Kawasaki just took the wraps off its new ZX-10R superbike, and as predicted, it’s got new aerodynamics, along with an overhauled chassis and electronics system.
The engine gets revised to 2021’s Euro5 emissions standard, which is the driving force in most of this season’s model updates. As such, it seems the inline four engine is mostly unchanged, with no horsepower gains (196 hp for 2021, says Kawi’s Canadian press release). It gets a new air-cooled oil cooler setup for 2021(derived from the WSBK bike!), new electronic throttle valves and a new exhaust system. Most of these changes are aimed at cleaning up the emissions.
The gearbox gets new ratios as well, with shorter gears in first through third. There’s a quickshifter included as standard equipment.
The chassis stretches from 1440 mm to 1450 mm, with swingarm 8 mm longer and 2 mm more offset added to the forks. The swingarm pivot is lower, too. This is all supposed to make for better turn-in; the bike’s mass is now weighted more towards the front, which should sharpen handling. As far as suspension, there’s a set of Showa Balance Free forks and shock, with settings revised to mesh properly with the new chassis.
As for the new aerodynamics system: Kawasaki didn’t go with exterior winglets on the ZX-10R. Instead, we get aeros integrated into the fairing, “offering improved stability courtesy of increased downforce while retaining a cohesive outward design,” according to Kawi. No doubt this design came for technical reasons, but it does avoid the Transformers look, somewhat. As for the rest of the bodywork, that’s all-new too, and it wears the Kawasaki River Mark badge. Kawasaki only puts that mark on machinery it considers top-shelf, which gives you an idea how the company feels about this bike.
Kawasaki says the new bike has a Bluetooth-integrated TFT dash (enabling smartphone and headset interface, for Rideology functions), along with cornering ABS, launch control, engine brake control, an electronic steering damper (from Ohlins) and a Bosch IMU that governs the whole setup. There’s also a set of Sport, Road and Rain riding modes, and electronic cruise control is standard equipment.
Kawasaki wants $19,999 for the ZX-10R in 2021 ($20,299 for the KRT paint). Unfortunately, it seems the ZX-10RR will not be coming in 2021. More details in the spec sheet below!
2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
MSRP: $19,999 / $20,299 (KRT)
Engine: 998 cc, DOHC, in-line four
Power: 199 ps @ 11,500 rpm (with Ram Air)
Torque: 114 Nm @ 11,300 rpm
Chassis: twin-spar, cast aluminum
Suspension, front: 43 mm inverted fork (BFF) with external compression chamber, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out springs / 120 mm of travel.
Suspension, rear: Horizontal Back-link, BFRC lite gas-charged shock with piggyback reservoir, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out spring / 115 mm travel
Wheels: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W) Front / 190/55ZR17M/C (75W) Rear
Brakes: Dual semi-floating ø330 mm Brembo discs with dual radial-mount Brembo M50 monobloc four-piston caliper front, 220 mm disc with single-piston caliper rear
Curb weight: 207 kg
Wheelbase: 1,450 mm
Length: 2,085 mm
Width: 750 mm
Ground clearance: 135 mm
Seat height: 835 mm (33 in)