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Kawasaki Will Make an Electric Motorcycle With a Manual Transmission

Although the lack of extensive fast-chargers limits their long-distance capability, electric motorcycles can be excellent urban commuters. In addition, the lack of clutch makes them good for beginning riders, or those without manual experience. However, the EV conversion market shows that electric cars and trucks, at least, can still use manual transmissions. And now, Kawasaki seems to ask, “Why can’t motorcycles do the same?” Because soon, there’ll be a manual-equipped electric Kawasaki motorcycle joining the brand’s extensive lineup.

The Kawasaki electric motorcycle concept

Kawasaki’s electric motorcycle has been planned for some time. The Japanese bikemaker unveiled a concept at the 2019 EICMA Show, Motorcyclist reports.

Kawasaki Ninja H2R
Kawasaki Ninja H2R | Kawasaki

This concept was roughly the size of the brand’s mid-size Z650 sports bike and had a fast-charge-compatible battery with a claimed 62-mile range. The trellis chassis is also shared with Kawasaki’s Z and Ninja bikes, like the high-speed Ninja H2R. In addition, VisorDown reports the on-stage bike used a combination of parts from the Z400 and Z650.

Kawasaki EV Project concept side
Kawasaki EV Project concept side | Kawasaki

But the concept’s biggest differentiation from other electric motorcycles was undoubtedly its 4-speed manual transmission. This was, Kawasaki President Yuji Horiuchi explained at the reveal, to make the bike was still enjoyable to ride.  In addition, unlike most electric bikes such as the LiveWire, the Kawasaki concept had a chain drive.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire
Harley-Davidson LiveWire | Harley-Davidson

At the time, Kawasaki announced it had no official plants to deliver an electric motorcycle. However, recent news seems to indicate the company is indeed gearing up to release one.

The Kawasaki Endeavor electric motorcycle

Kawasaki Endeavor prototype
Kawasaki Endeavor prototype | Kawasaki

As Autoblog explains, Kawasaki recently released footage of an electric bike being ridden around a racetrack. Although still a prototype, the Endeavor looks to be a more production-ready version of the 2019 concept.

The biggest change is the addition of a fairing, which VisorDown reports is similar to the brand’s Ninja bikes. Also, the 4-speed manual is equipped with a quick-shifter. Plus, the company has also revealed a few more technical details.

The bike will reportedly deliver about 26 horsepower; exact torque output isn’t available, though Autoblog describes it as “generous.” Though, because of how electric motors work, that torque will be available from 0 RPM. Although the Endeavor’s exact weight also hasn’t been disclosed, the concept weighed about 483 pounds. The production bike will likely ring in close to that.

What we still don’t know

In addition to the torque and weight, Kawasaki also hasn’t teased or released an exact release date. RideApart reports execs haven’t put “a firm timestamp” on the project. However, Autoblog muses that the bike could debut sometime towards the end of 2020. Although, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could derail this, as it has other motoring projects.

2020 Zero SR/S
2020 Zero SR/S | Zero Motorcycles

It’s also too early to tell how much a road-going Endeavor would cost. And there aren’t many similar electric motorcycles on the market that quite compare. For example, although the $21,995 Zero SR/S looks similar visually, it makes 110 hp and has 1 gear.

Meanwhile, the Kawasaki Z650 with ABS starts at $7,999. The Ninja 650 ABS is $200 less. It’s likely the Endeavor would likely hew closer to this price point when it debuts.

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