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Common Tread

EICMA 2015: Kawasaki's ho-hum presentation gets exciting

Nov 17, 2015

I woke up this morning, got some coffee, and put on headphones. It was the same as most mornings, except it was crazy-early.

Well, crazy-early on the East Coast. It was dang near lunchtime in Italy.

Buzzsaw's in Milan, helping with EICMA coverage, and I listened to his recorded notes about the new Kawasaki launch. Buzzsaw presents information well and he’s a calm fellow. His voice is oddly soothing and I was sleepy. I was only half paying attention. Then I spit coffee onto the desk.

Ed gave me a jolt that woke me up more than the coffee I was cleaning up. I had to scrub back through one section four times to make sure I heard it right. “Kawi did announce they will have 12 new models coming out over the next two years. Over half of those will be supercharged.”

Kawasaki's R&D in the H2R was more than a simple marketing ploy. It appears instead to represent their path to future success. Kawasaki photo.

Twelve new models sounds exciting to me. Maybe it’s time for an update or two to their aging cruiser line? I mean, with the exception of that Vulcan S, those things are seriously arthritic at this point. Ed said over half of the new models will be blown. That means seven at bare minimum. Seven new supercharged motorcycles. I feel like we’ve time-warped back to the days of the turbo wars.

The Vulcan S is the freshest face of Kawasaki's lineup. Could a batch of updated cruisers be on the way? Kawasaki photo.

This makes perfect sense, really. That blower tech on the H2 and H2R that stole the show at EICMA a year ago didn’t come cheap, and you know Kawi isn’t just making a halo bike for the fun of it. Times are too lean nowadays to do that. So they’re going to pay off the bills by offering fun, light bikes that are small and nimble but also put out serious power numbers. Sounds like a recipe for success.

2015 has been, if nothing else, The Year Of The Small Bike. What better way to blow out the competition than to offer featherweight bikes packing serious punch?

Other news was kinda minor: A new 125 cc scooter that probably won’t come stateside. A new ZX-14 SE Special Edition with Brembo brakes, Akra exhaust, and Öhlins suspension. The new ZX-10R was announced over a month ago. And the H2 gets a new slipper clutch. Yawn.

Then there's the promise of all those blown engines. I just want to go on the record with our readers and with Spurgie: Dibs in 2016 to review anything with a supercharger on it.