In the lead-up to this year's Intermot event in Cologne (October 1-5), many of the world's leading bike builders have been playing a game of cat and mouse, offering no real preview of what they're planning to show off at the biennial event. All except Kawasaki, that is.
The Japanese company has been busy posting teasing videos -- seven and counting -- relating to the Ninja H2, which, if the clues the company is dropping are added together, is set to be unveiled as Kawasaki's new flagship superbike in October when Intermot gets underway.
But what's getting fans excited is that it sounds like the bike is going to have a supercharged, rather than naturally aspirated engine. Forced induction means even faster acceleration -- something that most sportsbikes aren't exactly lacking in the first place thanks to manufacturers finally attempting to find performance through shedding weight.
However, a supercharger would mean that this increased responsiveness would come in a predictable wave rather than the on-boost-off-boost swings of a turbo and it could mean that this power comes with responsibility.
Force-feeding an engine with a fuel and air mix means that the powerplant can be smaller and less polluting without spoiling the ride. The suggestions are that this bike will be able to go toe to toe with its 1-liter competitors with just 600 or so CCs to play with.
Like car companies, bike makers are finally taking their environmental responsibilities seriously. Stricter emissions laws come into force in Europe this year and for the first time companies are making a concerted effort to accurately list a bike's fuel consumption -- something that is admittedly difficult seeing as how much fuel a bike burns is proportional to the size, shape and weight of its rider.
Turbos and superchargers are a proven way of increasing performance without boosting displacement and as with the car industry, it appears that bike builders are starting at the top with flagships and working down, as a way of making greener performance desirable and exciting, rather than starting with base models and working upwards.
Kawasaki already makes the world's fastest road bike and the H2 promises to be faster, and greener, still.