Aprilia injected the middleweight sportbike market with much-needed energy when it introduced the RS 660 in 2020. The new Italian sportbike combined the comfort of a twin-cylinder road bike with the handling and performance of a track-focused supersport, and competitors have been trying to keep up ever since. CARB filings recently confirmed Yamaha’s development of a new YZF-R7 and it seems like Kawasaki may toss its hat into the ring with a Ninja 700R.
While Aprilia developed its new middleweight platform from the ground up, evidence points to the Japanese OEMs leveraging existing models. Yamaha plans on repurposing its vaunted CP2 found in the MT-07, while Kawasaki seems content to bore out the parallel-twin in its popular Ninja 650. Further fueling the rumors, digital design artist Kardesign Koncepts envisioned what such a Ninja 700R could look like on his Instagram page.
Based heavily on the new Ninja ZX-10R, the rendering features the flagship superbike’s new fascia, tank design, and tail section. The artist also transplants the ZX-10R exhaust and 320 mm brake discs but opts for budget-appropriate Nissin calipers in lieu of Brembo equipment. The lower blinkers and subframe covers carry over from the existing Ninja 650, but the handlebars are converted to clip-ons for the 700R.
Aside from the rendering, reports also suggest that the new Ninja would earn up-spec chassis components. Many believe that the 700cc engine could also generate around 95 horsepower. If those upgrades are in store for the middleweight Ninja, it could pose a legitimate threat to the RS 660’s supremacy.
However, Team Green will need to upgrade the 700R’s electronics if it expects to rival Aprilia’s technological suite, which derive from the RSV4 superbike. All those changes could push the Ninja 700R’s price tag closer to the RS 660’s $11,300 MSRP. In the end, that might be a necessary step for Kawasaki if it plans on keeping up in the new middleweight market.