The market for small motorcycles is exploding throughout Southeast Asia, India and China, and pricing is of critical importance to sales success in these markets. With single cylinder engines less expensive to manufacture than 2 cylinder motors, one-lung thumpers are popping up everywhere in those areas. Many companies are building their offerings in-country to avoid tariffs that would drive up the cost.
According to Cycle World, Kawasaki is entering the fray with a single cylinder version of its iconic 250 Ninja dubbed the Z250SL. The bike comes in two trim levels, fully-equipped and naked. That’s the naked version pictured above, and although it is definitely built to a price point, it still features a single Uni-Trak rear shock and two piston disc brakes front and rear. Specs on the new engine are 27 hp and 17 ft/lbs of torque at 9.500 rpm. With its trellis frame its appearance is nothing like a what you would expect from a low budget bike. It certainly has the look of bigger, faster, more expensive machine.
There might be a place in Kawasaki’s US lineup for this bike, just below the company’s performance oriented Ninja 300 Twin. With gas prices going up, people are searching for methods to save money and fuel, and one-cylinder motorcycle certainly has its appeal. For now though, Kawasaki will stick to the markets most demanding this kind of frugal and simple transportation.