Kawasaki USA and Canada are teasing the launch of two new bikes for Feb. 1, and although we don’t 100% know what they’re, we are able to make some educated guesses.
The only teaser picture on Kawasaki USA’s homepage depicts two Jet Skis and two bikes, all below covers with simply the slightest bits seen.
Not less than one mannequin is anticipated to be the 2023 Kawasaki H2 SX SE. Kawasaki Europe introduced an up to date model of the supercharged sport-tourer at EICMA, giving the H2 SX an computerized excessive beam, however it hasn’t been added to the U.S. lineup but.
The Auto Excessive Beam (AHB) makes use of sensors to detect the brightness of different automobiles and streetlights and mechanically switches on the excessive beam as wanted. The system operates solely in darkness at speeds above 20 kph (12 mph) with the dimmer/passing swap set to excessive beam.
Regardless of the European announcement, the up to date H2 SX SE has but to be confirmed for North America. It’s doubtless the delay was brought on by getting approval for the AHB below U.S. laws, and we’ll must see whether or not the expertise will probably be allowed.
Bike.com can affirm that the Ninja H2 SX SE will probably be coming to the U.S., AHB or not, because of car identification quantity information submitted to the U.S. Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration. The documentation confirms the H2 SX SE, with the mannequin code ZX1002R. NHTSA additionally has a producer communication on its web site dated Oct. 11, 2022, relating to directions to activate Kawasaki’s KVCS software program earlier than supply to prospects. The bulletin lists a number of fashions, together with a reference to a 2023 ZX1002R, additional confirming the H2 SX SE.
As for the opposite bike, we have now a couple of concepts. One risk is that it may very well be certainly one of Kawasaki’s new electrical bikes, both the Z BEV or Ninja BEV. Whereas we all know each bikes will probably be coming for 2023, we have now cause to imagine neither bike will probably be a part of the Feb. 1 announcement. For one, it appears extremely unlikely that Kawasaki will announce one however not the opposite. With the H2 SX SE virtually assured of 1 spot, we don’t imagine both the Z BEV or Ninja BEV will take up the opposite.
The opposite clue is within the teaser picture. Kawasaki USA has been utilizing an analogous picture to tease new fashions for a couple of years now, so we all know what to anticipate. The covers are sometimes placeholders Photoshopped over studio photos of the fashions. Whereas the designer clearly did a little bit of touch-up to stretch the covers to suit every bike, the final form of the folds are too much like be actual. Evaluate the brand new teaser picture to one from 2021, and the similarities are clear.
Whereas the covers are pretend, Kawasaki can be cautious to intentionally present sufficient of the particular bikes to present a sign of what they’re. You possibly can’t actually see a lot of the motorbike on the again, however there’s sufficient of the entrance mannequin to present us a couple of clues. We’ve brightened the picture under for a greater look.
Trying carefully on the rear wheel, we spot a inexperienced stripe on the rim and a part of a spoke. Kawasaki sometimes has some kind of striping on the edges of fashions with black forged wheels, and the inexperienced shade isn’t any shock for the model. The size of the stripe does inform us one thing, nevertheless. On most fashions, the stripe runs alongside virtually the whole circumference of the rim, however for KRT Version paint schemes, Kawasaki makes use of shorter stripes with longer black segments in between. This holds true, whether or not it’s the KRT version of the Ninja 400 or the Ninja ZX-10R. This means that the bike within the entrance is a sportbike, and will probably be supplied in KRT graphics just like the Ninja 650 pictured under:
The spoke design within the teaser can be fully completely different from the BEV fashions’ wheels. Each the electrical Z and Ninja prototypes are primarily based their respective 400 fashions, utilizing an analogous chassis and styling. However as a result of they’re powered by a modest 11 kW (14.8 hp) motor, they share wheels with Kawasaki’s much less highly effective fashions, just like the earlier Ninja 300 and the Ninja 125 that’s at the moment supplied in Europe.
Although we are able to solely see a part of the wheel within the teaser, it’s clear at a look that it resembles the design used on extra highly effective fashions, from the 400s as much as the Z900.
And whereas it’s attainable Kawasaki might swap out the wheels from the electrical prototypes for the manufacturing mannequin, it’s way more doubtless the wheels have been chosen to suit the anticipated energy output of the bikes.
We are able to most likely rule out current fashions just like the Z400, Ninja 400, Ninja 650, Z650 and Z900, as they’ve all already been introduced within the U.S. for 2023. As a substitute, we are able to anticipate a brand new mannequin producing someplace between the Ninja and Z400 fashions’ claimed 36 hp and the Z900’s claimed 92 hp, and certain a Ninja sportbike with KRT graphics. That leaves us with one intriguing risk: a Ninja ZX-4R.
Enter the Ninja ZX-4R?
We all know a ZX-4R is on the best way, since we first broke the information of a 399cc Inline-4 showing in 2023 car identification quantity (VIN) submissions submitted to NHTSA. Might we lastly see it floor on Feb. 1?
Although we aren’t 100% certain what the Ninja ZX-4R will seem like, there’s a superb guess it’ll carefully resemble the Indonesian-market ZX-25R and ZX-25RR (pictured under). The 250cc Inline-4 powering the ZX-25R claims an output of 51 hp at 15,500 rpm, which is a couple of horses greater than the Parallel-Twin Ninja 400, therefore the same wheels. A 399cc model of the identical Inline-4 could be much more highly effective, however nonetheless properly throughout the vary that will require the identical wheel spoke design.
The VIN submissions point out two variations of the ZX-4R. In contrast to the Indonesian fashions, we don’t anticipate a ZX-4RR mannequin, however fairly separate ABS and non-ABS variations. The ZX-25RR isn’t considerably completely different from the ZX-25R, with the additional R including a TFT show, higher-end suspension and KRT graphics. Kawasaki will have already got a slender goal vary to cost the ZX-4R between its current fashions; it makes extra sense for the U.S. market to make one mannequin with a selection of ABS.
We’re going to wish extra proof earlier than we are able to 100% affirm the ZX-4R is approaching Feb. 1. What provides us pause is that the teasers have solely been launched on Kawasaki’s American and Canadian websites, and a brand new mannequin as vital as a ZX-4R would most likely be teased in a number of markets as properly. There are nonetheless about 20 days earlier than the reveal, so these worldwide teasers should still come. In the mean time, nevertheless, we’re not fully satisfied, although the ZX-4R stays our prime candidate to hitch the Ninja H2 SX SE.
We’ll know for sure on Feb. 1, however anticipate Kawasaki to slowly launch extra teasers within the weeks forward.
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