd I have a Ninja 300 and Honda VFR 800 for about $150/year. My 2010 BMW R1200RT with full coverage is about $400/year. My sister pays triple that in BC for a 2017 Yamaha FZ-07. When I had a bike in Quebec (94 R1100RS) the annual basic insurance was $1200/yr, which is why I sold the bike. They only want Can-Ams in Quebec. I believe that AB is the cheapest in Canada, feel free to chime in. Cam

          • I’m in Alberta and yeah, it’s sounding WAY cheaper than in the rest of the country. I’m early 30s, mc license for about 6 years with no training course, I have one other car insured as my main vehicle but I do use the bike to commute across town, and I have one or two tickets in the last few years. I pay for basic insurance on my 18 Tracer 900 just over $200/year. When I had smaller bikes like an R3 it was like $180 for the same coverage.

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