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Discussion Starter #1
MCN Australia
Story Ken Wootton
19th Dec 2003

Kawasaki claims 175ps at 11,700 for its latest Ninja or a whopping 184ps with ram air effect. Combine that with the claimed dry weight of 170kg and things happen awfully quickly when the ZX10rs throttle is given a decent twist. The verdict after two days at Homestaed I have no reason to doubt Kawasaki’s claim.

The pre release PR hype is true. The zx10r feels like a 600 in size, but with the midrange grunt of a GSXR1000 – and perhaps then some. Pushing the zx10r around pit lane it was easy to mistake it for a 600, but out on the track there’s no mistaking it for a 600. The zx10r chassis is short and compact, just like a 600 Supersport bike, with the zx10r feeling smaller than the 2003 Fireblade and 2003 YZF R1.

The engine spins to 11,000rpm as quickly as a Supersport 600, but a 600’s don’t want to wheel-stand out of every slow corner, or leave long black lines from the rear tyre like a zx10r. And it wasn’t just me. Every-time on to Homestead’s back straight the zx10r would pick its front wheel up and wiggle the ‘bars in my hands while I dragged my, er, my ample kilos forward to try and keep things pointing in the general direction I wanted to travel as the bike rocketed forward. The zx10r gives one helluva exciting ride.
“I only weight 57kg, and It wanted to wheelstand out of every corner,” commented on of the polits at the launch. “I haven’t ridden a bike like that before, and i’ve ridden a few bikes in my time…….”

With the power to weight ratio that sets even higher standards for the class, the zx10r has certainly come out punching – and it’s the GSXR1000 it’s aiming its first swing at. Whether it’s a jab to the jaw or a full on kick to the goolies will have to wait for the comparo season in early 2004.

Its no secret that Kawasaki has been testing and develping the zx10r in back to back test with the current big bore king, so it’s fair to assume that the zx10r wasn’t going onto the market if it didn’t match or better the GSXR1000 and not only on the specs sheet. Those back to back tests have included dyno runs and timed lasp at race circuits, proof of Kawasaki’s refocus on the sportsbike category, a strategy made clear by the Kawasaki hierarchy at the zx-6r launch a year ago. Whether the zx10r can dethrone the current king, with more than 1ps per kilo (on Kawasaki’s claimed figures.), it certainly seems to have the stats on its side. The zx10r’s chassis is more imble that the GSXR’s although the engine doesn’t feel as brutal as the Suzuki’s. That doesn’t mean the zx10r hasn’t got more horse power, just that the engine feels for refined in the way it delivers it. Think Chev V8 versus AMG Benz V8.

The riding position is surprisingly good for a narrow-focus sportsbike, even for my 187cm height, with the concave tank allowing me tuck down low behind the screen. There was surprisingly plenty of room for e and my glutes in the saddle, and was able to move my weight around as I pleased – most often to drag myself forward to keep the front end somewhere near the tarmac!
It was no doubt this roominess that helped me appreciably in the comfort stakes – the zx10r is small, but I wasn’t wedged in the one positon as can happen on some bikes with minimal space between seat hump an fuel tank.

STICKY RUBBER

Steering is quick, and the high speed stablity of the 10r at Homestead could’nt be faulted, even without a steering damper fitted as standard. That aforementioned wiggle of the bars was related to whether the front tyre was skimming the tarmac. Tyres that the zx10r will be equipped with will be Dunlop’s new D218’s . The brakes with the petal rotor, has plenty of power and good feel. The gearbox on my particular testbike was a gem – the best kawasaki box I have every sampled – although one on another zx10r I rode on day two was a little notcher in operation.

INTERESTING TACTICS

The clutch there were no untidy rear end lock ups, with the slipper clutch helping there. And it wasn’t only me, as I to witness some interesting antics up close from the Japanese journos present, who tend to be ex 500GP and All Japan Superbike riders, guest testing for their respective magazines. Believe me there was no same in being out braked by leathers carrying the names of Shunji Yatsushiro (an ex-teamate of Wayne Gardner), Toshi Arakiki, and Kei Nashimoto.

Occasionally a fishing-tailing zx10r would whistle up the inside of me under brakes for the two hairpins, the rear end waving in the breeze as the front anchors went about doing there business of slowing their kamikaze pilots. But at no stage did I see a locked or chattering rear wheel. Impressive. The zx10r engine pulls cleanly from 4000rpm and builds all the way to the adjustable shift light, which flickered at me at 11,000rpm as I snicked the next gear. Most of the time I’ll admit to being happy to short shift between gears as performance was, er, somewhat ample. Revving the 10r didn’t make for appreciably quicker lap-time in a tack like Homestead, but when I did venture up into the red the ride became far more exhilarating and exciting – Jekyll and Hyde all wrapped up in one disguised in zx10r bodywork?

In Australia Jan Feb around 19K to 20K

My first impressions of the zx10r is an exciting, but controllable, ride. Get on the gas hard and the bike comes alive – the front end gets light, the rear end stress the rubber, and the zx10r rockets forward with a mazing velocity, with the ‘bars shimming in your hands as the front tyre skims the road surface. I still remember the exhilaration and trill of the original 1992 Fireblade, or the Yamaha’s R1. The zx10r is more refined than those two, but with the same buzz of excitement. The zx10r is seriously fast.

But that should come to no surprise. Kawasaki has always built powerful engines – it’s just decided to put this one in a 600 chassis.


Hope you guys find the reading as interesting as it did seems like Ken was very impressed with the New KING ZX10R :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Its interesting the feed back from the the other journos, they all seem very impressed with zx10r. The gearbox was a concern with other journos. But not the Aussie guy he must have been given the good one
 
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