Official: 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Gets 750 RPM Redline Reduction Because of EPA Noise Laws

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We just got off the phone with Kawasaki HQ, and it’s official: the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R will inadvertently get a power decrease when it comes to the United States because of the EPA’s regulation of noise pollution, confirming earlier rumors from this week. The issue surrounds the EPA’s new methodology for measuring exhaust noise levels, which now involves taking the measurement at a percentage of the total rev range, instead of a specific rpm value.

The result is that the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R passes the Euro III standards, but fails the EPA standards in its unadulterated form. To come into compliance with the EPA’s Noise Control Act, Kawasaki has lowered the rev-limit on the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R by 750 rpm in order to meet the new criteria. The byproduct of lowering the rev-limiter will reduce the new ZX-10R’s maximum power output, but Kawasaki isn’t saying by how much.

Kawasaki says its the redline for American 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R’s will be 13,750 rpm, and sources outside of Kawasaki say the drop in peak power could be by as much as 10hp at the crank. Kawasaki insists that nothing is mechanically different from the European model and the American model (the EU model does have an ignition disabler, but that’s not really relevant), with the differences between the two bikes residing in their computer software. While they won’t specifically state how they are changing the bike’s ECU firmware, we can assume that some sort of software rev-limiter is being employed to bring down the maximum rpm figure.

This news will probably disappoint spec-sheet racers, but the practicality is that riders looking for the 197 crank horsepower from the ZX-10R won’t have to look far as modifications and aftermarket products are sure to hit the streets immediately after the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R’s debut here in the USA.