DEALERS AND THE press got their first look at Kawasaki's full 2009 model lineup Saturday at the OEM's annual dealer meeting. (Several 2009 models, such as the new EFI-equipped KX450F, had been introduced earlier in the summer.)
Below is a rundown of new or significantly updated models in the order in which they were presented during the presentation. Kawasaki did not update the Versys, winner of Motorcyclist magazine's Motorcycle of the Year award, but did get it approved for California. Click here for more details on all the models.
Kawasaki began the product portion of its presentation with the supercharged Jet Ski Ultra 260X, an improved, more powerful version of the Ultra 250X. Kawasaki claims the 1,498cc craft's 260 hp makes it the most powerful production PWC sold in the U.S. The extra power is partly the result of new high-lift cams and revised ignition timing. The 260X also has a new impeller that reportedly does a better job of transforming engine power into thrust. Kawi executives said the craft's stronger hull, which was developed through the company's racing efforts, provides a smoother ride through rough water. The Ultra 260X retails for $11,999 and comes in three colors: sunbeam red, ebony/galaxy silver and ebony/lime green.
The Jet Ski Ultra 260LX is the touring version. Additions include a fancier paint job and a touring seat. The 260LX retails for $12,299 and comes in one color: jet white/metallic phantom silver.
Kawi's other touring model, the Jet Ski Ultra LX, returns for this year, but with the deluxe seat found on the 260LX. It comes in jet white/sunbeam red and retails for $10,099.
Rounding out the new-or-improved Jet Skis is the brand-new STX, a stripped-down version of the STX-15F aimed at the rental industry and the budget-minded. The three-seater has a 1,500 cc engine and comes in only white. It retails for $7,899.
The presentation then turned to motorcycles. The new ZX-6R is reportedly 22 lbs. lighter than the previous version and comes with a new Ohlins steering damper as well as Showa's Big Piston Front fork. Kawasaki says the bike produces more power and has lighter handling. Available colors include lime green, metallic diablo black/flat super black, and candy surf blue/flat super black. The ZX-6R retails for $9,799. A Monster Energy version with custom graphics costs $9,999.
Kawasaki redesigned the Ninja 650R for 2009. Among more than 40 improvements and updates are a new LED instrumentation and a rubber-mounted engine and handlebar. The bike retails for $6,799 and comes in lime green, passion red and metallic diablo black.
For the 2009 model year Kawasaki will begin importing the streetfighter version of the 650R, the ER-6n. The model is already one of Kawi's best-selling bikes in Europe. It comes in only candy plasma blue and retails for $6,399.
One of Kawasaki's best-selling models this year is the KLX250S dual-sport. For 2009 the company comes out with a supermoto version, the KLX250SF. The motorcycle is 1 inch lower and has a front disc measuring 300 mm instead of 250 mm. It comes in ebony and retails for $5,299. (Continued)