Kawasaki planning a supercharged Z900?

Artist's impression of a modern Kawasaki Z900

Kawasaki is looking to a supercharged future and may even bring back the venerable 1970s Z900 model, but with a forced-induction engine.

The Japanese manufacturer has recently trademarked the Z900RS name and the internet is buzzing with rumours it will be supercharged.

Car and Bike website released the above drawing of what they think it would look like. We love the look, but doubt Kawasaki would get the classic feel. It will probably be more modern like their supercharged H2.

2016 Kawasaki Ninja H2R supercharged - Z900
2016 Kawasaki Ninja H2R

Kawasaki also plans to extend theirBalanced Supercharger Engine Technology to smaller models, including an 800cc bike, called the R2, which sounds dangerously like Yamaha’s R1.

Supercharging an engine makes it more efficient for fuel economy and exhaust emissions, but it also generates more power.

While the Ninja H2 managed 200hp, the 800cc R2 is expected to be not too far behind in horsepower.

Kawasaki has also trademarked the name R2R which possibly means a track-only version like the H2R. 

Whatever, it may be the start of a new range of mid-sized bikes that have all the power of the litre class, but are more economical and meet the harsher European and Californian emissions standards.

Last year, the Japanese manufacturer unveiled drawings of two more supercharged concepts, but Kawasaki is not the only manufacturer looking at a forced-induction future.

Suzuki Recursion - Katana turbo - supercharged - Z900
Suzuki Recursion

Suzuki unveiled its turbo-charged 588cc parallel twin “Recursion” concept sportsbike in 2014 with 75kW (100hp) and 50% better fuel economy than a 600cc sportsbike.

It hasn’t gone into production yet, but clearly manufacturers are looking for ways to meet emissions targets and still satisfy the power-hungry market.

However, Italian marque Bimota unveiled a supercharged Impeto at the 2015 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan powered by a 120kW 1198cc Testastretta engine from the Ducati Diavel. So not all manufacturers are looking at supercharging just as an answer to government controls.

Bimota Impeto supercharged - Z900
Bimota Impeto

Forced induction was popular, but short-lived, in the early ‘80s thanks to expense, weight, and a lack of reliability and rider control.

Today’s turbos and superchargers are much more sophisticated, user-friendly, smaller/lighter and cheaper.

2 Comments

  1. Why the w800 didn’t hit the u.s is beyond me. But I am excited for this bike supercharged or not. I loved the inline four back in the older models simply cause they were bullet proof and I do love the old look on this bike hope Kawasaki lives up to it with these models hopefully it will hit the u.s pllllllease release these in the states

  2. I was one of the people who got very excited about the introduction of turbo bikes back in the ‘80s, only to be very disappointed to find out that they were pointless gimmicks. We repeatedly hear that modern turbo systems are better and lighter, but some facts remain. Having a turbocharger or supercharger doesn’t mean that you can have a lighter bike with the same power as a bigger bike. If a bike has 200hp the whole bike has to be built to cope with 200hp. If you boost a 600cc engine to have the same power as a 1000cc the whole bike has to be built like it is 1000cc. The cylinders, pistons and heads may be a little smaller and lighter but any weight savings will be lost by the addition of the turbocharger and its plumbing and control system, or by the extra weight of the supercharger, its drive system, plumbing and possibly an intercooler as well. So the only possible benefits would be reduced fuel consumption (which motorcyclists usually aren’t too concerned about anyway) and reduced emissions. If they can’t achieve those outcomes bikes with forced induction will once again be pointless gimmicks which cost more and most likely will be more expensive to maintain. Of course there are plenty of people who are willing to buy gimmicks.

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