Kawasaki will go head-to-head with rivals Honda in the 500cc, A2 licence, category after unveiling a trio of lightweight twins at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan today.
Wearing the iconic Kawasaki names Eliminator, Ninja and Z, the trio will go up against Honda’s CMX500 Rebel, CBR500R and the Hornet 500 respectively.
Kawasaki haven’t released too many details about the bikes, which will go on sale in the UK in March, but we know they’ll all be powered by the same new 451cc parallel twin engine, which is derived from the 399cc unit found in the current Z400 and Ninja 400. We’re expecting the Kawasaki to match the Honda’s 47bhp power output and be competitive on price with its main rivals, while the 400s are expected to be superseded by the new models.
The company did release some information on the Eliminator, their first entry into the A2 cruiser category, back in September and they’ve used the Milan show to show it in the metal while revealing the streetfighter styled Z and faired Ninja as well.
We do know that the new Z and Ninja will utilise a lightweight trellis frame, as has been the norm for smaller Kawasakis in recent years, and our colleagues in Milan tell us that they have low seat heights, although Kawasaki tell us a higher seat option will be available.
Both the naked Z and the faired Ninja will be available in standard and Special Edition (SE) variants. The SE models will have different colours and swap the standard bikes’ LCD dashboard for a colour TFT item, which allows for smartphone connectivity and also features a USB-C power outlet. The Z500 SE gets a small flyscreen to distinguish it from the base model, while the Ninja 500 SE also gets a keyless ignition system.
Standard models come in a black and grey colour combo, while the Z500 SE gains red accents. The Ninja 500SE comes in Kawasaki’s traditional lime green racing livery.
As well as the new 500s, Kawasaki also used EICMA to reveal a second hybrid motorcycle to go alongside its recently launched Ninja 7 HEV. Based around the same platform, which sees the 451cc twin mated to a small electric motor and lithium ion battery, the Z 7 Hybrid utilises the same platform as the Ninja but in the naked streetfighter style synonymous with the Z designation.