Motogenn's Bike of the month - Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R was first released in 2004 and has been updated and revised over the years. It features an ultra-narrow chassis, low weight, and radial brakes.
The first 2004 model only had some minor updates the following year. It was compact with a short wheelbase and a high power-to-weight ratio.
The 2006 model had twin underseat exhausts added which increased the weight by about 5kg.
This year saw the bike have some dramatic changes, which led to a re-launch for the updated model. Not only did the appearance change, but the twin underseat exhausts went back to a single side exhaust.
Not mauch changed this year from the 2008 year. Only the shift shaft was updated which allowed for smoother transitions.
Again, only minor updates this year; and upgraded steering damper and headlights were recessed into the fairing and the individual fairing centre section pieces where now fused into one moulding.
In 2011, the ZX-10R underwent some major changes again. Some big things mechanically; The KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent Braking System) and KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control) were introduced as well as a new look overall and adjustable foot pegs, larger throttle bodies, a horizontal rear suspension, lighter three-spoke wheels, Big Piston Fork (BPF) front suspension, and an LCD panel dashboard.
The 2012 model didn't change however, the 2013 model saw the front damper replaced with an electronic front steering dampener.
This year saw more big changes. Most noteably, a claimed 197 hp with ram-air intake at 13,000 rpm. The electronics now use a Bosch five-axis Internal Measurement Unit (IMU). A sixth degree is calculated by proprietary Kawasaki software. The S-KTRC updated with an added launch control mode, a quickshifter and engine brake control. Also, optional smarter KIBS cornering ABS.
This year, Kawasaki released a homologation special - with a limited run of only 500 bikes. This got riders and Kawasaki fans even closer to the champion machine found on the WSBK tracks.
In late 2018 Kawasaki released a homologation special run of 500 ZX-10RR machines having a redesigned engine with modifications that allowed for higher revs and greater power output. This was used by World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam during 2019.
Production of the 2020 model year ZX-10R benefited from racing experience, having piston and cylinder head components previously available only on the ZX-10RR.