Episode 43 of the Brap Talk motorcycle podcast is back with another weekly episode, for your two-wheeled listening pleasure. In this show, we sit down and talk about a few bikes in particular.
The 2021 model year sees another refresh coming to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, as Team Green has given its WorldSBK-winning superbike a facelift and some updates to keep things at the pointy end.
As we predicted a few weeks ago, this is an update to the current Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, not an all new machine, with the most obvious changes coming to the bike’s bodywork, which features an integrated winglet design…and a face only a mother could love.
In 41 days, Kawasaki plans on unveiling six new motorcycles for the 2021 model year, and no ink has been wasted trying to speculate what those bikes could be.
Could there be a new KLR to rival the Yamaha Ténéré 700 and help Team Green back into the ADV category? Another supercharged model to keep the H2 and H2 SX street bikes company? One more retro-modern play? It’s hard to say.
One thing that did seem for certain was that we would see a new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R superbike, and that is where today’s story takes us.
Now, our Bothan spies have reported in, and given us some clarity on what has only been speculation so far.
If you have a 2019 or 2020 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R series motorcycle, then this latest recall from Kawasaki is for you.
The issue stems around poor ECU programming on the superbike’s computer, which can cause a backfire during high-engine load and use of the quickshifter.
The backfire can create a big combustion force in the exhaust system, which can lead to the air suction valves melting and/or catching on fire.
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is getting an engine upgrade for the 2019 model year. As such, the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R as well as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE will make an even 200hp at the crank, while the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR will make 201hp.
Across all three models, the updated Ninja ZX-10R gets a revised cylinder head, which includes a finger-follower valve train that has 20% less mass than the previous tappet-style valves. This has allowed Kawasaki to use a more aggressive cam profile, accounting for much of the power gained, to the tune of 200hp at the crank.
On the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, things go a step further. The homologation special gets titanium connecting rods from Pankl, which drop nearly a pound (400 grams) from the inline-four engine’s internals. As a result of this weight reduction, the ZX-10RR sees its rev limit increase by 600 rpm over the previous model.
Attention owners of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR motorcycles from the 2016 thru 2018 model yeas, as news has come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that roughly 4,000 of these machines might have issues with their gearboxes.
According to the recall, a high impact force can cause the transmission gears to break during shifting – specifically the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears in the gearbox.
First discovered in the Thai market, Kawasaki found upon further investigation that the strength of these gears was not sufficient, and could break under excessive force. As such, two warranty claims in the US have already been made for this issue.
Our man Kent Brockman (possibly his real name), sat down with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, to ask him how his World Superbike season is going so far.
Rea gives an account of his season, what’s been going on inside the Kawasaki Racing Team. He talks not only about the development of the current model Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R race bike, but also about himself as a racer.
The interview is a frank and detailed insight to one of the fastest riders in the World Superbike Championship right now, and sheds a great deal about who Jonathan Rea actually is. We think you will find the interview extremely interesting. -JB
I know we have mentioned before our love for endurance racing machines. The FIM Endurance World Championship just doesn’t get nearly enough play to soothe our appetite.
It is the last international motorcycle racing series that has a proper tire war; it has strong factory involvement that can see a number of brands winning on any given weekend; and it is also the only true “team sport” in motorcycle racing. What’s not to like, right?
Leading the pack so far this season is Team Kawasaki SRC, which won the season-opener at Le Mans, with riders Greg Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive, and Fabian Foret at the helm.
Team Kawasaki SRC has always been one of the stronger teams in the Endurance World Championship, and this year it looks like thing could finally come together for “Team Verte” – though we still have a lot of racing left to do.
It’s very easy to jump to quick conclusions during the early stages of a season. Momentum swings from one bike to another, and while some riders are ascending, others are having an off weekend.
However, the third round of the Superbike World Championship has definitely shown that Chaz Davies and Ducati are the form package at the moment.
The Welshman and the Italian bike claimed their first wins of 2016 in Aragon, but having been in the thick of the fight for five wins in the opening six races, their pace has not been in question.
What had been in question was top speed. While the Ducati MotoGP bike is a verified rocket, the WorldSBK specification Panigale R has traditionally struggled to keep pace with the Kawasakis on straights.
In the opening rounds we saw this when Davies was easily overtaken by Rea in both Australia and Thailand. Last weekend the tables were sensationally turned.
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is a perfectly capable superbike on the track, but as with any bike available for the street, compromises have to be made. That’s why Kawasaki always makes special factory racing parts, available right from your local Kawasaki dealer.
For the 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, things are no different, and now Kawasaki has released this year’s go-fast parts catalog. If you are a privateer, looking for some factory-backed performance, this should be your first stop before your racing season begins.
Tasty items include an adjustable ECU that optimizes fuel, ignition, timing, over-rev, traction control, launch control, etc. There is also an ABS dongle that can disable anti-locking brakes for one or both of the wheels.
Of course, you can also get the usual chassis adjustment pieces and engine performance parts that you would expect from an OEM racing kit…just be sure to bring your wallet, winning isn’t cheap.
The 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R hasn’t been available for very long, but the venerable superbike already has its first recall. Affecting 805 units, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is being recalled for faulty steering damper bracket mounting bolts, which might break due to being over-tightened.
The recall affects ZX1000RGFAL, ZX1000RGFL, ZX1000SGFAL, and ZX1000SGFL models of the 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, which were manufactured between October 28, 2015 and January 18, 2016.
Since the steering damper bracket could detach and interfere with the steering of the motorcycle, thus increasing the risk of a crash, Kawasaki USA has registered a recall with the NHTSA.