The hooligan members of the motorcycle world are even more excited than usual, thanks to a teaser video from Kawasaki.
The 11-second YouTube clip doesn’t really say much, but it does show two important teases: the first is what appears to be a supercharger (not a turbocharger). The second is the letter Z. Putting those two pieces of information together, motojournalists and their readers have decided Kawasaki is hinting at a supercharged naked bike, coming to us soon.
Kawasaki already has three supercharged motorcycles in the lineup, the competition-only H2R, the street-legal H2 hyperbike, and the H2SX sport tourer (also street-legal, obviously). The H2 series hit the market in 2015, and kickstarted a storm of interest in forced induction technology, but so far, the other manufacturers haven’t really caught up. Suzuki’s teased a turbocharged bike (called the Recursion) on the show circuit for years, but has yet to announce anything close to production plans.
The H2R makes 310 hp, the most powerful mass-production motorcycle ever, while the H2 makes 210 hp with ram air. That’s still impressive, but factory superbikes from other manufacturers are hitting that mark as well these days, without superchargers.
That’s why superchargers are taking their time to make it to market. It’s a lot of added complexity, and most OEMs don’t see it as worth the effort and cost—yet.
If Kawasaki really does release a supercharged Z model, that may change things, though. If Kawi was able to bring the price down a bit (the H2 lineup has been mucho expensive since Day 1), offering a high-horsepower option for better money than the competition, it would definitely catch buyers’ eyes, which could in turn force market change.