Are we on the brink of a new era in superbikes?
KAWASAKI has announced that it will launch a new “ground-breaking” motorcycle at Intermot in Cologne on September 30.
Other than the name – Ninja H2 – the firm hasn’t released any definite details about the bike, but all indications are that it will be the machine that uses the supercharged four-cylinder engine the firm revealed at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show.
This is the full text of the firm’s press release:
'With cutting-edge performance recognised as a core element of the Kawasaki worldwide DNA, the company will showcase yet another ground-breaking motorcycle at the Intermot Motorcycle Show in Cologne starting on Sept 30th. A motorcycle “Built Beyond Belief”.
'Drawing on skills and experience from experts within not just the company’s motorcycle division but across its aerospace, gas turbine and other high-technology contemporary manufacturing disciplines as well, Kawasaki is anticipating huge international interest in the project that has evocatively been christened Ninja H2. Harnessing the power of the Kawasaki manufacturing group “collective strength”, the H2 will represent a unified engineering and state of the art technology approach.
'Capturing the spirit of the 750cc Mach IV H2 that, along with the 500cc three cylinder H1 and all-conquering 903cc Z1 Super Four, epitomised Kawasaki’s market defining performance image, the Ninja H2 project is set to add yet another name to the roll call of machines that embody Kawasaki’s performance and engineering expertise while changing the motorcycle landscape forever.'
The key part is the reference to the firm’s gas turbine and aerospace divisions. The same terms were used when the supercharged engine was shown last year.
That prototype motor appeared to be based on some of the same castings as the ZX-6R unit, but with the addition of a supercharger to boost power. The new ‘H2’ reference could be a suggestion that the final engine will actually be around 750cc. With a supercharger, the resulting motor would probably be powerful enough to destroy 1000cc normally-aspirated bikes in performance terms, while potentially being smaller and lighter. The implication is the sort of radial step forward that was last seen on the 1992 Fireblade and the 1998 Yamaha R1.
The firm has launched a teaser website which shows a few silhouetted elements of the bike, leaving no doubt that in terms of its shape it’s a proper superbike.
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