Don’t Call It a Recall: 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Goes on Technical Hold – Engine Problems Suspected

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Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. issued a statement this weekend saying that the company was placing a technical hold on all 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R sportbikes because of an undisclosed problem found to exist with the current design. While Kawasaki has been tight-lipped on what exactly is the issue with the new ZX-10R early indications seem to suggest a problem with the engine, which is an equally nebulous reason. As a part of the technical hold, Kawasaki dealers will be returning all unsold ZX-10R sportbikes to Kawasaki’s warehouses, and all sold units to customers will be bought back with a full refund.

While it doesn’t appear that Kawasaki is issuing an official recall with the NHTSA, this announcement effectively recalls the entire 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R line. Kawasaki says it will not redistribute the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to dealers until it is 100% satisfied the bike meets company standards, but we imagine the owners being asked to have their bikes bought back by Kawasaki are less than enthralled by this news. Current ZX-10R owners who do sell their bikes back to Kawasaki will be among the first to have the option of receiving a new unit once the technical hold has been lifted.

The 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R has been at the center of sportbike news in 2010 because of its early leak and eventual unveiling at Intermot this year. With a touted 197hp at the crank, American riders were disappointed to find out the ZX-10R would be making considerably less power because of EPA noise restrictions. To meet federal standards, Kawasaki had to de-tune the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R by 750 RPM’s, which results in roughly 20hp being lost off the international version of the machine.

With this weekend’s latest news, information is leaking that the ZX-10R’s engine is to blame for the technical hold. While some dealers seem expect the technical hold will only last for a couple weeks, the technical hold could be related to issues related to the ZX-10R’s piston wear, which has plagued a small number of owners, but that’s just speculation at this point. Kawasaki isn’t disclosing much about the situation, but more information as we get it.

Source: Kawasaki USA

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.