With the goal of introducing no less than twelve new models in the coming year, Kawasaki unveiled four more significant additions to its lineup on INTERMOT’s Media Day, Oct. 4.
Unveiled by Kenji Tomida, president of Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), each machine reflected Kawasaki’s approach to the demands of European customers in a complex and ever-changing market.
First up was the new Ninja 650, making its European debut. The media got an upclose look at the new trellis-style frame, twin-cylinder water-cooled engine – tuned for low and mid-range power.
As a stylish and practical answer to the needs of a growing European enthusiasts, the Ninja 650 offers both performance as well as daily commuting versatility, according to the company.
Moving to liter class high-performance machinery, the company unveiled a new addition to its line of supercharged motorcycles, the Ninja H2 Carbon as well as updates for the street-focused Ninja H2 and track-only Ninja H2R.
The Carbon edition, which is limited to 120 units world-wide, features a carbon fiber upper cowl, a new paint treatment and – like its H2 and H2R siblings for the 2017 season – an IMU measuring 6 degrees of machine attitude and a raft of electronic rider aids such as Kawasaki’s innovative cornering management function.
In addition, each of the three bikes is now equipped with a bank angle display that records and displays the rider’s lean angle.
Maintaining the liter supersport theme, a new racing focused bike was shown for the first time. With only 500 units to be sold in Europe, the Ninja ZX-10RR pulls from its racing heritage, including a modified cylinder head ready to accept racing camshafts, a new crankcase arrangement made more durable for racing and an accessory option of adjustable head pipe and rear pivot point. The ZX-10RR is predicted to sell well to Superstock and Superbike race teams.
The Ninja influence was maintained with the introduction of a third bike unveiled during Media Day, that being the 2017 Z1000SX. The bike is equally adept at hard sports riding as it is as a weekend tourer and it is further refined for 2017.
Kawasaki’s SX package produced a new machine with silky smooth power delivery, more rider protection thanks to a wider cowling and higher screen plus plusher seating for both rider and passenger.
Revised suspension settings and such additions as LED headlamps and an adjustable gear shift light enhance the “sportiness” of the SX, while the assist and slipper clutch and easily adjustable rear pre-load mean that all day riding either alone or with passenger is simplicity itself. With the addition of clean mount panniers, the SX is transformed into a consummate weekend tourer able to cross continents and yet ready for sporting fun upon arrival.
Tomida reiterated Kawasaki’s commitment to the European market at INTERMOT and also said the company was exploring new technologies for motorcycling.
“We are investigating the possibility of motorcycles that have what you might term a personality and can grow along with the rider,” said Tomida. “Using an Emotion Generation Engine and a Natural Language Dialogue System, this AI-controlled system can understand and interpret the rider’s intent and emotional state.”
“Enabling rider and motorcycle to communicate and share an understanding of purpose will open the door to a new world of unprecedented riding experiences. Eventually both rider and motorcycle will be able to improve and grow, offering an all-new kind of riding enjoyment.”