Kawasaki 250 four: update

Showdown between twin and four-cylinder prototypes

THE idea of Kawasaki building a new 250cc four-cylinder sports bike in the mould of the old ZXR250 is a mouth-watering one – at least for riders of a certain age who may have owned or pined for the original screaming baby four-cylinder.

Recent rumours suggest just such a bike is under development, and the latest update is that a decision will be made on the machine’s future by the end of this year.

All the work on the bike is said to be going on in Indonesia, where Kawasaki has significant manufacturing facilities and where any new 250 is expected to be made. It’s also likely to be the largest market for such a bike thanks to a combination of massive tax penalties on anything larger than 250cc and an increasingly wealthy population crying out for higher performance from their sports bikes.

The latest information, coming from the sources of usually-accurate Indonesian motorcycling blog TMCblog.com, is that  a new 250cc Kawasaki is definitely under development but that both twin-cylinder and four-cylinder versions are being worked on simultaneously. The development work itself is said to be happening in Indonesia, and later this year both designs are to be presented before Kawasaki’s bosses in Japan, who will make a final decision on which to build.

Unsurprisingly, the work is understood to be a reaction to Yamaha’s new parallel twin R25, which is sure to take a big bite out of Kawasaki’s Ninja 250 sales in the massive Indonesian market. TMCblog suggests that Kawasaki wants its new machine to be revealed in 2015, presumably as a 2016 model, giving just one year between the decision about the engine configuration and the start of production.