Kawasaki dares to tackle the electric future with a different answer in the Ninja 7 – a hybrid alternative.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Ninja 7 and the Z7 are, as with a host of other Kawasaki models, the same platform with slightly different appearance packages – faired or naked. Next, the “7” in the name unlike most other Kawasaki models, has nothing at all to do with the displacement of the motor. That motor is the same 451cc parallel twin, with a few tuning tweaks, providing the get up and go for the new Eliminator 500 (and a couple of other recently introduce bikes from the company).
However, the parallel twin in this case gets a little help from an electric traction motor to provide extra get up and go when the need arises – or in the so far not in Canada (but no doubt eventually coming) case where certain areas of a city are restricted to electric or no emission vehicles it can be the sole source of power albeit at limited speeds and distances.
The electric motor is a “strong hybrid” system that works with the ICE to produce added boosts of power through the “eBoost” system. Kawasaki claims the Ninja 7 will out accelerate a ZX10RR “initially” from a standing start and “under certain conditions”. We assume those conditions don’t include the ZX10RR being anchored to a pallet of bricks. The claim does have some validity. All the torque of the electric motor is available from the get go so “initially” might mean the first 200 feet.
The Ninfa 7 and Z7 can be ridden in three different modes: complete EV although for a very, very short distance, ECO-Hybrid which emphasizes fuel efficiency in urban environs (Kawasaki claims even better fuel economy than theiNinja 250), and finally, Sport-Hybrid where the Ninja 7 is said t0 provide the riding characteristics of a 650cc bike.
The big performance claims are based around the eBoost system that can be applied for 5 second intervals to allow the electric motor to supply extra power. Sort of a “Punch it, Chewie” approach to speed.
What about the weight? Good question. It isn’t actually that bad. The bike comes in a 503lb. Hefty but not unmanageable. The Ninja 7/ Z7 does have WALK mode if you do need to push it around.
The Ninja 7 and the Z7 are absolutely interesting ideas to accommodate a future scenario where zero emissions are required at some times but not at others. There are engineering break throughs that will trickle down to other bikes – including items like the button shifting 6 speed transmission. But all that tech and engineering genius is expensive. The Ninja 7 is going to be $15,699, as will be the Z7.