More supercharged bikes from Kawasaki

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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 ‘SC-02 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.

Andy Downes & Ben Purvis

By Andy Downes & Ben Purvis