Based solely on recent history, you’d think the engineers at Kawasaki are strong believers of the “bigger is better” philosphy. You need only look at the Ninja ZX-6R which shook off the shackles of the 600cc supersport segment with a 636cc displacement, then came the Ninja 300 replacing the 250.
New spy photos from Indonesia, however suggest there’s still room for smaller engines from Team Green. Jakarta-based blog Iwanbanaran.com uncovered images of a new single-cylinder Kawasaki sportbike prototype. Unfortunately, all of the spy photos were shot from the rear, but the intrepid spy photographer was able to provide additional details.
The white license plate indicates the motorcycle is a prototype, and the photographer says the fairing is disguised with tape. Nevertheless, the tail appears identical to the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 and 250. The exhaust is new however, with a much smaller opening than the larger models.
The spy photographer, identified only as “Restu”, reports the engine has a single cylinder but with a similar engine cover as the twin-cylinder 250. Restu also says the instrument panel is fully-digital however, and not the analog/digital dash found on the Ninja 300 and 250. Other details include a single eye-shaped headlight (likely similar to the previous-generation Ninja 250) and ABS.
Kawasaki already produces a 149cc Ninja RR for Indonesia (pictured below), but that model uses a two-stroke engine and has a carburetor. The test mule however uses a four-stroke engine that is likely fuel-injected.
It’s unlikely we’ll see this smaller single-cylinder Ninja in western markets, considering how successful the 300 and 250 models have been for Kawasaki. For Indonesia and other Pacific markets, it will find a niche, likely as a replacement to the two-stroke model.