2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Preview –

7 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Preview –
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (ZX1000-C1)

We discover secret info about the baddest Ninja ever!

Photos by Kawasaki

If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ll have seen evidence of a new teaser marketing campaign in advance of Kawasaki’s upcoming 2011 ZX-10R literbike. A trickling of info, photos and an all-too-brief video have been served up at Kawasaki-Challenge.com since the site launched on June 21.

The site’s latest dollop of 10R news came last week when a race version of the 2011 ZX-10R took part in track testing at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan on July 7 and 8. The non-stock Ninja was ridden on the first day by test rider Hidemichi Takahashi, followed up on day two by Kawasaki’s former World Superbike star rider, Akira Yanagawa.

First off, let’s dispel two wild rumors. The new 10R has neither a big-bang firing order nor a horizontal placement of its cylinders, despite fanciful speculation in lesser publications. Rumors of variable valve timing are also likely unfounded.

Instead, we find an evolutionary literbike design of a traditional inline-Four engine wrapped in a perimeter-beam aluminum frame.

And yet, despite the apparent lack of visible innovation, we’re told to expect a seriously competitive liter-sized sportbike. It’s a total ground-up redesign. Rumors suggest a production version of the new 10R can lap Kawi’s Autopolis test track seconds quicker than the 2010 model.

Perhaps the headlining news is that Kawi’s lawyers have allowed engineers to develop what might turn out to be a class-leading electronic rider-aid package, including multi-adjustable traction control. We’re told to expect a TC system that is better than the BMW package on the S1000RR, able to be toggled through more customizable settings. A performance-based anti-lock braking system will be optional, but a BMW-like quick-shifter won’t be part of the package.

The new Ninja will have comprehensive instrumentation, including the ability to switch between street and track displays.

Speaking of the S1000RR, that’s the stunning new target Kawasaki has to aim for in this revitalized market segment. The current ZX-10R is the lowest-revving literbike (aside from the Aprilia RSV4), so we’re expecting a modest increase in max revs from 13,000 to maybe 13,500 rpm. That’s still short of the S1000’s lofty 14K rev limit, suggesting the Ninja engine’s bore is less than the massive 80mm slugs in the BMW.

From what we’ve been able to gather, the newest Ninja is expected to produce peak horsepower numbers near or in excess of 170 ponies at the rear tire. The S1000 pumps out a minimum of 170 hp.

In terms of styling, it seems like the 2011 ZX-10 has the design bones that should produce the most attractive 10R yet. The shape of its bodywork is chiseled yet sleek, wrapping tightly around the mechanical bits. Large side cut-outs in the fairing add to the perception of lightness and expose the engine.

A diminutive tailsection helps aid the impression of lightness.

Speaking of weight, it will be interesting to see how many ounces can be whittled away. The current 10R weighs in at 458 pounds with its tank filled, and that’s 5 more than the S1000RR and a whopping 21 pounds heavier than Honda’s CBR1000RR. The 2011 ZX will surely be lighter than the BMW, and it might even approach the CBR’s astonishingly low (437-lb) weight.

Keep in mind that 20-some pounds were shed from the ZX-6R in its last redesign.

The 10R’s nose is particularly interesting. A huge centrally located ram-air duct is impossible to ignore, and it funnels cool air into a pressurized airbox via channels in the aluminum frame’s steering head. Expect some form of cat-eye headlights on either side of that gaping maw.

Its sloped nose implies slippery aerodynamics, underlined by its beak that extends many inches past the front axle. A faired front fender includes leading-edge extensions for smoother flow through 180-plus mph winds.

The aluminum-beam perimeter frame appears to have abandoned Kawasaki’s over-the-engine design, looking quite conventional. This change seems to have had the side benefit of a lower fuel tank, perhaps augmented by a sub-tank partially located under the seat.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (ZX1000-C1)

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