The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R is a crazy machine. Maybe not quite as crazy as the small-displacement screamers from the heyday of sport bike design, but still crazy enough in a world of tightening regulations and budget-focused OEMs.
Of course, we know that the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R was made for markets where the Kawasaki Ninja 400 was too expensive to own, primarily because of taxes, insurance, and licensing structures.
This is also part of the reason why the 50hp 250cc machine doesn’t come to the USA or Europe, but instead finds a home in the Asian markets.
Now, we get word that rumors have begun about an encore to Kawasaki’s craziness – a four-cylinder 400cc machine that could be called the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R.
The rumormill begins in Japan, where the suggestion is being made that the ZX-4R will be built off the ZX-25R platform.
That is an interesting nugget of news, as even with some overboring to the head on the inline-four engine, the 250cc motor would need a massive amount of stroke added as well, in order to hit the 400cc displacement.
Despite this nearly square cylinder design (the 250cc engine is very oversquare with its 50mm x 31.8 mm proportions), the bike could make between 70hp-80hp, which would make it a potent lightweight-class motorcycle.
As we have seen from the Ninja ZX-25R, Kawasaki can build the bike with plenty of performance (electronics, weight, and power), for a semi-reasonable price.
Doing just basic currency conversions, the ZX-25R would cost close to $8,000 in the USA, which is too much for the quarter-liter bike to sell well on US soil. But, a 400cc variant shouldn’t cost too much more, and that starts making sense price-wise in the Western markets.
Could the ZX-4R be Kawasaki’s answer for the markets that didn’t get the ZX-25R? That remains to be seen. Right now, the bike is just a good internet rumor. Hopefully there is some fire to this smoke, though.