Updated Ninja, updated engine.

When Kawasaki announced its 2020 lineup, there were a few notable absentees from the list, including the famous Ninja 1000. We highly doubted Kawasaki had decided to unceremoniously drop its sportbike staple from the lineup without as much as a goodbye, there had to be another explanation. The other, more likely scenario was, therefore, the hold, update, and re-launch one. Our theory has been confirmed by the most recent documents published by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

We’ve said it before and until the beginning of 2020, we’ll probably say it again: the upcoming Euro 5 emission regulations are forcing manufacturers to send a flock of bikes back to the drawing board to update their intake, combustion, and exhaust processes to make them compliant. When the Ninja 1000 went missing, we suspected it wouldn’t be gone for long and true enough, it’s now back in the 2020 list of approved Kawasaki bikes.

Its 1,043cc engine specs remain the same, however, the engine family is changing. The current model-year uses an engine dubbed 1.04AAG—the same it’s been using for a few years now. The new document lists the engine family as a 1.04AAJ. Not only that; the seemingly new engine also produces significantly fewer emissions. 

In the exhaust emissions section, the document states that the 2020 Ninja 1000 produces 0.1g/km of hydrocarbon, 0.1g/km of hydrocarbon + oxides of nitrogen, and 0.2g/km of carbon monoxide. Comparatively, the former engine’s numbers were respectively at 0.14, 0.2, and 1. That’s quite a dramatic reduction in the quantity of pollutants the Ninja produces. 

With the confirmation of an updated Ninja 1000 coming for 2020, the only thing left to figure out is when it will show up. Kawasaki will unveil two bikes in Tokyo, one of which is the new ZH2, as well as three bikes at EICMA (one of which we expect to be a retro model in the W800 family). 

Source: CARB