Tag

kawasaki Archives — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Review: 2020 Kawasaki W800

By | General Posts

by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com

A legend brought back to life.

The 2019 show season was a good one for Kawasaki. Not only did Team Green unveil the Z H2 as well as the updated Ninja 1000 SE SX+ and 650, but it also teamed up with Bimota to create the polarizing Tesi H2 prototype. As though that wasn’t enough, the manufacturer also introduced the W800, a stripped down, entry-level version of the W800 Cafe.

I remember vividly the collective gasp we had when the model was first unveiled. The clean and simple lines were a hit among the RideApart team. I even remember being just a little upset about the U.S. and Canada getting the bike in red rather than in the gorgeous shade of green we saw in Tokyo. My disappointment didn’t last long, however, and by the time I picked one up from the Kawasaki HQ, it was completely crushed by how charming the bike actually looked. More on that later, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

The year was 1965. While Americans and Russians were continuously outshining one another on the aerospace innovation front, Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers had an ongoing Space Race of their own. Instead of reaching for the stars, however, the Big Four were competing for the title as the maker of the most powerful motorcycle on the market.

The early- to mid-60s were also formative years for newly-formed Kawasaki Motorcycle Co—a new competitor on the motorcycle scene born from the fusion of Kawasaki Aircraft Industry and Meguro Manufacturing Company in 1964. Thanks to the solid foundations provided by Meguro’s 30-year experience with motorcycles, it wasn’t long before Kawasaki introduced its first big displacement bike, the W1, in 1965. The 624cc parallel-twin is credited for putting Kawasaki on the map as a big bike maker and a serious competitor to Honda and Yamaha. The W1 was followed by the W2, then the W3 before the badge was ultimately dropped in 1975.

Fast-forward 24 years and Kawasaki revived the nametag just in time for the new millennium. In 1999, the W650 became Team Green’s attempt to take its share of the retro-revival cake, going up against an old-school heavyweight, the Triumph Bonneville. The model sold in North America for a meager two years before lame sales caused Kawasaki to pull the bike from the States and focus on the European and Japanese markets instead.

The reality of emissions standards soon caught up to Kawasaki and, by 2007, the manufacturer had to bid the W goodbye once again. Thankfully, the company didn’t wait another quarter of a century to revive the venerable badge. In 2011, it introduced the new and improved W800. The parallel-twin was fully overhauled a met the then current regulations. The fun lasted for another five years before the European Union came knocking once more with new regulations on emissions. This time, the turn-around was much faster and after a short year off the market, the W800 made a triumphant comeback in 2018.

Interestingly, instead of introducing an entry-level model first and following up with more elaborate version, Kawasaki did the opposite got the W ball rolling once again with the W800 Café. The entry-level W800 came the following year as a 2020 model-year. 55 years later, the W continues to roll out of the same plant that first produced the W1—talk about looping the loop.

2020 Kawasaki W800
Engine: 773cc, four-stroke, parallel-twin
Transmission: five-speed
Performance: 52 hp/46 lb-ft
Brakes: 1 x 320 mm disc with two-piston caliper front, 270 mm disc with two-piston caliper back
Suspension: 41mm telescopic fork front, preload adjustable twin-shocks back
Wheels: 100/90-19” front, 130/80-18” rear
Wheelbase: 57.6 inches
Seat Height: 31.1 inches
Weight: 496 pounds
Price: $9,199

If you like the look of the Kawasaki W800 in pictures, wait until you see it in person—I have yet to find a photo that does it justice. The W800 is a handsome bike. The proportions are elegant and Kawasaki found the right balance of chrome and black so that the bike doesn’t look like a disco ball. The manufacturer has been particularly attentive to the small details that give the model its tasteful but not tacky vintage look. Features such as the peashooter exhausts, the round turn signals, the braced fenders, and the exposed bevel-drive camshaft were borrowed from the original W, the one that started it all.

There’s no fluff or luxuries involved here—the W800 has standard ABS and that’s about as fancy as it gets. The two big dials at the center of the headstock are your analog speedometer and rpm gauge. There is a small digital display that shows mileage, trips, time, and such in the left-hand side dial and the usual panel of warning lights in the right-hand side one. There isn’t even a fuel gauge to let you monitor your progress. Just like on an older bike, you either have to do a bit of guessing or wait for the fuel warning to turn on.

As a standard, the W800 is your run of the mill, easy-to-get and to ride-on type of bike. The ergonomics are relaxed; for my 5’8” stature, the knees were at a comfortable, almost-90-degree bend and the straight handlebar is easy to reach without having to stretch the arms completely. This is as standard—and as comfortable—as this type of bike gets.

The Ride

If you’re looking for a bike that stands out with a particularly spicy or spunky personality, then chances are the W800 will feel a little underwhelming. Keep in mind that this isn’t a bike meant to be flashy—it plays the understated card and it plays it well. There’s beauty in simplicity, and while the W doesn’t have the spark of, say, a Z, it does have a few good things going for it.

The engine note is my favorite part. As the Kawasaki representative put it when I picked up the bike and did the walkaround, the bike has a really rich note at low rpm. Then, around the 5,000rpm mark, the grunting engine evens out and becomes as smooth as silk. Sure enough, I started the engine and a nice, musical rumble echoed out of the peashooters. Having to hear that aria in parallel-twin at every take-off definitely made city commuting a delight.

In the city, the W behaves impeccably—not even the addition of an occasional passenger fazes it. It’s nimble and easy to whirl around in an environment where obstacles and traffic lights abound. The stopping power provided by the single discs front and back was efficient without being too mushy or aggressive—a good middle ground for a standard bike that won’t try to buck you off the saddle.

Despite weighing a healthy 496 pounds, the bike is easy to maneuver at low speed, or even to walk out of a tight spot. The steering is breezy and light in the hand, you don’t have to wrestle it into submission or convince it to make a turn.

Once you get on the highway, you get acquainted with the bike’s only real flaw. At a certain speed, I could feel the front wheel buffet, a feeling exacerbated by speed. If you wish to put a few hundred miles on the factory tires (hey: they’re “free” tires!) then adjusting your speed accordingly, below the 70-mph mark will help for a while. If you’re willing to spend the extra money, a good set of radials can make the bike virtually perfect.

The engine itself is irreproachable at any speed. Even cruising at highway speeds felt effortless and I barely even touched the fifth gear—the mill happily purred away in fourth around the 6,000rpm mark. Power is easy to manage, the gears are long (you only get five instead of the now-standard six) and the throttle output is nice and gradual. The clutch is light under the fingers and the gears are smooth as butter—just make sure you give the lever a good kick shifting from first to second, the travel between the two seems a tad long which means I often ended up in Neutral. User error, probably.

The Conclusion

A small part of me thought the W800 would have a little more personality. Just a little something-something to give it more oomph, like with the other Kawasakis. However, I was wrong to expect that of the W because that’s not what the bike is for. It’s the celebration of a legacy rather than something revolutionary. Did I smile while riding it? I did, so in that regards, it fulfilled its mission.

The W800 is designed to be simple, straightforward, and mostly to play nice. In fact, it’s so well-mannered that I could easily recommend it as a starter bike. Think about it: it’s easy to maneuver and easy to control which also makes it easy to learn on without being overwhelmed.

Personality-wise, it might not be the right fit for me. That being said, if I could justify owning more than one bike, I would own a W for its looks alone. If you decide to buy one, be ready to have people come and ask you about it because they will. It seriously is that pretty.

2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R: Everything We Know

By | General Posts

by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com

Return of the quarter-liter inline four.

Nowadays, putting a 250cc, four-cylinder engine in a motorcycle may look like weird strategy, however, the layout was a rather popular one in the 80s. It allowed manufacturers to meet strict Japanese licensing standards while offering customers high-power, high-revving engines. The trend phased out as small bikes were relegated to the use of single or twin-cylinder engines, leaving the four pots to be used in bigger motorcycles.

That was until Kawasaki decided to revive its four-cylinder Ninja 250, or ZX-25R. Rumors of the model’s return surfaced in June 2019, when Japanese outlet Young Machine reported on the possibility of a ZX-25R in the works at Kawasaki. A few months later, Team Green showed up at the Tokyo Motor Show with a little 250cc monster that stole everyone’s heart with its pocket-sized big-bore attitude. Here’s a look at everything we know about the 2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R.

Though Kawasaki has yet to reveal the new ZX-25R’s full specs, we’ve been drop fed information about the bike thanks to a series of videos that showcase its abilities. In one of those clips published by Kawasaki Indonesia, we get to watch WSBK racer Jonathan Rea whip the baby Kawi around the track in Jerez. That’s when we find out that the little 249cc, inline-four redlines at a staggering 17,000rpm—screaming note included.

As Rea tackles a straight, we also get to watch the ZX reach a speed of at least 162 km/h (100 miles per hour)—we say “at least” because in said video, Rea shifts into 6th gear as he reaches 100 mph at roughly 15,800rpm, suggesting that the bike can be pushed even further. We simply don’t have an official stop speed yet. The possibilities that the video suggests, however, are exciting.

Same goes with power figures—Kawasaki has been tight-lipped about official numbers. Early estimates suggest it should produce between 50 and 60 horsepower. For comparison, that means the 250 would make between 7 and 17 horsepower more than the Ninja 400.

What we do know about the model is that it’s built on a WSBK-derived chassis with a 37mm inverted fork at the front and a horizontal back-link suspension setup at the back. It will feature riding modes (identified as “Full” and “Low” in one of the videos) as well as Kawasaki’s proprietary traction control system and quick shifter.

We doubt the model will make its way to North America, only because of its placement and pricing within the lineup. The model recently launched in New Zealand where pricing was set at NZ$15,990 (US$10,430), making the smallest ZX on the market more expensive than a Ninja ZX-6R (in the U.S.). The model is gradually making its way West but where will Kawasaki draw the geographic line for the 2020 ZX-25R, we can’t say for sure. With a bit of luck, the European market will be deemed viable and we’ll only be a few-hour flight away from be able to try one.

Top Gun-Inspired Federal Moto FED-016 “Danger Zone” Isn’t Your Average Kawasaki

By | General Posts

by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com

Back in April, news broke out about Top Gun: Maverick. One of the most anticipated movies of 2020 has been pushed back to December 23rd instead of June 24th, morphing from a summer blockbuster to a Christmas blockbuster.

As opposed to the lovely GPZ900R from the 1986 original, Tom Cruise – or should I say Maverick – switches to a different Kawasaki in the sequel. To the point, he’s riding the Ninja H2 supercharged supersport motorcycle.

In keeping with the Kawasaki and Top Gun themes, Federal Moto came up with a one-of-a-kind motorcycle that started life as a GPZ1100. Named “Danger Zone” after the Kenny Loggings song, the bike has been treated to 3D printing and water-jet cutting to create an awesome-looking roadster.

The Chicago-based garage told Bike EXIF that “the commission came from an ‘80s kid. He’s based out of Ohio and only swears by Kawasakis and KTMs.”

Regarding the four-cylinder engine of the custom sportbike, Federal Moto didn’t cut any corners. The nut-and-bolt rebuild includes 3D-printed top covers, stainless-steel velocity stacks, and no fewer than four Mikuni carburetors from a KZ1000. Cone Engineering “Big Mouth” stainless-steel mufflers are also featured.

If you think the fuel tank looks familiar, that’s because it was transplanted from a Honda CB1100. The front forks are sourced from a Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa while Cognito supplied the steering stem, upper triple tree, and custom front-rim hub.

Finished in glossy black and Kawasaki Green, FED-016 as it’s also called, further flaunts a bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful seat. Dyna electronic ignition with Motogadget m.lock remote ignition, the m.unit control box, m.switch push buttons on the clip-on bars, and a Motoscope Pro gauge are also worthy of mention.

Custom fabrication includes the steel seat pan, the rear subframe and supports, along with the tail unit, LED headlights housing, and side covers. “We reckon Maverick would approve,” said Michael Muller of Federal Moto.

 

Kawasaki Z900 review: You don’t have to get your kit off and start a fight to like it

By | General Posts

by Geoff Hill from https://www.mirror.co.uk

It may be an evolution rather than a revolution, but the latest version of this popular naked streetfighter looks good and is tons of fun, with a great engine and a very attractive price tag

Question: A naked streetfighter is

a) A football fan after the bars shut in a nudist colony.

b) Someone who thinks that naked streets should be brightened up with those nice hanging baskets full of petunias.

c) The small green thing on which I’m hurtling around a corner with a smile on my face.

The answer, of course, is c – in other words, a sports bike which has been stripped bare of any fairings, folderols and fripperies to look more lean, mean and aggressive.

Or in this case, the latest incarnation of the Z900, a very nice 32,000 of which Kawasaki has sold since introducing it in 2017 as an evolution of previous 750 and 800cc versions.

To be honest, it didn’t really need to update this one apart from the pressure of Euro 5 emissions demands from Brussels, but the Kawasaki boffins thought they may as well take the opportunity to tweak a few other things while they had their sleeves rolled up.

They started with the aesthetics, reshaping the nose, side panels and fuel tank for a more aggressive look, and sticking in LED headlights while they were at it.

Thankfully, they didn’t muck about with the seating position, which, while slightly compact for anyone of 6ft 7in like me, is perfect for smaller folk, canting you forward slightly to leave your hands resting lightly on the wide bars and needing only the hint of a nudge to leave you carving into bends like a cornering craftsman or woman on their way to a BBQ for a bit of LOL.

It’s one of those bikes on which you only need to think of where you want to go, and you’re already there.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, admiring the new TFT screen, which although only 4.3n compared with some of the 7in monsters out there, shows all the information you need at a glance, including which of the four riding modes you’re in – Rain, Road, Sport or Rider if you want to reduce the ABS or the newly added traction control.

Or even switch the latter off completely if you like the smell of burning rubber in the morning, and your dad owns a rear tyre shop and gives you mate’s rates.

It being the sort of bright, sunny day which makes you glad to be half alive, I spurned Rain, since that reduces the power and I usually get bored with that after five seconds, and launched straight into Road. I know, call me a wild, impetuous fool, but my family motto is Carpe Diem. That’s Latin for Seize the Fish, since you ask.

Anyway, where was I before I interrupted myself again? Ah yes, enjoying the splendidly brisk progress, aided and abetted by a light clutch and slick gearbox and accompanied by a civilised snarl, like a well-brought-up lion.

With a bigger catalytic converter and exhaust, it definitely sounds better than the previous version to my ears, well tuned over the years by waiting for the rare sound of incoming cheques hitting the doormat.

The clutch and gearbox are so good that while a quickshifter would be a nice option, it’s not necessary and would remove that very attractive eight at the start of the price tag.

Time to switch to Sport mode with a quick press of the button on the left bar, and…there was no difference at all, since as I later discovered, all it does is reduce the traction control.

Either way, there’s so much grunt from the engine that you can quite happily spend all day in the top three gears.

With decent Nissin calipers and big twin discs up front, braking is great, although there’s poor feel and bite from the rear brake. Mind you, most sporty riders I know aren’t even aware that bikes are fitted with rear brakes.

The suspension, meanwhile, is nicely balanced between firm and plush, keeping the bike stable in corners but soaking up rough patches without having a panic attack.

All in all, looks good, loads of fun, great engine and a very attractive price.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the bars have just closed, so I need to get my kit off and go out to start a street fight.

The Facts: Kawasaki Z900

Sharp: Restyled front end gives it a more aggressive look

Engine: 948cc liquid-cooled inline four

Power: 124bhp @ 9,500rpm

Torque: 99 lb ft @ 7,700rpm

Colours: Grey/black; white/black; green/grey, black

Price: £8,899

Kawasaki Introduces 2021 KLX Off-Road Line, Keeps Prices Low

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Now that the months-long lockdowns imposed by the global health crisis are beginning to be lifted, people can once again start thinking ahead to a summer of adventure and fun. And what can be more enjoyable than taking a ride on a bike somewhere in the wild?

To help along with those dreams, the 2021 line of Kawasaki KLX off-road motorcycles for the American market was announced this week by the Japanese bike maker, with its share of surprises and most of the technology carried over from the previous version.

Whereas up until now the line of bikes was comprised of three distinct models, starting the new model year one of them has been dropped: as soon as the new family hits the roads, the KLX110 will no longer be available. Kawasaki said the KLX line will now consist of three bike versions, but using just two engine configurations.

The first is the KLX230R off-roader “purpose-built for serious fun in the dirt.” The bike is powered by a 233cc air-cooled engine linked to a six-speed transmission and manual clutch. It rides on full-size off-road wheels, measuring 21 inches front and 18 inches rear. Also equipped with long travel suspension, it will sell for $4,399 for the new model year, and it will become available at dealers in July.

The KLX140R comes in two variants, made different by the size of their wheels. The first is the 144cc-powered machine fitted with 17-inch front wheels and 14-inch rear, while the second, created specifically for taller riders, comes with 19-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels.

Both bikes are powered by the same 144cc four-stroke engine that comes with an electric starter and keyless ignition, and is linked to a manual clutch and five-speed transmission. Pricing for the KLX140R has been set by the Japanese at $3,149, and the two models are already available for purchase in the U.S.

After The Ninja And The Z, Is The Kawasaki Vulcan H2 Next?

By | General Posts

by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com

The God of Fire is getting a boost.

In 2015, Kawasaki introduced its first modern-day supercharged motorcycle, the Ninja-based H2. Four years later, the Z H2 hypernaked followed. What will happen next? After all, developing a new engine takes time, R&D, and funds, so when a new block is created, it makes sense for manufacturers to take full advantage of its potential. So, will Kawasaki simply stop there or will find other applications for its forced induction mill?

The answer to that could be the latter. Rumors from Japan suggest that Kawasaki could be about to shake things up in the power cruiser segment, supercharger style.

According to Japanese site Young Machine, there is apparently a Vulcan H2 in the works at Kawasaki. The model would, of course, use the same 998cc supercharged inline-four as its Ninja and Z siblings.

The speculations about a Vulcan H2 are connected to the rumor that Kawasaki is planning to overhaul its Vulcan lineup altogether. Considering the manufacturer would likely have to rethink the chassis to accommodate the supercharged engine, timing the new H2’s development with a lineup upgrade all makes sense.

Thai site MotoRival produced a render of what they imagine the Vulcan H2 would look like. Silhouette wise, the design seems inspired by the Vulcan S with the single-rider saddle, tear-drop tank, and elongated handlebar but the headlamp cluster is clearly borrowed from the Z H2 which creates a weird blend of modern and more classic lines.

This is only speculation as Kawasaki has neither confirmed or denied the rumor. According to Indian Autos Blog, if the manufacturer really is working on a (super)powercruiser, chances are we won’t see it for another couple of years. Whether you like powercruisers or not, the notion of a supercharged model is admittedly something we can be curious about.

Kawasaki Zundapp Is a Nod to a Bike Maker Few Remember

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

The name Zundapp has long left the motorcycle scene. The German bike maker arrived on the market a bit late compared to the competition, in 1917, and was open for business until 1984, when it went bankrupt.

As a result of both that, and the fact that the bikes they made were neither popular nor numerous, Zundapp may mean nothing to a lot of people. But there are some who resonate with the moniker, and go to great lengths to honor it.

What you see in the gallery above is a 2001 Kawasaki W 650, but it’s no longer called that, and it’s no longer stock either. The bike in this configuration is called Kawasaki Zundapp, as a tribute to Zundapp the company, and has been modified by a Paris based garage called Blitz Motorcycles.

The built was done on behalf of a customer who got the motorcycle bug on a Zundapp KS, a line of motorcycles dating back to the 1930s. And because Blitz is in the business of taking “a personal memory of the owner of the machine and find a way to include it in the making process of the new bike,” this was the idea that led to this creation.

The custom build called of course for the fitting of some special parts. The main added hardware is the fuel tank, sourced from a Zundapp KS model and fitted “as found,” without any visual modifications or repairs made to it, and only with functional changes made to make it fit on the frame.

The original frame of the Kawasaki was shortened by 3 inches, and the fork lost 1 inch from its length. The engine underwent a complete rebuild, a new chain was fitted, and a Triumph handlebar made its way up front.

We are not being told how much the process of making the Kawasaki look like this cost, but the result is a sight to behold.

Naked Kawasaki Ninja Turns Into Bronco Racer with Smoked Metal Body

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Back in 2014, a German motorcycle racing team known back then as Kodewa introduced the Lotus C-01 concept, a “menacingly retro-futuristic” two-wheeler with 200 hp coming from the engine of a KTM Superbike. Some time later, the concept inspired a custom build in the most unlikely of places.

Penned by Daniel Simon, the man behind vehicular designs in movies like Tron: Legacy, Oblivion or Captain America, and more recently the autonomous racing car that goes by the name Robocar, the C-01 was supposed to sell for around for €100,000 (roughly $110,000), but never managed to get into a serious production run.

It did inspire others into coming up with their own versions of the C-01. Somewhere in the Indonesian city of Bali there’s a custom bike garage that goes by the name of Smoked. The Lotus concept served as inspiration for one of the group’s builds, one they call Bronco Racer.

The starting point for the new machine was a naked 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R, more precisely the ER-6n variety. Around its frame, Smoked designed a new body and several other custom elements that make the Bronco the finished product you can see in the gallery above.

The metal shell of the build was constructed in such a way as to mimic that of the 2014 Lotus concept. It includes elements like fenders, panels, headlight housing and even the fuel tank.

The Ninja was perched on top of custom wheels, a new saddle has been fitted on it, and the paint choice was made in such a way as to mimic that of the inspiration bike. Some work had to be done to the rear frame, which has been cut and rebuilt as well.

No change was made to the engine, though. The motorcycle is powered by the stock 649cc (39.6ci) liquid-cooled engine that develops a little over 70 hp and 48.7 lb-ft of torque.

Kawasaki Starts Home Delivery Of Motorcycles, Spares And Accessories In USA

By | General Posts

by Satya Singh from https://www.rushlane.com

United States is the worst hit due to coronavirus pandemic, with more than a million confirmed cases and over 61k fatalities

As the lockdown continues to restrict auto sales, Kawasaki USA has announced that it will start home delivery of its vehicles, spares, accessories and apparel. Auto dealerships are shut in most places and people have been forced to stay indoors. There are also the ones who may not want to visit dealerships due to the high risk of infection.

In this situation, online sales and home delivery of products appears to be the only effective solution for auto companies. In India, online sales platform and home delivery option have been launched by various auto companies such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda, Tata Motors, MG Motor and Hyundai.

Kawasaki’s product portfolio in US comprises motorcycles, ATVs, utility task vehicles and jet skis. The company already provides online option to buy vehicle accessories, spare parts, maintenance products, apparel and gifts & collectibles.

For buying Kawasaki vehicles, customers will probably need to contact their nearest dealer. It is expected that the necessary formalities, paperwork, financing, and down payment will be processed online in coordination with the dealer. Once the deal is finalized, the vehicle will be home delivered to the customer.

Kawasaki will be working closely with its dealers across the United States to ensure that customers get the best vehicle delivery experience. The deliveries will be done in accordance with guidelines mandated by local authorities. Efforts will be made to ensure that the home delivery experience is just as good as deliveries done at dealerships.

Before delivery, the vehicle will be thoroughly checked by the dealer. At the time of delivery, customers can go through the checklist to ensure that everything is as per their order. All Kawasaki vehicles will be delivered by dealership professionals who are well-acquainted with the operation, maintenance and safety requirements of the vehicle.

This will ensure proper care and handling during transportation and delivery. Kawasaki has purposefully avoided using common carriers and third-party delivery service providers for home delivery of its vehicles. For home delivery of other products such as spare parts, accessories and apparel, Kawasaki will be relying on common carriers or third-party services. This is the same process that was being used earlier as well.

Kawasaki will try its best to provide home delivery option to as many customers as possible. However, due to local restrictions, home delivery of vehicles may not be possible at some locations. Customers will probably need to contact their nearest dealer to know about availability of home delivery option.

Whatever Happened to the Kawasaki J Shape-Shifting Electric Motorcycle?

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

In the very near future, electric motorcycles will become just as common as electric cars. There are countless startups working on such projects, and even giant Harley-Davidson has joined the party with the launch of the LiveWire.

But there is one company that saw the potential of electric motorcycles years before all others. Back in 2013, at a time when electric cars were just beginning their ascension, Kawasaki introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show the J concept, a bike the likes of which the world had never seen before.

Half a decade before Yamaha introduced the strangely shaped Niken, Kawasaki envisioned a motorcycle with two front wheels and also the ability to shorten and rise itself to suit a particular riding style. Moreover, the motorcycle was designed to be powered by an electric powertrain, something few thought about back then.

The main trait of the motorcycle was that it could provide either a low riding position for high-speed motoring, or a more upright one just for cruising. It could do that by modifying the length and height of the wheelbase at a moment’s notice.

The bike lacked handlebars in the traditional sense, and they were replaced by two controllers, governing each of the two front wheels.

The concept looked fantastic, as you can see in the gallery above. It was of course too far fetched to actually spawn a production motorcycle anytime soon, but we would have expected at least some of the technologies previewed on it to actually make it into production.

The two front wheel layout did, not at Kawasaki but over at Yamaha. The electric powertrain never made it into production at Kawasaki either – there is an electric version loosely based on the Ninja that was shown at EICMA 2019, but with only 62 miles of range it’s more of a joke than anything else.

In the lack of something better from Kawasaki in this segment, just watch the video of the J presentation from years ago and see how glamorous it all felt back then.