Kawasaki is adding to its local sporting ZX line-up with a junior high-performance Ninja dubbed ZX-4R. The 4 clearly signifies its 399cc engine capacity, though coincidentally also stands for its cylinder count.
Sporting a fresh engine and frame, there are two new variants available internationally, the ZX-4 SE and ZX-4 RR, and they should both be available later this year.
Expect around 60kW (80bhp) in a lightweight (188kg) Ninja ZX-25-based chassis, so the Kawasaki ZX-4 should corner as well as it accelerates. Where most offerings in this class are now parallel twins – ironically Kawasaki has its $10k Ninja 400 twin in this area – the incoming Ninja ZX will be the only full-fairing supersport model competing with an IL4 engine.
It features the styling and top shelf equipment characteristic of the Ninja ZX family with the evocative exhaust sound of a high-revving four.
Powering the middleweight beastie is a brand new 399cc liquid-cooled, twin-cam four-potter good for almost 60kW under ram air conditions. Strong low- and mid-range torque were also considerations, along with top end power, the engine good for at least 15,000rpm. The air intake is sited in the upper cowl, with Ram Air ducts on the left of the forks. This system increases peak power from 58 to 60kW.
The chassis follows design parameters determined by World Superbike experience with the ZX-10 RR. The high-tensile steel trellis frame finishes in an extended curved swingarm. Front to rear weight distribution is an even 50:50, and the inbuilt balance of rigidity and flexibility is said to ensure nimble handling and optimised rider feedback.
Up front are Showa’s SFF-BP forks with preload adjustability while at the rear is a horizontal back-link monoshock system, the same type of Showa BFRC-lite rear shock as the Ninja ZX-10R uses. It is found on the RR only.
Radial -mount monobloc calipers act on 290mm semi-floating discs up front, which are said to deliver feel, response and power.
LEDs are used for all lights, while there are four different ride modes, one user adjustable, along with traction control and a bi-directional quickshifter.
Topping things off is a 4.3-inch full-digital colour LCD screen with an in-built track mode. The Kawasaki Rideology App can be used for GPS route information.
The SE model features colours reflecting the KRT bikes. It also comes with a smoked windshield, USB power socket and frame sliders. The RR adds WSBK-inspired graphics.