Kawasaki’s big news at Japan Mobility Show 2023 is the introduction of its 40th anniversary Ninja lineup. Early reactions among enthusiasts are largely positive, which isn’t surprising since it’s essentially a revival of an extremely well-loved vintage paint and graphics scheme. If there’s one thing that motorcycle fans love, it’s nostalgia for historic moto design high points.
With that in mind, Team Green also brought a few other things to Japan Mobility Show 2023. Now, unlike the Ninjas, it’s not entirely clear whether all these bikes will be released in other markets. We’ll take a look at all three and see what you think.
Kawasaki Meguro S1
Back in 2019, Kawasaki filed a trademark application for the name ‘Meguro’ with the US Patent and Trademark Office. For those unfamiliar with Team Green’s history, the name Meguro comes from one of the two companies that originally merged in 1964 to form the Kawasaki we know today, which was called Meguro Manufacturing Company.
The Kawasaki Meguro K3 materialized in December 2020, based on the W800. At the time, RideApart inquired with Kawasaki as to whether we could expect the K3 variant to come to the US. We were told that since we already had the W800, that particular variant wasn’t likely to appear on our shores.
Fast-forward three years to October 25, 2023, and Kawasaki hosted the world premiere of the new Meguro S1 at Japan Mobility Show 2023. Although it hasn’t offered full specs yet, Team Green says that this bike is powered by an air-cooled, 250cc single-cylinder engine. That’s one reason that the firm refers to it as the proper successor to the 1964 Kawasaki 250 Meguro SG.
Will it be released outside Japan? Plenty of markets in Asia, Europe, and Latin America have love in their hearts for retro-styled, air-cooled, small-displacement singles. It’s not difficult to see the Meguro S1 as a viable candidate for many of those places. Tiered licensing schemes in many countries outside the US also make it seem likely, since most places don't require higher tiers of licensing to operate a 250.
However, in the US, street bikes in the 250cc range don’t tend to be as popular. Dirt bikes and dual sports, sure—but the US market tends to prefer higher displacements in its street bikes. We’d never say it’s impossible, but it seems unlikely at this point.
Appearing like the light version to the Meguro S1’s shadow, the W230 is yet another dip from Kawasaki into the ever-deepening well of vintage motorcycle nostalgia. It’s design language you already know and love in the 2020s if you’re a fan of the W800, only on a more diminutive machine.
The Kawasaki W230 is powered by an air-cooled, single overhead cam single-cylinder engine, which is tucked away neatly inside a double cradle frame made of steel. Everything about it exudes classic Motorcycle style with a capital “M.” Much like we said about the Meguro S1, while it seems possible that Kawasaki will introduce this bike in markets that tend to be receptive to smaller-displacement bikes like this, it seems unlikely that the US will be one of them.
2024 Kawasaki KLX230
The same can’t be said of the KLX230, which is a popular dual sport bike that’s currently offered in plenty of places, including the US. Kawasaki chose Japan Mobility Show 2023 as the place to premiere its updated 2024 KLX230 to the world. Updates include changes to the frame, suspension, wheel travel (front and rear), headlights, and seat thickness.
While it has yet to list full specifications, Kawasaki called out the fact that the 2024 KLX230 has switchable ABS, as well as smartphone connectivity. Furthermore, it adds that the 2024 KLX230 should be released in markets where the model has previously been released—so, in other words, it seems likely to appear on US shores at some point.