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

  • BikePilot

    Bummer, but good on Kawasaki for making it right before it became a big problem developed.

  • Steve Guanche

    Well BMW had a similar snag with break in RPM and limited the RPM untill the milage was acheived.
    Curious to know what the root cause of this Technical Hold condition is ?

  • MikeD

    Kawasaki is getting it’s BALLS off the Jar from one of the kitchen’s cabinets and putting it right where it belongs…back in the ZX-10R. S1000RR Riders beware…lol.

    Seriously tho, is great they have stood for their product and did good by the customer “before” it got out of the bag. Reminds me of Aprilia with the first year RSV4…another great sample of “NOT screwing the Pooch(Customer).

  • Bob Dogjuice

    If it is an engine problem, that’s really bad. I mean what is the ZX-10R but the engine?

    Been following perhaps the similar plight of Rolls Royce with their Trent 900 aircraft engines after the Qantas near disaster over Singapore last month.

    All the CAD in the world won’t save you from careless engineers, crap quality control or faulty manufacturing.

  • Dan Bynum

    “Don’t call it a recall”? Give me a break. With a recall the bikes are fixed. Kawasaki is buying these back. There is someone who is dead or disabled and they want to limit the lawsuits. This is much worse than a recall.

  • Matt K

    Maybe Ducati needs to take a page out of Kawasaki’s book and fix swelling tanks already. How longs it been, 3 years?! WTF!

  • WHATEVER the reason, hats off to Kawi for doing this. But I’m wondering: If you financed this thing through some lender or even from Kawasaki’s financial arm, what about the loan contract, which with the total of payments adds up to a LOT more than sticker? Are they buying out your financing too, or are you now making payments until you get your new serial# replacement?

  • Steve

    Kudos to Kawasaki!

  • kawasaki ninja is alwaz been a good brand in bikes but such probs must be rare

  • Dan: How do you know? That would be terrible.

  • Dan 2002 ZX12R

    To Joey, it is uncommon / rare that you will owe future interest on a bike loan if you pay it off early.

    My ZX12R’s over 9 years old and the only problem is a slight gasket leak. My previous Honda VFR had the infamous regulator failure and Honda never said anything about it. I’m still happy w/ Kawasaki, though they uglified the ZX12R when they made it a 14.

  • Yes, Dan, I get that, but if they would rebate the price of the bike only, would you still be left holding the bag between the agreed selling price and the total of the contract/payments from the lender?

  • john Dan

    I would never buy a Kawasaki, especially the ZX10’s as well as Zx6’s. When doing oil change low oil pressure warning light stays on for 2 to 3 minutes. No telling how much damage caused by motor not getting adequate pressure but still, major design flaw not to mention gap in front wheel of many 08 and 09 ZX10’s causes forks to bind. Again poor design and crap quality from kawasaki. Consumer services are also pretty callous