With a vast booth covering all its brand families plus special features such as a Winter Test KRT Ninja ZX-10RR and Romain Febvre’s KRT KX450-SR, the core focus was naturally what is new for the coming year… and Kawasaki did not disappoint.
The Kawasaki booth played host to a considerable display of special Ninja 40th Anniversary Edition models with ZX-4RR, ZX-6R and ZX-10R machines in a bold white, blue and green ZXR inspired treatment while the Ninja 650 and Ninja 1000SX sat proudly in their 1985 inspired Ebony, Red and Silver livery signifying the second year of Ninja production commonly sold as GPz in markets outside the USA.
With many eyes – both manufacturer and customer – focused on the mid capacity class currently, it was fitting that Kawasaki would unveil a number of new machines in this hard fought sector representing diverse brands families.
The Eliminator 500 is new from the ground up complete with a long and low trellis type chassis plus a totally new water-cooled four-stroke motor able to deliver instant and engaging performance. With a low stance and laid back looks, the European A2 licence compliant machine is set to maintain Kawasaki’s presence in the entry level cruiser sector while the company also makes a splash with new naked and faired machines.
Adopting the same style of engine and chassis platform, the dual debut of the new Ninja 500 and Z 500 took place at EICMA. Again suited to a wide variety or riders – including those with an A2 licence qualification – the pairing of Ninja and Z machines was solid evidence of the Kawasaki desire to address both the naked and faired classes while delivering a broad product range.
A longtime stage to profile new and innovative products, Kawasaki once again focused on EICMA for a global unveiling of new technology. Following the 2022 EICMA announcement by company President Hiroshi Ito of the all-electric Z EV-1 and Ninja EV-1, the Japanese enterprise unveiled a second Strong Hybrid machine in naked Z guise to augment the Ninja 7 Hybrid recently launched in Barcelona to European and American media.
Sharing the same core technology between them, both the Z and Ninja 7 Hybrids table the tempting prospect of “three bikes in one”. Able to be operated as 100% electric powered machines, both bikes are equipped with a six speed semi-automatic gearbox allowing them to be ridden using either fully auto mode or handlebar selected manual gears in the Eco-Hybrid mode. Finally, the third Sport mode allows riders access to Kawasaki “E-Boost” for maximum acceleration by harnessing EV and ICE power at the same time plus manual gear shifting via paddles on the left handlebar.
From a practical perspective, Kawasaki’s Hybrid machines offer a walk mode (forward and reverse) as well as an idling stop function and ALPF (Automatic Launch Position Finder) seamlessly returning the transmission to first gear when slowing to a halt.
For 2024, the combination of existing and new models from Kawasaki distinguishes the brand that is celebrating 70 years of motorcycle manufacture as a company eager to highlight its glorious past and embrace a bold new and greener future – truly able and willing to “Change the Game”.