By Dennis Chung
The motorcycle rumor making the rounds this week is that Kawasaki is working on a Ninja ZX-4R, a 400cc four-cylinder sportbike based on the ZX-25R currently offered in Asian markets.
The ZX-25R was revealed almost a year and a half ago, though like all things, it certainly feels longer thanks to the pandemic. The quarter-liter Ninja was created for markets like Indonesia and Japan, where insurance and licensing class structures create a demand for 250cc sportbikes. With most bikes in the class powered by Singles and Twins, the four-cylinder ZX-25R immediately stands out.
In other markets, however, the ZX-25R made little sense as it would be seen as being two small, and likely too expensive for its size. A 400cc version, however, would be a better fit, and could be sold at a price point that would meet market expectations. That’s what makes this week’s rumor of a ZX-4R version of the ZX-25R so appealing.
Like most rumors involving the Big Four, this one seems to have started with Young Machine, a Japanese publication known for its renderings of motorcycles that have not been officially revealed. YM’s post was speculative in nature, discussing the possibility of a ZX-4R and how that could be achieved. What it didn’t claim was any inside knowledge that confirms a ZX-4R was in development. That hasn’t stopped a number of publications from running with the story, turning speculation into rumor without a shred of proof.
Well, we’ve got that proof, in the form of a Kawasaki patent that confirms that the company has been working on a ZX-4R. The focus of the patent is a fairing design with an integrated duct to redirect air around the radiator and header pipes and directly to the engine itself.
The first illustration in the patent isn’t what you’d …read more