Kawasaki’s new-from-the-ground-up 2011 Ninja® ZX™-10R is the meanest and most talented Ninja yet, offering the most advanced traction-control system in all of production motorcycling. The MotoGP-derived S-KTRC, or Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control system works by processing every data point 200 times per second and then maximizes performance by subtly reducing power just before the amount of slippage exceeds the optimal traction zone, thus maximizing forward motion.
Because of the electronic throttle actuation, an advanced Power Mode system allows riders to choose the amount of power – and the character of delivery – available from the engine.
At the heart of the 10R is an all-new 998cc, 16-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four, easily the most advanced engine from Kawasaki. Emphasis was placed on linear power delivery, to accomplish that; peak torque was moved to a higher rpm range, which allows racers and track-day riders to open the throttle earlier and with more confidence.
Of course, the second half of the handling equation lies in an all-new aluminum twin-spar frame of just seven pieces that features optimized flex characteristics for ideal rider feedback, cornering performance and lighter weight.
A first for the 10R, a 43mm open-class version of the Big Piston Fork (BPF) found on last year’s Ninja ZX-6R makes its way here. Out back is a horizontal back-link suspension design that positions the shock and linkage above the swingarm. Full adjustability, including low- and high-speed compression damping, is still available.
Information gets back to the rider through LED instrumentation that’s totally new as well. For track use, the LCD display can be set to “race” mode which moves the gear display to the center of the screen.
Surprisingly, this sportbike is one you can actually take on a long ride in relative comfort. And because it’s 22 pounds lighter than last year’s bike, the new ZX-10R will be quicker and more nimble in any environment you choose to ride it in.