Kawasaki MY 2021 - What’s new, what’s updated and what’s coming?

The ZX-10R and ZX-10RR is the big headline for Kawasaki coming into 2021... but it might not be the only big new launch for the New Year after all

Kawasaki teased a plethora of new models prior to a November launch and while the result wasn’t quite as substantial as we may have hoped, there is still some exciting new metal to look forward to.

Here is what we can expect from Kawasaki and its model range in 2021… and beyond!

Superbikes, Supersport and Hypersport

The big news coming into 2021 is the launch of the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR sportsbike, which has been given a refresh to keep it competitive against new opposition from Honda’s CBR100RR-R and Yamaha R1, which arrived on the scene over the last 18 months.

Though much of the ZX-10R has evolved around an engine that remains the same with just over 200hp, the ZX-10R instead boasts an interesting new look with the sharp snout and flat sides said to improve aero, stability and braking - handy especially if you’re eyeing a seventh consecutive WorldSBK title in 2021…

Having stolen the headlines last year, the supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 ‘hypernaked’ gains a new SE trim to give it some more luxurious, touring qualities in the same vein as the SE-equipped H2 faired equivalent.

Meanwhile, since most of the sportier models in the Ninja range - the ZX-6R, 650 Ninja and 400 Ninja - were updated last year, they remain unchanged into 2020 to provide good value, high-revving thrills, while the base 125 Ninja has been updated with new 2021-style WorldSBK liveries.

Sports Tourer and Adventure

If you have your eye on a big engine Sports Tourer from Kawasaki, better be quick because the ZZR1400 is out of production and there are rumours the H2 is heading the same way.

If so, that’ll leave the Ninja 1000 SX as the flagship long-range angled Kawasak in the range - which is no bad thing necessarily - though it is very ably backed up by the super versatile Versys, which makes use of new Skyhook suspension for 2021 to help iron out those bumps.

One big rumour doing the rounds though is January will see another new model bow (which may explain why November’s wasn’t as substantial as hoped) with many pointing to a KLX650 finally arriving to rival the Yamaha Tenere 700. Watch this space…

Naked, Cruiser and Classic

Kawasaki’s ever popular Z naked range remains largely unchanged in 2021 beyond a few more colours to choose from on the model palette, meaning you can still get good value, stylish motoring with the Z900, Z650, Z400 and Z125.

Though not the Vulcan isn’t in the first flush of youth, the Cruiser could get a big power boost in 2021 amid talk of a new ‘H2’ version using the same supercharged engine as the Z H2. 

On the Retro front, the Z900 RS and Cafe style models will continue turning heads into 2021, as will the relatively young elegant variant W800.

What can we expect from Kawasak in future?

With barely any models ‘soldiering on’ in the Kawasaki range thanks to a rapid turnaround of updates motivated by Euro5, there remains some question marks as to what we can expect from Kawasaki in the near future.

Certainly, alternative fuels seem to be occupying its head space with the Endeavour electric model seemingly making rapid progress down the development process, while we seem close to an electric-petrol hybrid powertrain being added to one of the firm’s models fairly soon to bridge the gap towards zero emissions.

As we mention, an expanding down the off-road route seems likely given the success its counterparts are having in that area. If a KLX650 is on the way, then we’d hope to see a 1000cc variant some time soon too, perhaps as part of a Versys replacement since that model is perhaps the next big one to be getting a major overhaul.

Elsewhere, we should find out more about its plans for Bimota and also Meguro, which has been revived as a standalone brand for more premium retro models like the K3 (based on the W800).

Then of course there is WorldSBK… can Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea make it - count them - seven consecutive titles in 2021? 
 

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