The launch of the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R has been a rocky one for Team Green. First there was the new that the ZX-10R’s class leading power figures wouldn’t be making it to the American market, as the Japanese manufacturer was honoring new EPA noise standards, which necessitated the Kawasaki ZX-10R getting its wings clipped by 750RPM and approximately 20hp. With this sort of impediment soon to become a common occurrence in the North American markets, the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R is just the first of many bikes likely coming to the Land of the Free with less power than its European counterparts.

The next big blow for the ZX-10R occurred just a few weeks ago when Kawasaki put a worldwide technical hold on the model, and asked for units already sold in the United States to be returned to the manufacturer. Kawasaki was tight-lipped on the actual reason for the technical hold, but rumors that a piston problem was the cause quickly emerged. Now releasing more information about the technical hold, Kawasaki says that its engine issue was not in the pistons, but instead was due to an intake valve seating issue was the cause of the non-recall.

According to Kawasaki engineers, the sales hold resulted from a finding that indicated a possible surging of the intake valve springs when the ZX-10R is operated under unique riding conditions (read: when riding on a racetrack, or other “spirited” riding conditions). Apparently the surge could cause the intake valves to seat improperly, resulting in poor engine performance, which could mean it affected the engine power output, engine reliability, or both.

As a remedy Kawasaki replaced the camshaft, valve springs, and spring retainers on the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, which should prevent the surging, and maintain the ZX-10R’s engine performance. Additionally, Kawasaki USA has announced that sales of the Ninja ZX-10R are expected to resume in late January 2011.

Source: Kawasaki USA