Finally breaking cover officially, the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R made its official debut at Intermot this week. For 2011, Kawasaki has taken a ground-up approach to building its liter-bike offering, and the Japanese company has its eye squarely on racing in World Superbike for 2011. Developing the race bike ahead of the street model, the new ZX-10R should prove to be a monster of a machine with its 197hp at the crank power figure (207hp with ram air) and 436.6lbs curb weight (+12lbs for ABS). However, for the US market the bike will get watered down by 10hp or so for emissions, which Kawasaki is quietly trying to downplay.
As we reported earlier when the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R leaked, Kawasaki like many other brands is bringing an optional ABS system to the sportbike genre, but Japanese firm has also brought a very sophisticated traction control system to the party, which will be a standard option. Taking measurements every 5 milliseconds from the front and rear tire pickups, throttle position sensor, engine speed, and other inputs, Kawasaki’s S-KTRC, according to the company, is the most advanced traction control system to-date in the consumer market. With pricing starting at $13,799 MSRP (+$1000 for ABS), we’d certainly hope it’s the most advanced sport bike on the market.
Helping justify that price are other niceties besides the traction control and ABS systems, like the Öhlins steering damper and Showa Big Piston Forks (BPF). The rear shock has been horizontally mounted for better mass-centralization and cooling, and Kawasaki says the positioning is better for suspension feel and performance. For 2011, Kawasaki has also gotten on-board with the varying ride modes, with a three-way selectable power mode actionable while on the fly.
Styling with Kawasaki really is a love/hate affair, with the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R coming in either black or green (shocking, we know). You’ll have to make your own assessments on the angular styling of the new ZX-10R, but we happen to like it. The LED-lit dash is perhaps our favorite part, as it looks clean and immediately understandable.
Does all of this justify a price in BMW S1000RR (sans traction control) territory? Only time will tell (we smell a bike shoot-out coming).
2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Technical Specifications:
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression ratio: 13.0:1
Fuel system: DFI with four 47mm Keihin throttle bodies with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Final drive: Chain
Rake / trail: 25.0 degrees / 4.33 in.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 190/55 ZR17
Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
Front suspension: 43mm inverted Big Piston Fork (BPF) with DLC coating, adjustable rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension: Horizontal Back-link with gas-charged shock and top-out spring, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 4.9 in.
Front brakes: Dual semi-floating 310mm petal discs with dual four-piston radial-mount calipers
Rear brakes: Single 220mm petal disc with aluminum single-piston caliper
Overall length: 81.7 in.
Overall width: 28.2 in.
Overall height: 43.9 in.
Seat height: 32.0 in.
Curb weight: 436.6 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Color choices: Lime Green / Ebony, Ebony / Flat Ebony
MSRP: $13,799 / ABS $14,799
Warranty: 12 Months