While the new supercharged Z H2 and retro-styled W800 grabbed the spotlight in western markets, Kawasaki quietly dropped a bombshell for its Asian customers, announcing a new four-cylinder Ninja ZX-25R at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Kawasaki had long been rumored to be working on small-displacement four-cylinder sportbike, long enough to have evolved from rumor to myth. Many people, ourselves included, didn’t think it would actually happen, but it’s true.
The Ninja ZX-25R is powered by a liquid-cooled 249cc DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder engine mounted in a high-tensile steel trellis frame. Kawasaki didn’t provide any performance figures, but it’s a good bet the ZX-25R will be the most powerful 250-class sportbike every produced. Kawasaki does say the engine provides abundant torque at low and medium speeds with strong power at the high end.
The ZX-25R may be small on displacement, but it’s been outfitted with parts typically found on much larger bikes such as its siblings the ZX-10R and ZX-6R. The front suspension is a Showa Separate Function Fork – Big Piston (SFF-BP) front suspension, similar to the unit on the ZX-6R. The front wheel has a radial-mount monoblock caliper (claimed to be a first for the 250 class), likely from Nissin. Dunlop supplies the Sportmax GPR-300 tires.
Kawasaki also provided the ZX-25R with a number of electronic aids including selectable power modes, traction control, a quick shifter and ABS.
At the moment, it looks like the ZX-25R will only be offered in Asian markets such as Indonesia and Japan, just like how Honda has done with its twin-cylinder CBR250RR. The odds of the bike coming to the U.S. are slim, unfortunately, but we still can’t help but admire Kawasaki’s moxie in actually producing the ZX-25R.