Kawasaki Indicates Work on a Supercharged Engine

Kawasaki supercharged inline four cylinder engine

Kawasaki supercharged inline four cylinder engine

Way back in late 2011, we showed you a series of patent drawings for a supercharged engine from Kawasaki. The patent was pretty straightforward, a compact blower was tucked in behind the cylinders, but other than those drawings, nothing.

At the Tokyo Motor Show just completed, Kawasaki had an exhibit of a supercharged engine that looked just like the patent drawings, though no details other than to say they have the know how to build the components based on their experience building turbine blades.

Do they have near term plans for this little beast or is it slated for some long in the future application? Kawasaki isn't saying.

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    • says

      All depends on presumed accident rates. In any case a supercharged motorcycle with – say – 200 bhp runs no faster than a conventional one with 200 bhp.

  1. Hawk says

    It’s interesting that while there are several after-market applications of both supercharging and turbocharging, the manufacturers have been slow to use them on motorcycles. Of course the “gentlemen’s agreement” not to surpass 300 kph (186 mph) in a road machine is pretty easily obtainable with a normally aspirated liter bike …. so where is the incentive?

    I doubt that increased fuel economy would justify the additional complexity …. and cost.

    Even unblown MotoGP engines are 230-240 HP and up. There’re able to spin the rear tire loose at 200 mph and are looking to traction controls. But maybe a future in Moto2 or Moto3?

  2. Lee Wilcox says

    When the first 2 stroke triple came out I wondered who could ride that to full capacity. Things don’t change and history says Kawasaki would want to be the first to break the gentleman’s agreement. They hate playing catchup.

  3. B50 Jim says

    More likely it’s a crossover entry into the automotive world, where small-displacement engines with forced induction are becoming the means of choice to offer customers horsepower and fuel economy. A motorcycle making more than 200 hp is total overkill; few riders in the world have the skill to handle so much power…. but a .6-liter, 200-hp car engine makes sense.

  4. Bicho says

    It would be nice if the capacity is 400ccmax,power 100hp,for a dry weight of 100 kilos ………,my dream bike……..it needs to be superlight!……..I wish….

  5. Paul Crowe says

    I think the blower attached to a relatively small displacement bike might be the thinking from Kawasaki. As Bicho says, light weight, but big power could be a winning combination and this could do it. A blower on a liter bike? I kinda doubt it.

  6. Yeti2bikes says

    A blower on a liter bike? Yes please!!
    No one questions a blower on a big block street rod even though you can get 500 hp or more from a naturally aspirated one, so why do so on a motorcycle?

    Why would you build a 5 liter V twin or a V8 Hayabusa motor or any other of the ‘way out there’ builds featured on this site. DO IT JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN!

    • Paul Crowe says

      Don’t misinterpret what I said. If you’ve been here over the years, you’ll know I’ve long advocated doing things just because you can or just because you want to and in many cases, too much horsepower is just enough, that’s great for an individual, but from a manufacturer’s perspective, supercharging a liter bike makes no sense. Lots of bikes already are limited to a 300 km/h top speed limit, plus they can smoke their rear tire at will. What does a blower add? Nothing.

      On the other hand, a blower adds a lot to a smaller engine, potentially lighter weight for a given output and more efficiency. This is a company project, not something from the garage next door.

  7. MikeC says

    The purpose of the blower is to augment the capacity of a given engine displacement, and effectively increase its efficiency per cc/cu-in. A basic tuned engine with proper exhaust scavenging will ‘supercharge’ the engine by about 2% at the harmonic rpm range the tuned system was designed for. A well designed supercharged engine is capable of up to a 100% increase, or double the power, all the while ‘adding’ to the volumetric efficiency of the engine throughout the range. Thus the ‘torque’ feel that some have written about. There is an increasing trend in production ICE’s to downsize the engine, while creating equal torque and HP, in order to increase fuel efficiency. I can image a NC700 with a ‘blower’ pumping out 120hp at 6000 rpm, while getting 70mpg at 65. I’d buy that, if it looked a bit better….

  8. Rob Ueberfeldt says

    Surely large capacity engines could benefit from supercharging to make them more efficient? More torque down low, allowing for cruising at lower revs, less gear shifting, less wear and tear on the engine? I read somewhere that a well set up turbo makes for a less stressed engine as it didn’t have to ‘pull’ the fuel in, leading to less pressure on the crank, piston and bearings.

  9. says

    The purpose of any forced induction system is to increase cylinder filling, increase cylinder pressure, and increase power output. Do you really believe that more power means less stress?

      • Scotduke says

        For a turbocharged engine, the turbocharger and the cooling system are often the weakest links. When turbocharged engines fail, this is most often traced back to the turbocharger itself or a cooling issue that has caused a failure elsewhere. Better lubrication systems mean turbochargers don’t fail quite as often as they used to (often stemming from bearings running dry for a period after an engine is shut down). But the pressures and heat generated in the turbocharger still makes it more vulnerable.

        I’m wary of the complexity of a turbocharger system in a motorcycle application. And the same issues with regard to cooling are also apparent with superchargers, though at least bearings are less likely to fail as the compressor driving the forced induction stops when the engine is turned off.

  10. gw10nt says

    Can anyone explain what about this is patentable? It seems to me there’s got be something like a century’s-worth of prior art floating around

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