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Kawasaki refines ‘flattened’ engine
By Guy Procter
16 July 2009 14:05

Kawasaki’s next-generation Ninjas look set to feature this radical new engine design after plans for a ‘flattened’ motor were refined and re-patented for a third time in eighteen months.

The dramatically re-imagined inline four is the work of the man behind the firm’s MotoGP-contending 800cc ZX-RR, Yoshimoto Matsuda, and promises to solve a number of problems at a stroke.

Its stacked gearbox is a Kawasaki first and makes room for a much longer swingarm, a change the wheelie-prone ZX-10R will most benefit from.

Canting the cylinder block forward to an almost horizontal position makes room for a bigger airbox and straighter inlet tract to boost power.

But perhaps most importantly it gives the firm scope to move the motor higher in the frame – raising the bike’s centre of gravity, and bringing the rotating mass of the crank – closer to it.

Those facts should it more flickable and corner-hungry. With the gearbox under the crank the motor still isn’t overly long.

“Kawasaki just need to get the engine into the right place - they've had four stabs so far and got it wrong every time. Maybe this will do it” says MotoGP tech guru Neil Spalding.

Source: MCN
 

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Interesting design but of course it will make maintenance even more of a hassle then it already is. Hope it works as I would like to see Kawasaki with a more competitive bike
 

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Looks like you're going to need to drain the coolant and remove the radiator.... just to get to the valve cover in order to change/check the plugs. This is a dealership's wet dream and a bike owner's nightmare.

For a racer, it's most definately an improvement in design... but for mechanics/DIY owners it's going to be a pain in the butt to service anything involving access to the valve cover.


Looks like Mr. Matsuda needs to stop thinking "MotoGP" and start thinking "Long-Term". But who knows, maybe all the big 4 will adopt this engine layout over time and it will become commonplace, thereby making such involved mantainence SOP instead of PITA? Geez, I hope not...
 
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