Kawasaki ZX-4R existence revealed in patent filings... but will it come here?

The Kawasaki ZX-4R is revealed in patents to confirm its existence - will it come to Europe to provide some rivalry for the Aprilia RS 660 

Kawasaki ZX-25R

Patent filings purporting to be the much discussed - but as yet to-be officially confirmed - Kawasaki ZX-4R have surfaced, lending weight to the rumours of another ZX-badged sportsbike coming to Europe

Talk of a fresh addition to the Kawasaki’s iconic ZX sportbike range came courtesy of Japan’s Young Machine - an authority anything emerging from the ‘big four’ of Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha - earlier in the month, revealing a 400cc version of the ‘screaming’ Asia-only ZX-25R was in development.

However, in a bit of expert sleuthing from our esteemed contemporaries at Motorcycle.com, they have not only unearthed patents that indeed show a 400cc sportsbike but suggest the ZX-4R was actually the original plan all along, with the ZX-25R then being adapted from its base.

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This suggests Kawasaki paused the ZX-4R in favour of prioritising the ZX-25 to get it out in its domestic market but if Young Machine are to be believed, development of the ZX-4R is now underway.

As for why the ZX-4R is next in Kawasaki’s model plan can be explained simply as Europe and US getting the option of a race-bred, lightweight and nimble sportsbike that offers a few more thrills than the great value, but rather more modest Ninja 400.

Indeed, the mid-weight sportsbike class is in a state of flux right now and the ZX-4R could be marketed as a rival to the recently launched Aprilia RS 660. It would also potentially become a range-plugging replacement of sorts for the ZX-6R, which stands alone in its current bracket now the Yamaha R6 has been discontinued, with Kawasaki expected to follow suit.

However, if Kawasaki does plan to trace Yamaha’s approach, then it could develop a ‘ZX-7R’, allowing the ZX-4R to slot neatly in between while the ZX-10R tops Kawasaki’s esteemed sportsbike line-up.