MORE SUPERCHARGED KAWASAKIS
Given the exotic nature and high prices of the two supercharged Kawasaki models currently available, it’s easy to believe that forced induction is just a vanity project. But that would be a mistake.
Kawasaki’s R&D department has already poured years of resources into developing its supercharged engine technology, including creating its own superchargers and dedicated engines to bolt them to. If the firm just wanted to make a splash with a lone supercharged model, it would have been easier to buy in a supercharger and bolt it to an existing motor. Instead there’s a paper trail of patents dating back nearly seven years, long before the H2 appeared, which show various variations on the supercharged theme.
Last year the firm hinted at two possible directions. First it showed sketches of the ‘SC- 01 Spirit Charger’ – a half-faired, retro-styled supercharged bike that the firm described as “just one of the fascinating directions Kawasaki’s design team is considering for the future of the forced induction motorcycle line.”
The Spirit Charger was an exotic take on the theme, another high-end bike like the H2. But its follow-up, shown only weeks later, was even more exciting. Called the ‘SC02 Soul Charger’ it was again just a sketch, but this time showed a smaller-capacity naked bike, with a hint of retro café racer to its styling. Intended as a more affordable take on the supercharged theme, it’s closer in spirit to the R2, even if the styling is something that will come later.
In its flurry of trademarks, all filed at the same time as its application for the Ninja H2 and H2R names, Kawasaki also grabbed rights to the Ninja R2, Ninja R2-2, Ninja S2, Ninja S2R, and Ninja E2 and E2R titles. Some, or all, could be applied to these supercharged projects, although the E2 titles are understood to be reserved for a future electric bike project
also under development.
There’s a paper trail of patents dating back seven years
MCN’S spy snapper scooped these shots of a KTM 390 Duke test mule in Spain, which reveal visual changes including a reshaped fuel tank and side panels, an updated seat unit and a revised rear light. However, beneath those revised cosmetics MCN believes there’s also a host of engine updates to satisfy new Euro 4 regulations.
KTM remain tight-lipped about the changes but MCN understands this bike will be revealed officially later this year before going on sale in 2017.
The updates to the 390 Duke are not entirely unexpected. Not only is the bike going to have to meet the 2017 Euro 4 regulations, but as it was introduced in 2013 the 390 Duke is also due a mid-life refresh to keep it competitive against increasing sub500cc competition.
The 373cc single-cylinder motor currently produces 43bhp and this may well go up slightly because of changes made for the new regulations, as more stable combustion and more efficient fuel delivery with the latest
SC-02 SOUL CHARGER
Prospect of supercharged café racer-style Kawasaki is mouthwatering
SC-01 SPIRIT CHARGER
Half-faired bike was first of the new supercharged concepts revealed