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