Kawasaki has applied for patents for a 600cc supercharged sports bike called the R2 which will feature the supercharger from their H2 and H2R.
Earlier this year, Kawasaki trademarked the names R2 and R2R which were believed to have a supercharged 800cc bike and there have also been rumours of bringing back the venerable 1970s Z900 model with a forced-induction engine after the Japanese manufacturer trademarked the Z900RS name. And last year they unveiled drawings of two supercharged concepts.
Kawasaki calls it Balanced Supercharger Engine Technology and they could use it in a range models.
Forced induction technology was popular in the early ‘80s, but it was short-lived thanks to expense, weight, and a lack of reliability and rider control.
However, today’s turbos and superchargers are much more sophisticated, user-friendly, smaller/lighter and cheaper.
Advantages of forced induction are fuel economy and exhaust emissions which means they will be easier to comply with stringent pollution controls than bigger engines, yet have similar power.
Kawasaki is not the only manufacturer looking at a forced-induction future.
Suzuki unveiled its turbo-charged 588cc parallel twin “Recursion” concept sportsbike in 2014 with 75kW (100hp) and 50% better fuel economy than a 600cc sportsbike and Italian marque Bimota unveiled a supercharged Impeto at the 2015 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan powered by a 120kW 1198cc Testastretta engine from the Ducati Diavel.
They haven’t gone into production yet, but clearly manufacturers are looking for ways to meet emissions targets and still satisfy the power-hungry market.
Meanwhile, Kawasaki is tipped to reveal the R2 (a little close to Yamaha’s R1?) at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in November.