Kawasaki confirmed it will launch six new 2021 models for North America, with an updated Ninja ZX-10R expected to be among them. A timer on Kawasaki U.S.A.’s website ticks down to Nov. 23 at 6 am PST for the big reveal. A teaser video and images show six models under cover, with clues hinting at dual sport models and sportbikes. [UPDATE: Kawasaki Europe says it will also announce new models on Nov. 23, as well as some on Oct. 12. Because of market differences and PR departments running things, it’s possible some of the models from next week’s European announcement may also be part of the later announcement for the U.S.]
The teaser images show just a bit of six models’ wheels but we should caution against putting too much stock into their shapes. Kawasaki has been known in past years to use placeholder images, and a couple of the bikes shown here are clear copy and paste jobs of each other. Taking the images at face value, three of the models have wire spoke wheels and the other three have cast wheels.
The first model featured in the video is a dual sport, as the footage shows wire spoke wheels and knobby tires moving from a paved to unpaved surfaces.
The second bike is also shown with wire spokes but the tires are much smoother. The accompanying footage shows close-ups of a race track with a lot of debris and tire marks. Taken together, the clues suggest a supermoto.
The video groups the third and fourth bikes together, which suggests two similar models with slight variations distinguishing them. The two bikes are paired with aerial shots of a race track
The fifth model is also accompanied by track footage, but judging from the foliage and lighting, it looks like a completely different circuit than in the previous shots.
Based on the shots of various terrain and an open highway, the final bike appears to be an adventure touring model. In the screenshot above, we can easily identify a beak-style front fender and a tall windscreen.
Looking at Kawasaki’s returning 2021 models released this week, almost all of the 2020 lineup has been confirmed with bold new graphics. The most glaring omission is the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R, which makes it an obvious candidate for one of the six new models, and a higher-spec ZX-10RR could be another.
All of Kawasaki’s other 2020 Ninja bikes, from the Ninja 400 to the Ninja H2R have already been announced for 2021, as have their naked siblings from the Z line. The Z1000, however, has been absent from the U.S. lineup since 2016. With the Ninja 1000SX getting updated last year, a new Z1000 sharing the same underpinnings would be a logical fit.
The W800 was among the returning models but its Cafe and Street variants were missing. Neither model fits the imagery in the video, and it’s more likely they are being withdrawn from the 2021 lineup. The KLX250 was also not confirmed for 2021, and a replacement could be a candidate for the first bike in the teaser video. A new KLX250SF supermoto version could also make sense for bike #2.
As for the ADV model, we see a few potential options. One candidate people have been hoping for is a Versys-X 400, using the engine from the Ninja and Z 400s. The Versys-X 300, however, has already been announced for 2021, so we can probably rule that theory out. Another option is a more off-road capable Versys 1000 (Versys-X 1000 perhaps?). The big Versys is a fine sport-touring model, with the latest technology (including a new-for-2021 Showa Skyhook Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment system), but a more adventure-worthy version with wire spoke wheels including a 19-incher up front – that sounds interesting!
Another possibility is a replacement for the much loved but departed KLR650, which, unlike the Versys lineup, actually had a beak. A modern KLR would be welcome for fans of the bike, last offered in the 2018 model year.
We have a while to wait before Kawasaki reveals these six models on Nov. 23. Until then, let us know what you hope to see from Team Green.
Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.