Kawasaki has teased it will launch a new ‘ZX’ sportsbike in the coming days, expected to be the world premiere unveiling of the new UK and Europe-bound Kawasaki ZX-4R.
Kicking off what is expected to be a busy ‘launch season’ period for Kawasaki as it prepares to announce its first electric and hybrid models at the 2022 EICMA show, while the Japanese firm has been busily developing its ‘Team Green-er’ ethos, it hasn’t abandoned its roots with a new addition to its iconic sportsbike line-up.
For now, all we can be certain of is that a new ZX-badged Kawasaki will drop in a couple of days, on 1st October 2022, as confirmed in a preview on its social media channels.
However, since Kawasaki tends to not make a fanfare out of minor updates or new colourways, all signs point towards the model - the unveiling of which has been delegated to Kawasaki Indonesia - being the brand-new Kawasaki ZX-4R.
The model comes after several months of rumours, which only gathered pace when the moniker was spotted in registration documents, with the ZX-4R essentially being a global specification version of the Asia-market Kawasaki ZX-25R ‘pocket rocket’.
A model we Europeans have coveted since its launch in 2019, the ZX-25R certainly makes a noise with a lively 50.3bhp four-pot engine screaming all the way to 17,000rpm.
Alas, pesky emissions regulations on this side of the world were always going to stop the ZX-25R from making the trip here unaltered. Nevertheless, Kawasaki has heard our cries and attempted to soothe us with a larger capacity, more environmentally friendly version in the form of the ZX-4R.
While details of the model are relatively scarce and won’t be confirmed until the covers are pulled off, the Kawasaki ZX-4R is expected to feature a bored-out version of the 249cc ZX-25R inline-four, coming in at around 399cc.
Though this puts a damper on some of the ‘shriller’ aspects of its original form, the ZX-4R is expected to be similar in performance and design.
That means you can expect the same aggressive, sharp ZX-signature looks, though we will have to wait and see whether it adopts the same - slightly divisive - sunken family face of the flagship ZX-10R.
As for rivals, the ZX-4R doesn’t have too many direct competitors in a sportsbike category that has diversified in the wake of models like the Yamaha R6, Triumph Daytona and even the firm’s own ZX-6R falling by the wayside in the dwindling mid-weight range.
Instead, the ZX-4R could be measured as a more cost-effective rival to the Aprilia RS 660 or even the Yamaha R7, which is more powerful but definitely considered more of a ‘warm’ sportsbike. Similarly, the Honda CBR650R is more powerful, but not considered as rip-snorting a sportsbike.
At the other end of the scale, the ZX-4R is similar in engine size to the KTM RC390 and Yamaha R3 but is likely to be more powerful, thus putting it more on a par with the Honda CBR500R.