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Kawasaki’s Radical Three Wheeled Superbike

Concept J Moves Forward Another Notch

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First seen in 2013, Kawasaki’s Concept J took motorcycle design to the next level, with three wheel layout, shape shifting riding position and electric power. New details are emerging about the futuristic technology.

Kawasaki’s Radical Concept J is Not Dead Yet

Kawasaki's Radical Three Wheeled Superbike
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Kawasaki Concept J Introduced radical new leaning three-wheeler to the world. Electric power and shape-shifting chassis

Back in 2013, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Kawasaki debuted two new technologies, one of which would enter production and one that is still being developed.

The supercharged in-line four engine would go into production as the H2 sports bike. The radical Concept J motorcycle was clearly just that, a concept, but Kawasaki hasn’t abandoned the idea.

Kawasaki's Radical Three Wheeled Superbike
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One Handlebar Per Wheel
Separate handlebars mounted on twin swing arms, move independently of each other in the corners

Featuring a three-wheel layout and an electric motor, it’s most radical feature was its shape-shifting chassis. Twin front swing arms were connected to individual handlebars so that, when cranked over in a corner, the bar connected to the the inside wheel rises and the other bar drops. Kawasaki has applied for many patents for the system in the intervening years.

To prove that the concept is not dead, a recent Kawasaki strategy document featured a three-wheeled superbike, albeit as a small illustration of future technology. Earlier this year, patent application documents were filed showing a revised version of the twin front swing arm set up.

Kawasaki's Radical Three Wheeled Superbike
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Electric Power on the Concept - But initial production models could be powered by supercharged H2 engine

While the Concept J was electric, could the latest version use the supercharged H2 engine? It would be a logical choice given the weight penalty the front suspension system and twin wheels would have. The latest patents show a tubular steel frame, similar to that of the H2 and mention a ’gasoline engine’, not that an electric motor has been completely discounted for now.

Kawasaki's Radical Three Wheeled Superbike
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Front End Concept Interchangeable - Could be mounted onto any existing chassis, with the headstock being used as the shock mounting

It appears that the front twin-wheel suspension has been designed to fit onto an existing frame, with the traditional headstock re-purposed as a front shock mount, which is mounted horizontally. When the bike leans, the shock is not compressed at all, but when the wheels move in a vertical plane, the shock is compressed.

Kawasaki's Radical Three Wheeled Superbike
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Patent drawing show details of working principles. SWIPE UP TO READ MORE <<<<

Of course, the million dollar question is when will we see it in production? There’s no way of telling. With the 2021 Tokyo Motor Show cancelled, it won’t be seen there but there is a chance that the refined concept might make an appearance at the EICMA motorcycle show in late November.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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