LET’S face it, riders of a certain age all long for a return of the superlight, high revving heydays of the import 400s. It’s a call that Kawasaki recently picked up on, with the ZX-25R Ninja launched in Asia in 2019.
The call is also being answered by the Chinese motorcycle industry, which is casting off the shackles of a reputation of building low-tech small capacity motorcycle engines, as it flexes its multi-cylinder muscles.
The engine in question is being built by Colove, a Chinese motorcycle maker that also goes under the name of Kove. It sells everything, from KTM Duke lookalike naked singles, enduro and rally machines, and parallel twin adventure bikes that are evocative of the Honda CB500X.
The new unit you see hear though doesn’t seem like a natural fit with any of those bikes. It is in the early stages of development at the moment, with only CAD design images floating about the ether. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting looking engine.
Normally an engine in early development like this would mean a lack of specs and info, although that is not the case here. The prime numbers in this equation are 400cc, 75hp, 44Nm (32.5lb-ft), and peak power delivered at 13,500rpm.
The high-revving nature of the engine comes from an over-square design, boasting a 36.5mm stroke and 59mm bore. The top-end features double overhead cams and four valves per cylinder.
It isn’t yet known what bike the engine will be making its debut in, although following Kawasaki’s lead with a headline-grabbing sport bike wouldn’t be a bad thing.
It’s rumoured the bike and engine will break cover at some point in 2022.