Kawasaki ZX10-R Ninja test
20 years on the Ninja is reborn. We thought the species had disappeared, but with the presentation of the Kawasaki ZX10-R, the wild world of sports bikes have found their new ambassador.
Esthetique: Hiding its game
To see it at rest, it doesnt come across as such a monster. Its tapered look does catch the eye, and despite the front air intake, the kawa isnt the scariest looking machine out there. To reinforce this opinion, its size comes near that of the 600 and the frontal surface of this green machine is less than that of its little sibling, the ZX-6. As for the finish, Kawasakis standards are on the rise and the result is clearly pleasing. Integrated turn signals at the front, well thought out and designed at the back, work well done. The instrument panel is a known quantity; it has adopted elements first seen on the Z1000, a digital speedometer, shift light, clock, odometer, stopwatch and the well-known liquid crystal tachometer, still difficult to read, which is its only negative.
But lets take a look at what interests everyone the most : the engine, 184 horsepower with the air force system and nearly 12 mkg of torque for a total weight of 170kg, dry... dimensions almost worthy of a Grand Prix racer from the early 1990s... this hasnt come about by accident, the titanium exhaust valves, extra short piston skirts and the polished intake pipes which are usually reserved for competition prepared machines are found on the ZX10-R. Below 9000 revs, the character and power of the 4-cylinders is familiar. However, when approaching 10 000 rpm and just to the limiter, the bike wants to stretch the riders arms. One can thus take advantage because the riding position isnt overly uncomfortable, a nice surprise, actually.
On the road: Ardent but reasonable
The all aluminium twin beam structure was developed first, and like with the Yamaha R1, the frame rails pass over the engine block, reducing the overall width of the bike. Coupled with a 43mm inverted front fork and a very long swing arm, the ZX10 is far more rigid, which translates into more vivacity and superior ride ability. Its stopping power is equally stunning. 4 radial mounted opposing piston callipers, like those found on all self respecting sports bikes bite the 2 semi-floating petal shaped discs. The only negative we could find with this motorbike was the demands it puts upon the rider. One will need tons of experience before conquering the raw speed that this bike produces, this Kawasaki is a very delicate bike to control. So there you have it a motorbike of the highest performance standard, and certainly not the bike for just any rider, but Kawasaki should rekindle its reputation thanks to this machine.