Kawasaki seems set on reviving the small-capacity 4-cylinder market, with the firm announcing that a ZX-4R will soon join the forthcoming ZX-25R in its sport bike range.
The smaller ZX-25R was recently confirmed to (once again) be heading to Kiwi shores this year after the original order placed by Kawasaki NZ had to be cancelled due to the bikes not meeting NZ market requirements. Now the ZX-4R looks set to up the ante with even more power from its 399cc engine, although it has yet to be confirmed to be heading our way by Kawasaki NZ.
Unlike the existing Ninja 400 which uses a parallel-twin engine and comes as either LAMS-approved or full power, the ZX-4R is a revival of the small capacity supersport madness of the 80s and 90s with a screaming 4-banger between the frame.
The 399cc DOHC 4-cylinder engine is said to be good for nearly 80hp with the RAM air system in action with a peak power of 76.4hp at lower speeds where the airbox isn't pressurised. Like the small-bore inline-4s of old, the new engine is also a high-revving screamer with a rev limit of over 15,000rpm expected.
That frame is a modified version of the ZX-25R's high-tensile steel unit, which should mean razor-sharp handling when combined with the Showa SFF-BP front forks with preload adjustment and horizontal back-link rear suspension.
Kawasaki plans to release two versions of the ZX-4R into the wild with the two bikes primarily differentiated by their suspension. The ZX-4R SE will be the base bike while the ZX-4RR will be the up-spec version and will receive the same Showa BFRC-lite rear shock as the Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Braking power is pretty high spec with a set of 290mm semi-floating front discs and radial-mounted monobloc calipers for the front, while the rear uses a large-diameter 220mm disc.
Tech-wise the ZX-4R will feature both integrated riding modes that link KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control) and Power Modes, a dual direction quickshifter and a 4.3-inch colour LCD dash.
There will be four different rider modes to switch between - Sport, Road, Rain, and Rider (Manual), through which the rider can easily select the appropriate setting to suit the riding conditions and his or her own riding style.
Like the ZX-25R the 4R also integrates a track mode that displays lap times, gear positions, and RPMs from 10,000 rpm and above in an easy-to-read manner for track work. There will also be smartphone connectivity through the Kawasaki RIDEOLOGY app which will make for a variety of extra functions, including recording GPS route information and vehicle riding information.