Back in Japan's "bubble era" of the late '80s a combination of Japanese license laws and an insatiable demand for technology led to a brief spate of exotic 250cc four-cylinder sportbikes. The Honda CBR250R, Suzuki GSX-R250, Yamaha FZR250R, and Kawasaki ZXR250 were only offered for a few, short years, briefly giving road-going riders the experience of bikes that revved as high as 20,000 rpm. Now Kawasaki is bringing those days back with the newly launched Ninja ZX-25R.
Revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, the bike is a production model, but at the moment Kawasaki is still reticent when it comes to announcing key performance details. The firm has confirmed that it's powered by a 249cc, DOHC, four-cylinder engine with modern technology including traction control, multiple power modes, and a quickshifter.
We understand the new ZX-25 is to be built at Kawasaki’s plant in Indonesia, and that’s also the bike’s main target market. Whether it will be sold elsewhere depends on two things. One is demand; will riders be prepared to pay four-cylinder money for a bike with 250cc performance? The other is emissions. High revving, small-capacity engines are particularly hard to get past the latest generation of pollution laws, so it will be interesting to find out how Kawasaki has addressed that problem. Since Indonesia’s emissions rules are some years behind those in places like Europe, Japan, and the US, there’s no guarantee the ZX-25 will be able to meet our limits, despite the appearance of a hefty catalytic converter in the belly-mounted exhaust. We certainly hope it will meet the requirements.