Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. announced on its official website that it will be revealing six new 2022 vehicles on Oct. 5, with another three motorcycles to be revealed Nov. 23 (which would fall during EICMA).
All nine vehicles (eight motorcycles and one Jet Ski) are pictured, each under a cover, with a countdown timer ticking away the minutes until the Oct. 5 reveal. It’s also worth noting that announcement is only for Kawasaki U.S.A., meaning some of the models may have already been revealed for other markets. The Nov. 23 reveals are more likely to be world premieres.
Though it is tempting to form hypotheses by analyzing the shapes of the covers, it’s important to note that they appear to be completely digital, Photoshopped onto profile shots of motorcycles. The pattern of folds on the bikes in the front row are far too similar to be a coincidence, with just a bit of tweaking to make them look a little different (the middle two on the front row in particular are nearly identical but for a bit of airbrushing around where the mirrors stick out).
The parts of the motorcycles we do see, however, are more telling of what to expect. Of the eight motorcycles, we can only see a portion of the front wheel on five of them, and part of an exhaust system and rear wheel of another. The two motorcycles next to the Jet Ski have wire spoke wheels, with the nearest one sporting knobby tires.
These small glimpses, plus a look at what Kawasaki has and has yet to reveal for 2022, plus some information from other sources, we can make a few educated guesses as to what they will be.
We expect one of the models to be confirmed Oct. 5 to be the Z650RS. Kawasaki has been teasing the retro version of the Z650 across its social media networks in international markets, with reveal set for Sept. 27. Kawasaki’s U.S. accounts, however, have not been taking part in the teaser campaign. As we’ve previously reported, Kawasaki has submitted emissions certification data with the California Air Resources Board, as well as with the U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration for a motorcycle with the model code ER650M, which we believe to be for the Z650RS.
This would explain why Kawasaki’s U.S. arm is not taking part in the international teaser campaign: Kawasaki U.S.A. wanted to save the Z650RS reveal as part of its larger model reveal on Oct. 5 instead of the Sept. 27 date shown in the teaser videos. The wheel spokes on the motorcycle at the back of the front row appear similar to the wheels on the Z900RS, so we suspect that is a placeholder for the Z650RS.
Speaking of the Z900RS, the third motorcycle from the back in the front row also has similar wheels, but in a golden hue. We suspect this to be the Z900RS SE that was revealed last month for Europe, with a special “Yellow Ball” paint scheme and gold-colored wheels.
In between the two suspected RS models is a motorcycle with a front wheel that resembles the front wheel of the Z900. Kawasaki already announced the 2022 Z900 for the U.S., so we suspect this is the SE version announced earlier this week in Europe. The Z900 SE offers similar upgrades as offered on the Z900RS SE, including Öhlins suspension and Brembo brakes. The Z900 SE also has green striping on the rims; it’s hard to tell for certain with the lighting and resolution of the teaser image, but the striping on the front wheel appears to have a slight greenish tinge to it.
The two wire-spoked models are a bit more difficult to figure out. Looking at what 2021 models Kawasaki hasn’t confirmed yet for 2022, the one with the street rubber looks similar to the W800. The one with the off-road tires is a bit of a mystery, as all of Kawasaki’s 2021 motocross bikes have already been announced, except the KX 100 which was replaced with a KX 112. The only 2021 off-road or dual sport that hasn’t been confirmed as yet is the KLX 230, so that could be a possibility.
As for the three models in the back, we suspect they will be three high-profile models that will be shown at EICMA. The nearest bike is the only one we can spy details from, but what we do see looks similar to the Ninja 1000SX.
One of the others, we suspect, will be an updated H2 SX. Kawasaki made an arrangement back in 2019 with Bosch to be the first Japanese manufacturer to offer radar-based cruise control. It’s been nearly two years and we have yet to see a radar-equipped Kawasaki, but we suspect it’ll be shown at EICMA. The model most likely to get that technology is Kawasaki’s big-ticket sport-tourer, the H2 SX.
As for the last model, we expect it will be a Ninja ZX model. None of Kawasaki’s ZX models have yet been announced for 2022, and EICMA is a logical spot for such a reveal. The ZX-10R and ZX-10RR already received a major update last year, leaving the ZX-6R in need of an update. With the World Supersport class about to receive a shake up to add new models, it’s possible the ZX-6R’s cheater displacement of 636cc will be allowed to compete under the new rules. If so, an updated model would make a lot of sense.
Of course, it’s possible we missed the mark on at least a few of these, so we’ll have to wait until Oct. 5 and Nov. 23 to see what Kawasaki has in store. Let us know if you have any other guesses for what lies under the tarps.
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