Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, nearly all Japanese manufacturers had sportbikes packing tiny, 250cc, four-cylinder motors. Bikes like the Honda CBR250RR, or even the Suzuki Bandit Slingshot come to mind. Although not exactly fire-breathing beasts, these bikes certainly had one thing going for them: sound.
These days, 250cc sportbikes and naked bikes have been relegated to either single-cylinder or parallel-twin-engined platforms. While these bikes are indeed practical and ideal, especially for beginners, they don’t have nearly as much soul as that of their four-cylinder ancestors. Kawasaki has tried to bring the quarter-liter inline-four class back to life with the Ninja ZX-25R. Available only in select markets, this tiny screamer boasts a 249cc engine that revs all the way to 17,500 RPM. With 43.5 ponies on tap, it’s no ripper, but it isn’t slow, either.
You could say that, given it’s rather unique platform and limited availability, the ZX-25R was a huge success. It’s probably with the Ninja’s success in mind that Kawasaki could be developing a naked version of this petite screamer. That’s right, the rumor mills in Japan are churning, with reports suggesting that the Japanese manufacturer is developing a new Z250. Now, we’re familiar with the Z250 in its parallel-twin guise—a platform which evolved into the Z300 and now, the Z400. However, we have yet to see a naked bike smaller than the Z800 pack an inline-four engine.
Similar to the Ninja ZX-25R, we can expect to find some premium, performance-oriented goodies on the Z250, if it does indeed become a reality. A rendering depicts the bike to share similar bodywork with the Z400, although the four individual header pipes give it away as something more special. Additionally, the bike could get premium inverted front forks, as well as a radially mounted front disc brake. With Kawasaki gearing up under a new subsidiary specifically for its powersports offerings, it wouldn’t be surprising if this bike debuts within the year.