A few days ago, some images began floating around reportedly depicting a supercharged 600cc Kawasaki expected to be called the “Ninja R2.” But just like we did last week with a design patent for a 125cc Honda Monkey prototype, we’re going to explain why these reports probably aren’t true.

But before we get there, let’s consider the parts of the story that contain some element of truth. Firstly, we know that Kawasaki is working on more supercharged motorcycles to follow the H2 and H2R. Kawasaki hinted as much, revealing concept sketches of two supercharged models: the café racer-styled SC-01 Spirit Charger and the SC-02 Soul Charger roadster (pictured below). We also know Kawasaki has filed trademarks for the name “Ninja R2.” From this, we can infer that Kawasaki is at least considering a smaller-displacement supercharged sportbike to slot in beside the H2 and H2R.

111715-kawasaki-soul-charger

Last week, British blog Morebikes.co.uk published the diagram seen above, with a fairly over-the-top story using words (in all-caps so you know this is A REALLY BIG DEAL) like “first,” “supercharged,” “all,” “will” and “exclusive.” Morebikes claims these images were received exclusively from Kawasaki’s legal department, lending credence to the story, resulting in other websites all over the world republishing the story without much scrutiny (did we mention Morebikes also used exclamation marks?).

The truth is, these diagrams were from a Kawasaki patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month that can readily be found by anyone with an internet connection (so much for “exclusive…”).

While the patent does describe a supercharged motorcycle, there is nothing contained within it that specifies that it uses a 600cc engine as Morebikes posits. In fact, patents typically avoid mentioning specific details like that, as the actual engine displacement isn’t important for the purposes of the patent.

The 600cc assumption seems to stem from the illustration sharing some similarities with the ZX-6R. That’s because the picture is of a Ninja ZX-6R, from 2005-2006 to be exact:

092616-2005-kawasaki-zx-6r-ninja

The big giveaways are the underseat exhaust and the swingarm design, elements that make this “new” design a decade old. Note too that the patent illustration at the top shows the ZX-6R’s twin-spar frame while other drawings in the patent application illustrate a trellis frame.

092616-Kawasaki-supercharger-patent-fig-4

Kawasaki likely used the 2005 ZX-6R only for illustrative purposes, probably because the design of an actual design hadn’t been completed yet. The USPTO patent application is actually a refiling of the original Japanese application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty which streamlines the process of filing patents in multiple countries. While this patent was published by the USPTO this month, the application itself was filed Oct. 3, 2013 in Japan.

Judging from the date of the application filing, the patent is more likely for the H2 and H2R rather than a newer model. The inventors listed on the filing, Hiroshi Ishii, Daisuke Saeki and Tomo Yamamoto, are also credited for other patents resulting in the H2 and H2R’s fairing and chassis designs. Those patents were filed in November 2013, not long after this alleged R2 patent was filed, suggesting they were developed in conjunction.

Based on the evidence at hand, we conclude that that this patent is not for a new supercharged R2 supersport but more likely for the existing H2 and H2R. Key elements of the patent describing the placement of the supercharger and the way part of the fuel tank runs under the seat are also present on the H2, and the patent’s goals of incorporating a supercharger without increasing the size of the motorcycle are just as important for a literbike as it is for a supersport.

As for the R2, Kawasaki is likely still considering it. Judging by the Soul Charger and Spirit Charger sketches, we’ll likely see production models based on those concepts before we see another supercharged sportbike. And when Kawasaki does introduce a Ninja R2, be sure that MO will be lining up to be among the first to test it.

  • halfkidding

    Supercharging mid and small displacement bikes makes a lot more sense than the liter sized H2. In theory anyway. In the market ,why buy a 600 that performs like a liter bike if it weighs as must and costs as much or more than a liter bike? Where is the niche?

    Then this is a supersport bike, a dying breed. Well how about ‘sport touring’ or ‘adventure’ 600 or 750 that has the HP of a 1200? Well the same thing applies as to cost and weight. Modern 4 stroke high performance engines are so light, small and reliable why make a smaller displacement engine that is a big and heavy as the one it’s supposed to challenge or replace?

    Then again I’m the guy who thinks the Honda CX650 turbo should never have been abandoned. Too bad Guzzi never tried forced induction.

  • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

    I’m going to patent the use of the word “literally” as a superlative. I’ll literally make a lot of money.

    • Andre Capitao Melo

      I literally just died reading your post.

  • Randy Darino

    maybe this is reverse psychology and your trying to make us think those drawings are fake.hows that for a conspiracy theory?

  • frod

    Morebikes are terrible at attempting journalism. Every single one of their posts seems to be a SCOOP or EXCLUSIVE, whether they are ripping off other publications or not. I live in the UK, but I read motorcycle.com because that’s where the good articles are.

    Any tips on riding around California? Going there for 3 weeks this November and planning on hiring a bike for the whole time 😀

    • Kevin Duke

      Where in Cali will you be? It’s a big place, y’know?!

      • frod

        Ha, I bet! I’m ready to be impressed :)

        Plan so far is LA – Yosemite – Las Vegas – Salt Lake – San Fransisco – LA, all in 3 weeks… doable?! I hope so!

        • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

          It’s doable. Just plan accordingly. It’d be a shame to travel that far and not ride some of the best motorcycling roads in the U.S. because you had a 5-day bender in Las Vegas.

        • Kevin Duke

          Plan a couple days in L.A. so you can do the Santa Monica Mountains around Malibu and The Rock Store, plus Angeles Crest and Newcomb’s Ranch. Also Glendora Mountain Road and Asuza. Then Hwy 33 out of Ojai to Lockwood Valley Road. Then the Sierra Mountains are packed with great roads to ride on the way to Yosemite. Plenty of great stuff around San Fran, too. You’d better plan to stay for a month!

        • Old MOron

          Let us know when you’re in Hell A. it would be great to say hello and share a few miles.

          When you ride in SoCal, you’ll quickly acclimate to our endless summer weather, but when you head into Yosemite, be prepared for cold as you gain elevation. You should be okay in November, but you never know when a winter storm will hit. You also need to watch out for black ice, particularly in the mornings and in shaded areas. Check the weather report every day. https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KMMH/2016/11/29/MonthlyCalendar.html?req_city=Yosemite%20National%20Park&req_state=CA&req_statename=&reqdb.zip=95389&reqdb.magic=1&reqdb.wmo=99999

          • frod

            That’s awesome advice, thanks! Would be well up for meeting up and doing some nice miles, we’all have to take this to some private convo of sorts maybe? Cheers!

          • Old MOron

            Are you in contact with California riders or clubs? Or are you reading published guides and looking at google maps? I’m happy to offer tips and suggestions, but you may want consider more than the ramblings of a lone MOron.

          • Old MOron

            Hey Frod! Did you ever make it to California? Are you here now? Want to meet up somewhere? Time got away from me. I hope you’re having a good visit!

          • frod

            I did! Currently in Lake Tahoe, looking to go San Francisco way tomorrow for a couple of days and then down the PCH back to LA. Trying to find somewhere cheap enough to stay in SF!

          • Old MOron

            Hmm, San Francisco is an expensive town. I’ll ask my friends if they have any tips. I haven’t lived in that area for more than ten years, but if things are similar to the way I remember them, you might find accommodations in the Mission district that are reasonably priced and reasonably safe.

            Let me know when you plan to be in Hell A. Let’s say hello.

            PS: now that I think about it, I stayed at this place a couple of years ago: https://goo.gl/maps/owyaSSPH1x72

            I don’t recall how much it cost, but it was sort of a no-frills place, so I think it must’ve been reasonable. It’s relatively far from the downtown attractions (about 7.5 miles), but it’s near the park and the ocean.

          • Old MOron

            Send me a quick missive at old.moron@mail.com

  • kenneth_moore

    The only forced-induction “scoop” I’m interested in is Suzuki’s announcement that they’re building the Recursion, it’ll be in dealerships by Christmas, and we’ll get 120hp in a 480 lb bike for $7,999. Plus shipping, set up, and sales tax.

  • john burns

    What?! Cycle World says it’s legit!!

    • denchung

      Must have been the all caps.

  • Steve Waller

    Another thing to remember is that patent applications are published 18 months after filing of the application so the drawings are already a year and a half old by the time these “scoops” are published. The drawings in a patent application are also just illustrations of something that happens to incorporate whatever feature is claimed in the patent and do not have to be something that is ever actually made or represent any real product.

    • denchung

      Not necessarily. Some patent applications can be published sooner and some later for a variety of reasons. As for the drawings, inventors typically use what they have available to illustrate. Sometimes they use older designs if it’s not essential to the patent itself, but sometimes they are closer to the finished product because those designs are also being patented at around the same time. Typically, more details included in the drawings suggest something closer to an actual physical product.

      • Steve Waller

        OK, but generally applications are published 18 months after filing, rarely much sooner. I advise my clients to use generic and general illustrations without too much unnecessary detail because otherwise they might disclose something in one patent application that they may want to separately patent in a later application. Also illustrations for a patent application are not at all suitable for a design patent/design registration. By the way, I have been a patent attorney for 25 years!

  • Old MOron

    Great sleuthing, DC. I love this MOronic coverage.