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Ninja Hits 40

It’s 40 years since Kawasaki launched the first bike named Ninja, and the company is marking the event with a range of special editions based on its existing sports bikes. The ZX-4RR, ZX-6R and ZX-10R will all be available in the UK as Ninja 40th Anniversary Editions.
As you would expect with a special edition, they’re mechanically the same as the standard bikes, but in this case with a green, white, and blue colour scheme inspired by Ninjas of the past. Silver-painted frames and swinging arms, gold fork outers and green wheels are other nods to the past, together with an all-important 40th Anniversary decal.

But Kawasaki can be forgiven for the hype, as the name Ninja is one of the icons of motorcycling in the 1980s and ‘90s, synonymous with big K sports bikes. It was first applied to the GPz900R in 1984 before the Ninja ZX-7 became dominant on the track, winning multiple FIM Endurance and AMA Superbike Championships in the early/mid 1990s. Hence the desire to make a splash with the 2024 model year Ninjas, 40 years on. UK prices start at £8,899 ZX-4RR Anniversary Edition.

BMF Chair Jim Freeman thought this was one 40th worth celebrating. “There were two bikes that revolutionised sports bikes in the 1990s , the GPZ 900 and the GSXR 750 . The ‘Ninja’ moniker was attached to the GPZ in many markets, so deserves a special edition commemoration. The 900 was such a good design that it outlived the bikes that were supposed to replace it. Compared to the bikes that came before it, like the air cooled GPz 1100 series, it was a revelation.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Kawasaki