2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki takes the next step in the struggle to find that perfect balance between displacement, performance and affordability with the new-for-2018 Ninja 400. This all-new ride delivers the aggressive styling that one expects from the Ninja family with a host of improvements over the previous generation. More power, less weight and a mature presentation should hold the new Ninja in good stead in the highly-competitive small-displacement sportbike market that serves as the main battlefield in the contest to instill some brand loyalty in the increasingly important Millennial buyer base. It appears that the Ninja 300 is going by the wayside as the factory tries to unload the 2017 300s with a discounted price tag, so it’s probably safe to say the 400 is the replacement ride; at least in the U.S. market. After a race to the bottom, it looks like Kawi has decided the sweet spot lies somewhere uphill for American riders.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX / H2 SX SE
Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 made a splash when it hit the market last year, and if you missed the window-of-opportunity to score one of the first-run models — or perhaps it was priced a tad out of your range — then I have some good news for you. Introducing the Ninja H2 SX and H2 SX “Special Edition.” Brand new for 2018, the H2 SX line presents itself as a sort of hypersport-next-door with large-ish windshield and relaxed rider’s triangle as part of the comfort-oriented features package. This new line adds a dose of “super” to the sport-touring genre with its supercharged four-banger that cranks out a generous 101 pounds o’ grunt with enough electronic fandanglery to help you tame the beast, or at least protect you from yourself somewhat. Commuter or ’really’ fast tourbike, the SX siblings cover a lot of everyday-riding ground for riders who are looking for more than run-of-the-mill performance. Is it too much? Let’s dig in and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki H2 SX and H2 SX SE.
2016 - 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic / 900 Classic LT / 900 Custom
Kawasaki created its Vulcan line back in 1984 in an attempt to capture a slice of the American cruiser market, and it is still alive and kicking in 2018. The family includes a trio of models from the boulevard bruiser “900 Classic” to the heritage-style “900 Classic LT” and the home-cooked “900 Custom.” A 900 cc, V-twin mill and 600-plus pound curb weight put the range firmly in the mid-size cruiser category and give it the mass one expects to find an American cruiser.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Vulcan 900 Classic LT and Vulcan 900 Custom.
After Yamaha, Kawasaki is high on three wheels
We saw Yamaha’s fancy new Leaning Multi-Wheeler (LMW) launched at the 45th Tokyo International Motor show last year. A stunning three-wheeled machine called the Niken which is based on the hugely popular MT-09 platform.
Crazy as it might sound, it looks like the Niken is slowly feeling the heat of the competition. And it is coming from none other than its green nemesis, Kawasaki with a new electric-powered concept.
Coming hot on the heels of Yamaha acquiring leaning front-end technology from the Norway-based Brudeli Tech Holding AS this week, Kawasaki has teased the J concept motorcycle/three-wheeler in all seriousness. And it comes with an “Attack mode.”
Kawasaki is planning to get back the four cylinder quarter-liter
TMC blog, an Indonesian automotive portal has published excerpts from an interview with Mr. Michael Tanadhi, Deputy Head of Sales and Promotion PT Kawasaki Motor Indonesia. There he confirmed that the Japanese brand is currently scouring for opportunities to develop a new four-cylinder quarter-liter, and we believe it will be a fully faired sportbike category.
2018 is here. And these top dogs are heading our way
Aspirin taken, ate some food, drank that much-needed water and took a hot shower. Hangover time is over and getting my head around the fact that I have to wake up early to work depressed me at first. But luckily the excitement brought with the launch of these new machines means we and I get to see them on our roads pretty soon, and I cannot wait to unveil the secrets they behold.
Unveiled at the back end of 2017, these hot machines give new life goals and expectations, not just for riders, but also to other manufacturers giving them no option but to up their game as well. Thanks to this, competition keeps getting hotter by the day, and we are ultimately rewarded with machines that beam innovation and technology.
Here are the top picks that are touted to take the market by storm in 2018:
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS
The race to grab a slice of the burgeoning Millennial market is heating up, and Kawasaki enters the fray with its sizzlin’ hot, retro-style Z900RS. Built as a tribute of sorts to the legendary Z1 superbike, the new-for-2018 RS packs a punch that does its predecessor justice with 111 horsepower ready to go with a twist of the mechanical throttle control. Suspension components are thoroughly modern as well, and at a glance, it seems Kawi has nailed the balance between nostalgia and nouveau with this ride. Modern performance and classic design are a common marriage nowadays, and Kawi is entering this market against some well-established competition so its success is far from ensured. Today I’m going to take a look at this retro-tastic Z900 variant to see if it really holds up the family name and is a viable competitor in the new millennial/hipster market.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z900RS.
Kawasaki’s 2018 Ninja H2 SX can see better in the corners
Every time I ride in the dark, be it in the city or the highways, I always wanted to see more ahead. Manufacturers have gone a great deal in headlight designing and have come a long way from halogen powered spots to the projector and the very recent LED powered multi-reflector beams.
State regulations also force manufacturers to maintain standards with illumination and light throw. Yet, there is always that ‘gray area’ in your light view you wished you did not have. Especially while tackling corners, where the edges of your light narrows as you lean.
Luckily manufacturers have a new trick up their sleeves to tackle this problem and Kawasaki shows it with their LED cornering lights on their brand-new Ninja H2 SX SE sport-tourer.
Kawasaki’s top dogs are US bound
The 2017 EICMA gave us a glimpse of what we can expect on our roads the next decade, and it sure looks exciting. Crazy looking concepts and technologically advanced machines filled the floor spaces in Milan, and the Japanese makers stole the show with Yamaha’s three-wheeled Niken and Honda’s tech-powerhouse, the Gold Wing traveler.
Kawasaki was not far behind. The Green Team put up a spectacular show with their gut-wrenching supercharged sports-tourer, the H2 SX, a fancy new superbike with a semi-active electronic suspension, the ZX-10R SE and the retro-classic Z900 RS.
Luckily for us, Kawasaki has decided that we deserve to drive them on our roads and are bringing all of them to the North American showroom floors.
Is the 2017 Kawasaki KX100 the right tool for your kid?
Pushing kids to a motorsport world is still at a nascent stage in across many parts of the world. Although it is widening its horizon, giving them the right tool to do so was difficult. Enter the Green Team from Japan.
Kawasaki introduced their smaller guys, the KX65, KX85, KX100 and KLX110 dirt motorcycles to cater to the young stars interested in dirt riding and want to make a career out of it. An ideal learning curve en-route to the big bikes. In return, Kawasaki has relied on its aspiring young stars to provide input to help develop winning products.
Out of them, the KX100 has proven to be the optimal choice for getting your kid begin a career on the dirt.
2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Kawasaki entered the 2017 model year with an eye toward the small-displacement adventure-bike market, and the all-new Versys-X 300 was its weapon of choice for this new front. The “X” joined the rest of the Versys adventure-bike lineup with the characteristic family flylines atop unique features all its own. Most apparent was the 296 cc engine attractive to riders looking to enter the adventure world as well as the young adults emerging as the new generation of pragmatic buyers.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Versys X-300.
Images: 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe - in the details
Unwrapped at the ongoing EICMA show, Kawasaki had a wardrobe makeover for the Z900RS retro motorcycle to give us the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe.
The Cafe is not much different. Its underpinned by the same mechanicals as the standard RS but gets the obvious headlamp cowl, scalloped lower seat that is ribbed and lowered bars to give it a sportier progress and feel.
And that beautiful looking lairy green and white paintjob, a reminiscent of the KR250/500 of the late ’70s. It compliments the blacked out frame, forks, footpegs wheels and engine to give out a bold appearance. Enough for it to stand out amidst the rest of the Cafe-Racers flooded in the market.
Kawasaki gives the Z900RS a café racer treatment
Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. Now, the same guys have gone ahead and given it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.
Unwrapped at the ongoing EICMA show, the wardrobe change has made the standard RS the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe.
Kawasaki adds electronic suspension to its new member of the ZX-10R class
With their bikes dominating the WSBK championships, we can see the direct impact of this on their street products. With the integration of technology and electronics from their motorsport experience, they have continuously pushed the limits for better handling and a thrilling ride experience along with ground-breaking technology catering to the rider’s needs.
One such addition is the semi-active suspension unit that the folks from Kawasaki have equipped their new 2018 ZX-10R variant. Suffixed as ’SE’, the bike sits right in the middle of the ’R’ and the ’RR’, and is ready to slay the competition.