Kawasaki has unveiled its 2011 model ZX-10R at Intermot this week.
Kawasaki has unveiled its 2011 model ZX-10R at Intermot this week, finally taking the covers off the highly anticipated sportsbike.
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.
The MotoGP-derived S-KTRC (Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control) system works by crunching numbers from a variety of parameters and sensors – wheel speed and slip, engine rpm, throttle position, acceleration, etc. to maximize forward propulsion.
There’s more data gathering and analysis going on here than on any other Kawasaki in history, and it’s all in the name of helping racers inch closer to the elusive “edge” of maximum traction than ever before.
The S-KTRC system relies on complex software buried in the new ZX-10R’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU); the only additional hardware is the lightweight speed sensors located on each wheel. Unlike the system used on the Concours 14 ABS, the S-KTRC system is designed to maximize performance by using complex analysis to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavorable.
By quickly, but subtly, reducing power just before the amount of slippage exceeds the optimal traction zone, the system – which processes every data point 200 times per second – maintains the optimum level of tire grip to maximize forward motion.
The system also incorporates an advanced Power Mode system that 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.
Chassis geometry was juggled to offer the best possible stability and handling quickness. Rake, at 25 degrees, is a half-degree steeper than on the 2010 machine, while trail has been reduced from 110 to 107mm.
Despite this being a thoroughbred supersport, the ZX-10R’s ergonomics have been fine tuned for optimum control and comfort.
The slightly lower saddle, adjustable footpegs positioned lower and more forward relative to the previous model and clip-ons with a bit less downward angle make for a hard-core sportbike you can actually take on an extended sport ride and still be reasonably comfortable.
To accommodate a wide variety of riders, the ZX-10R features adjustable footpegs which are actually positioned slightly lower and forward from the 2010 model.
To achieve the kind of handling performance Kawasaki was after, the completely redesigned ZX-10R sports a totally revamped crankshaft/transmission layout that contributes to a higher center of mass. This was done by locating the crankshaft approximately 10 degrees higher relative to the output shaft. All of this contributes to improved handling via mass centralization.
The ZX-10R features a 43mm open-class version of the Big Piston Fork (BPF) found on last year’s Ninja ZX-6R. Featuring a piston design nearly twice the size of a conventional cartridge fork, the BPF offers smoother action, less stiction, lighter overall weight and enhanced damping performance on the compression and rebound circuits.
Stopping duties are handled by 310mm petal-type discs squeezed by Tokico radial-mount calipers.
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.
A total body redesign for the 2011 ZX-10R results in a lighter, more compact and even sexier shape, with more curved – rather than edged – surfaces.
Surprisingly, this sportbike is one you can actually take on a long ride in relative comfort. And because it’s 10 kilograms 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.
- All-new engine and chassis add up to improved power delivery and more control
- All-new Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC) continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position, engine rpm and a host of other data to help ensure the optimal amount of traction
- All-new Power Mode selector allows riders to select power level and power delivery
- All-new aluminum frame has ideal strength and rigidity
- All-new Big Piston Fork helps maintain composure under braking
- All-new horizontal back-link rear suspension helps improve road holding, and helps deliver smoother suspension action
- 2011 ZX-10R is 10 kilograms lighter than the 2010 model
- Improved mass centralization
- Slipper-type back-torque limiting clutch helps improve corner entry handling
- All-new race-oriented instrumentation offers riders a wealth of information