Are Kawasaki planning a retro naked version of the anticipated ZX-4R?

Kawasaki’s anticipated ZX-4R could also be joined by a neo-retro naked version with the same 400cc inline-four-cylinder motor.

Proposed Kawasaki Z400RS render by Young Machine. - Young Machine

KAWASAKI is expected to now bring two 400cc four-cylinders soon, with a Z400RS being rumoured to be released in addition to the already anticipated ZX-4R. 

We reported back in March on the prospective ZX-4R mini-supersport from Kawasaki. It is likely to remain only in Japan in order to avoid having to adhere to Euro5 emissions regulations, and now it appears that the Akashi marque is planning a naked bike with the same heart, according to Young Machine.

With an expected power output of around 75 horsepower, Kawasaki’s four-cylinder 400cc would offer a similar output to a Yamaha R7 or Aprilia RS 660, as noted by Soy Motero. But a screaming four-cylinder undoubtedly offers more raw excitement than a rumbling twin.

That is not to put the R7 or RS 660 down, but anyone who has watched the ‘New Gen’ supersport races - either on the world level, or even in national championships like BSB or MotoAmerica - will be able to acknowledge that the sound of the screaming four-cylinders more traditionally associated with supersport-class racing offer a sharper, more striking sound than, for example, the twin-cylinder Ducati. 

Further down this line, smaller-capacity four-cylinder screamers howl at an even higher rate, and this was highlighted by the Trick Star ZX-25 R, modified to reach 250kph.

Kawasaki, then, would certainly have an advantage in the audial area with their proposed new 400cc bikes. 

As Young Machine notes, Kawasaki already has a model into which the new 400cc engine could be transplanted, in the Z650RS. Some changes would have to be made to house the smaller motor, but the tubular chassis and neo-retro aesthetics could remain for a Z400RS developed in this way.

Renders by Young Machine certainly point to a neo-retro look, in line with other recent releases, like the Honda Hawk 11, and even the Yamaha XSR125 Legacy. 

Like the ZX-4R, a Z400RS would not be expected until 2023, and there is a decent likelihood that it would not come to Europe, because of the aforementioned Euro5. But, it is exciting to think about. 

Images courtesy of Young Machine.