Kawasaki has confirmed it will be heading to this month’s EICMA show in Milan with as many as three new models to showcase – so what can we expect from the Japanese manufacturer?
Kawasaki played its part in revealing the star of EICMA in 2019 when it not only confirmed it had bought a significant share of the historic but embattled Bimota, it joined the Italian marque in revealing the high-performance Bimota TESI H2, based on the Kawasaki H2 hypersport.
With Bimota again expected to make the most of the home stage by revealing more about its future plans, Kawasaki will no doubt do its bit to attract headlines with as many as three big unveilings being plotted for the 25-28 November event. We base this, crudely, on the Kawasaki USA website showing three shrouded models on a website banner with five formerly covered, but now revealed models in the foreground.
As for what they are, Kawasaki is giving little away but there are rumours a new generation Kawasaki ZX-6R could appear after the current generation rather suspiciously disappeared off price lists earlier this year.
However, speculation has cooled in recent weeks amid teams competing in next year’s WorldSSP with Kawasaki machinery intimating it will be with the current ZX-6R. Alternatively, the event could see the debut of a much rumoured Kawasaki ZX-4R, essentially a European version of the Asia-only Kawasaki ZX-25R four-pot screamer.
While one motorcycle in the shot certainly has sportsbike proportions, assuming these are clues as to what lies beneath, a taller model stands alongside it in a rough form of the Kawasaki Versys adventure-sports tourer.
A revised version appears to have been confirmed by the filing of documents for a Versys 650, usually a sure sign that changes are on the way. While the specifications remain relatively unchanged, it would suggest that the biggest alterations are likely to come on the surface.
Indeed, it’s worth pointing out Kawasaki has gone to the effort of announcing minor tweaks to much of its range, including the Versys 1000, but has thus yet omitted spotlighting a 2022 MY version of the 650.
A refresh will be long overdue for the machine, which was launched in 2015 and has faced an onslaught of new challengers in that time, including the Yamaha Tracer 7 and the new Triumph Tiger Sport 660.
Will Kawasaki reveal its first electric motorcycle at EICMA?
The third and final unveiling, however, could be the most significant.
Certainly more than any other major manufacturer, Kawasaki has been ramping up the rhetoric about its road map for the future with regards to alternative fuels in recent weeks
Having confirmed plans to have its entire range electrified or using fuel by other means by 2035, Kawasaki has been working hard on two important prototypes – the Endeavour pure electric EV and another unnamed model using a Hybrid powertrain.
While it is possible both models might be present in some form at EICMA, the latter is expected to be closer to production. It is designed to both ease the transition to full electric and give consumers a model that – by using electric power at below 30mph – would be eligible for use in cities with a ban on CO2 polluting vehicles in urban environments.
Though Kawasaki will no doubt be stealing itself for cynicism in line with the current resistance to the impending shift to electric, a launch in 2021 places it well ahead of its major rivals and prepared when as technology improves and opinion inevitably shifts.