Kawasaki’s supercharged four-cylinder engine

Is this the motor for a next-gen superbike?

HERE’S Kawasaki’s new supercharged four-cylinder motorcycle engine – revealed today in Tokyo.

Details are scant. Even the capacity is currently unknown, although there’s something rather ZX-6R-ish about the motor’s castings. With Suzuki’s turbocharged 588cc twin-cylinder Recursion concept bike also on show, it looks like boost really could be coming back to motorcycles for the first time since the 1980s.

A modern, supercharged 600cc four could match the current crop of 1000cc normally-aspirated engines for power and torque while saving fuel, weight and space.

Kawasaki’s official text on the motor is as follows: 'Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. also has a long history of developing technologies for turbine engines. The lifeblood of these turbines is their blades, which need to be able to cope with extreme heat and vibration while spinning at high speeds. Know-how from years of designing turbine engine blades was instilled in the first supercharger developed by a motorcycle manufacturer. And of course, designing a motorcycle-use supercharged engine in-house means that maximum efficiency could be pursued.'

Not much to go on there, then, but this remains one of the most interesting developments at the Tokyo show so far.