A New 4 In-Line 250cc Kawasaki Ninja Rumored

1989 Kawasaki ZX250R 1 photo
Photo: Kawasaki
It looks like the small-displacement sport bike market is gradually expanding, especially in the Eastern markets. Indonesian motorcycle media have recently gotten wind of Kawasaki planning the return of the 250cc Ninja, but in a more classic trim: an almost forgotten 4 in-line cylinder layout, most likely coming with a really high red line and packing enough power to take things into the dangerous zone of motorcycling.
Now, the Western markets are already waiting for the new generation of the 250 and 300cc bikes from Yamaha and Honda, expecting them to add serious competition for the Ninja 250 and the new Ninja 300 which will replace it. A very popular bike up to two decades ago or so, small-displacement have been slowly phased out in the North American and European markets as customers had gotten the taste for increasingly bigger and more powerful motorcycles.

However, the crisis brought the small-displacement machines back into the spotlight, with their very economic fuel consumption and fairly decent performance given the small profile of these bikes, all coupled with significantly lower acquisition and maintenance costs. Still, the modern small-displacement bikes rely on parallel twin or single-cylinder lumps, as the 4 in-line architecture seemed to be too complex.

Now, if you’re wondering why choose the 4 in-line design for the quarter-liter machines… ask yourselves why almost all the MotoGP bikes are similar, save for Ducati and Honda. And why Suzuki dropped the V4 in favor of the in-line 4. And why most supersport machines are also in-line beasts, and so on… The amazingly high revs allow these fairly small engines to produce substantial amounts of power, and this means more bang for both the buck and per cubic centimeter, which is always a good thing.

The old 250 ZXR was redlined at a mind-boggling 19,000 revs and capable to produce around 45hp, which is a noticeable improvement over even what the current 300cc Ninjas can do. Add in modern fuel injection and all the technological advances in the last 20 years or so and you’ve got yourselves a real crotch rocket, a smaller one, it’s true, but a real one nevertheless.

In case the house of Akashi shows up with this new Ninja, it will sell like hot cakes in the Asian markets, dominated by under 250cc bikes and with huge taxes for bigger displacement machines (75% above 500cc in Indonesia, where the rumored bike could be manufactured).

So, what do you think: how cool would a 250cc, 50 hp sport bike look?
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