2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Road Test Rider Magazine

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Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (ZX1000-C1)

2008 Kawasaki Ninja Road Test

Photo Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA


July 1, 2008

review of the 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R was originally published in the 2008 issue of Rider ]

If one thing Kawasaki isn’t from, it’s an identity especially in the sportbike segment. But wasn’t always the case. A few ago the bikes Kawasaki would racing were more street bikes disguised racing numbers and slick That changed in 2003 the brand introduced the ZX-6R and

From then on the company has been simple: Create that are track ready and barely street legal. The year Team Green its first true liter-class the ZX-10R, incorporating the same focus. If there were any about Kawasaki’s stance on the ZX-10R eliminated them.

enormous power was always on the bike was criticized for its ill handling pushed to the limits. The following would see the 10R get refinements, eventually to what we have here–the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R .

to form, Kawasaki’s latest has one intent: winning races. In almost all of the development and testing for bike was done on the racetrack. then was it taken out on the street and slightly to work on the road–basically it was given lights and mirrors.

The design team focused on major points on this improving rider feedback, the ergonomics to be more track improving the bike’s nimbleness, it better throttle response of course, upping the horsepower.

One of goals with the new ZX-10R was to it “improved rider feel,” so frame, seat and tailsection redesigned for more contact.

To rider feedback, the frame more rigid. Though of the changes aren’t visible to the eye, the most noticeable looking at cutaway frames) is a ram-air passageway around the pipe, increasing chassis and giving the air a more direct to the throttle bodies.

Another Kawasaki had in mind when the ergonomics of the 10R was to give the rider as contact with the motorcycle as for “improved rider feel.” The gas frame, seat and tail were all redesigned, so whether going straight or leaned the bike is always talking to This probably sounds a bunch of marketing mumbo-jumbo, but it on.

Keeping the front tire on the is a fully adjustable 43mm fork with DLC (Diamond Coating) for reduced friction. In the sits a fully adjustable shock, which adds for both high- and low-speed damping. This year mounted four-piston calipers two pads (instead of four on year’s model) clamp on 310mm petal-type rotors.

rigidity is increased in part a straighter ram-air path steering head.

As if the engine any more power, the latest now has reshaped and hand-finished combustion for smooth airflow, secondary injectors located above the throttle bodies for improved response, titanium valves and profiles with higher Kawasaki claims that, ram air, this engine out 190 horsepower at the crank…all while Euro III emissions standards! All power is fed through a six-speed with an adjustable back-torque clutch.

With so much on tap, keeping it all under was a major concern. The Kawasaki Management System hopes to any unwanted applications of the throttle. note: This system is not control, as there are no wheel sensors.

Instead, every .02 KIMS monitors a variety of like engine speed, position, gear position, air pressure and temperature to determine spikes in engine speed. If a surge is detected, the ignition is retarded to bring everything in line. The system is passive in if you ham-fist the throttle open on exit, it will assume you the full delivery of power.

The system only comes in neutral or closed throttle For instance, assuming the bike is over on neutral throttle and the tire hits a patch of the tire will spin, in a spike in engine speed, though the rider never his wrist. That’s when the steps in and settles everything

Despite Öhlins steering we experienced some headshake on the

With all the techie stuff out of the way it was to see if the big Ninja lived up to the hype. To do Kawasaki flew us to the Losail Circuit in the small Persian state of Qatar to give bikes a good flogging. the track was featureless except for the grass lining the edges, the was smooth and provided good of grip.

The technical track also test the bike’s and low-speed handling capabilities. with Pirelli’s ultra-sticky Corsa tires (Bridgestone is standard on bikes coming we were let loose. Immediate impressions revealed that the is fairly narrow and compact, the rearsets actually lower I expected.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (ZX1000-C1)

Make no mistake, this is fast, but power delivery is so it’s deceiving. Until you down at the speedo, that is. The big tachometer is easy to read, when the needle smacks the redline.

The large LED display the tach holds the speedometer, indicator and, for the racer in all of us, a lap among other things.

on track and the new ZX-10R continued to Remember that bit about feedback and the bike’s ability to to you? Well, flicking the from side to side that it’s surprisingly

Feel from both the and rear suspension inspired the to keep leaning the bike and farther. That is, until the touch the ground. Coming the final bend and accelerating the mile-long straight the Ninja was a Clicking through the six-speed box was a except for a stubborn third-fourth change at times.

The low windscreen air over the head while the indicators mounted on the mirrors divert air up and over the shoulders. it may look weird, the indicators help envelope the pilot in a air pocket while in a tuck.

High-arching swingarm design rigidity and clears exhaust

A quick peek at the speedo upward of 260 kph (we were riding models) before jumping on the for Turn 1. Lap after lap, the slowed the 394-pound (claimed, Ninja without a hint of Initial bite was excellent and was simple. With a little damping taken out of the rear its tendency to get light under was reduced and made the bike feel like a 600 in the turns.

I what you’re thinking–so how the KIMS work? Honestly, I tell you, since on this track were perfect. Although I can confirm the system definitely is not a form of control, at least in the traditional Exiting a sweeping 180-degree with the bike still over, yours truly was a too greedy with the throttle. when the rider gives the throttle the KIMS doesn’t

As such, the small contact of the Pirelli was overwhelmed by my right and started to spin. Not wanting to get to the moon, a steady release of the brought everything back in If it were true traction wheel speed sensors have detected the wheelspin and it to a halt, despite the twisting of my

As great a motorcycle the ZX-10R to be, it has its limitations. As mentioned earlier, the were touching down than expected. A shame how eager the bike is to lean.

it is equipped with a steering (and an Ohlins at that), its was questionable. Clicking through the settings didn’t reveal any in stiffness, and some headshake on the still meant lifting off the at times. But take into just how well the rest of the works and it’s easy to these minor issues.

you look at it, Team Green is out of the gates swinging for 2008 and the of the Big Four better look Ninja will be hard to

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (ZX1000-C1)

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