Kawasaki’s electric motorcycle prototype has gears...

During the EICMA show, Kawasaki Motorcycles unveiled a very unique electric motorbike prototype for 2020; An E-bike with gears. 

Kawasaki’s electric motorcycle prototype

Kawasaki - never one to miss out on joining a party - has finally unveiled that they've been developing an electric sports motorcycle. 

The e-bike was revealed at EICMA with no clothes on, so we could see all of its internal techy bits. What makes this electric motorcycle so different is the fact it has gears! Four of them to be exact. This might not sound revolutionary, but most real motorcyclists love the fact that changing gears involves you in the ride. And as such, such a feature could lead to more conventional riders favouring such a design.   

To add to this, Kawasaki has mimicked the engine cases of a petrol-powered motorcycle. Again, trying to bridge the gap between two very different [and opinionated] motorcycle markets.   

Prior to the EICMA reveal, a video was released on the Kawasaki YouTube page showing the bike fully clothed and silently zipping down a race track. 

The video features an interview with Yoshimoto Matsuda, Kawasaki R&D’s senior manager of the Innovation Department. 

In the clip, Matsuda explains that Kawasaki has been working on this machine since the early 2000s and that the prototype has the next-generation power unit. 

Upon closer inspection, the prototype bike seems to to have quite a few bits nicked from the Kawasaki parts bin e.g. the LH switchgear, mirrors from a ZX-6R and so on. But there are some new additions, such as the ‘thumb brake-activated regenerative braking system. Pretty funky. 

Now, the big question that’s on everyone’s minds is how much power does it have? Well, judging by its average preload-adjustable Showa forks and rear mono-shock, and fairly average flyby on the race track, I would say around 46hp or 35Kw. 

The reality is the e-bike market appeals not to the horsepower junkies, but to those who want to get to from A to B most efficiently. Building a high power, premium, race-focused superbike makes no sense. A lighter more accessible electric Ninja 400 - which can be commuted on - does.  

What do you think of the newly unveiled Kawasaki EV prototype?