It has been a quiet 2021 for Kawasaki, the Japanese firm eschewing big headline grabbing launches in favour of mapping out its alternative fuel future, leading the way in fresh tech and giving its existing range a few nip-and-tucks to fend off newer rivals.
It is why its presence at EICMA was reduced to a refreshed Kawasaki Versys 650 and a tech-laden update to the Kawasaki H2 SX SE, plus of course the stylish new Kawasaki Z650 RS.
However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been beavering away behind the scenes, announcing at EICMA that the first products of its shift to adopt electric, hydrogen and hybrid technology will be unveiled in 2022.
It is not neglecting its existing range either with talk from Japan suggesting it is readying yet another new member for its popular ‘Z’ naked range, the Kawasaki Z250 ‘R’.
While 250cc models emerging from Asia are ten-a-penny, this Z250 would have a major advantage over its myriad rivals… a four-cylinder engine. (Ed: Given there is a parallel-twin Z250 in existence already, we have added an ‘R’ as our entirely unofficial, working title…)
Though the notion of a four-pot 250cc model is certainly nothing new if we’re going back a few years and decades, the low capacity ‘screamer’ style isn’t so much in evidence these days, with buyers certainly more conscious of cheaper, more day-to-day style urban runarounds.
Even so, Kawasaki are experts when it comes to engine technology and it has refused to let the four-cylinder engine go to the wall, already popping a 249cc 43.5bhp, 17,000rpm unit into the Asia-only Kawasaki ZX-25R.
A Z250 version sounds like a lot of fun too, but much like the ZX-25R, which makes sense in Asia where emissions regulations aren’t quite as tight as they are here, any four-pot Z250 will likely remain on those shores.
However, there is talk it could be adapted up to 400cc to follow on from the much rumoured – but as yet unconfirmed – ZX-4R… we’ll wait with intrigue.