Patents applied for by Kawasaki indicate new engine designs may be headed for sport bikes, motocross bikes and even quads. Similar to the new Husaberg engine design we discussed here, Kawasaki appears interested in rotating the cylinder forward, and raising the crank to a point closer to the axis of rotation of the motorcycle, thereby reducing gyroscopic impact on handling. This information comes courtesy of our friends at Solo Moto (www.solomoto30.com).
In addition to the potential reduction in inertia by raising the position of the crank shaft, Kawasaki could obtain other benefits by incorporating this new design. Weight distribution, more room for rear suspension components, fuel injection and air box components, and other benefits, could flow from the relatively unique engine layout. At this point, we have no word on when this new engine design might be incorporated by Kawasaki into production motorcycles or other products. It is possible we will see something this Fall, when Kawasaki introduces its 2009 models.