Kawasaki Debuts Supercharged Four-Cylinder Engine

11/20/2013 @ 1:39 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS


The start of the Tokyo Motor Show is today, if you haven’t already noticed, and it looks like the Japanese OEMs have saved their best models for the home court advantage this year, with all four of the Big Four having something special for Tokyo.

Yamaha’s big announcement of course is the nearly-ready-for-production Yamaha R25 concept, a 250cc two-cylinder sport bike that Valentino Rossi says “packs quite a punch.” The tuning fork brand also has its more fanciful concepts to show-off, chiefly the Yamaha PES1 electric street bike and the Yamaha PED1 electric dirt bike.

Suzuki is in the mix as well, with its turbocharged Recursion concept, as well as its electric monkey bike, the Extrigger concept. Both of these motorcycles look like a hoot to ride, for very different reasons of course.

Not wanting to be left out on the forced-induction warpath, Kawasaki has its own blower for the two-wheeled world. Showcasing a supercharged four-cylinder engine at its booth, Kawasaki says it developed the turbine and motor in-house, and hints that we will see this in a motorcycle model in the near future.

Details beyond that are scarce, with Kawasaki’s official party line being the following:

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. also has a long history of developing technologies for turbine engines. The lifeblood of these turbines is their blades, which need to be able to cope with extreme heat and vibration while spinning at high speeds.

Know-how from years of designing turbine engine blades was instilled in the first supercharger developed by a motorcycle manufacturer. And of course, designing a motorcycle-use supercharged engine in-house means that maximum efficiency could be pursued.

Still, it should be interesting to see what Kawasaki cooks up, as forced-induction bikes could pack some good horsepower into some small packages. Lighter, faster, stronger, harder…gentlemen, we have the technology.

Source: Kawasaki

  • Norm G.

    well what is this exactly, a supercharger? a belt driven pro charger? or a turbo charger? the first 2 technically don’t have turbines and I see a housing for a centrifugal impeller.

  • Zed

    A variation of Kawasaki’s learnings with supercharged multi cylinder jet skis?…..

  • MikeD

    I just hope they don’t start to downsize everywhere on their products.

    I’m cool with super/turbo charging and making engines smaller on the process while still making the same power/torque as the bigger one it replaces but some things (ZX-14R) just must be left unmolested.

    How about going smaller, ligther with a roots blower type for ” NOW TORQUE ” on the Concours 14 ? I bet the touring gang will welcome the maybe ? lighter, smaller, more compact, ” more MPG ” boosted smaller engine ?
    ( Take the above with lots of SALT as i have a bunch of doubts about making a supercharged 1000 lighter than the current N/A 1352 being economically feasible to warrant such R/D Costs, planning building, etc. )

    How about supercharging their cruiserS ? Super Charged new Mean Streak 1700 ? . . . (^_^)

  • Mitch

    Like MikeD suggests, I believe this may be a solution for a larger, heavier touring bike and perhaps a way to avoid/meet the Euro 6 duty cycle standard, moreso for a light or sport bike.

  • Painless

    About time. Naturally aspirated engines are rubbish. Why? Because all of the power is stuck at the top of the rev range or the engine has to have a huge capacity to compensate for the terrible power delivery. Finally we are coming out of the dark ages that the FIM imposed on us after WW2.

  • @Painless,
    Agreed, it’s interesting to think about how today’s bikes have been affected by the FIM’s post-war, conservative rulemaking that limited development in many areas.

  • paulus

    Now if only Suzuki will get around to mailing me the blower for my B-King…. it was there at the Tokyo show, but seems to have been forgotten :)

  • Agent55

    @Painless wow, that is a bizarre perspective you have there. I find plenty of small-to-medium sized NA motorcycles to have excellent powerbands and power delivery. And often when they don’t it’s because of lean-fueling due to regulation rather than the design of the powerplant itself. Maybe you’d prefer an electric if you despise having to build any revs to access power?

  • Bjorn

    A supercharged ZX10R motor in a naked bike will be fine thanks.
    Just park it over there and leave me to fondle myself with dignity.