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08 Oct 2015
Kawasaki unveil their 2016 ZX-10R Superbike

Kawasaki have just unveiled their 2016 ZX-10R superbike in Spain, making this the first major update of their flagship sportsbike since 2011. The changes that define their new model have all stemmed from their on-track success in the World Superbike Championship.

Unveiled today by Kawasaki's very own newly crowned World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, the new Ninja ZX-10R is the closest a rider can get to a factory superbike and still ride to the shops! Developed in close cooperation between KRT and the Kawasaki factory in Japan, the 2016 ZX-10R has benefited from the input of two Kawasaki Superbike champions, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes. 

The current Ninja ZX-10R has dominated the racetracks of the world, in Superbike and Superstock formats since its introduction in 2011. In the UK the ZX-10R has been the Superstock Championship winning bike for the last 4 seasons and Shakey Byrne has taken the top spot twice on a Ninja ZX-10R so far.

“To go fast, you have to make easy to go fast!” Matsuda san – Project leader for Ninja ZX-10R. 

Everybody knows that when a bike is easy to ride it’s easy to ride fast. If a bike is a handful and trying it’s best to rip your arms off only the very best riders can tame the bike. Matsuda san, the project leader, has worked on every area of the bike to make it the most accomplished race bike but also because this matra – a fantastic road bike too. 

So what have the engineers been working on...?

Engine

Massively re-engineered and fully Euro 4 compliant. Even with a new catalytic converter 2.6 times larger than the 2015 bike – power is 200ps.

  • Lighter crank has 20% less inertia, meaning the rev pick up is faster - but most importantly it aids handling, making the bike far more “flickable” with the lower gyroscopic effect from the high revving engine.
  • Lighter pistons, lighter balancer and lighter primary gear all aid the lower inertia too.
  • Larger titanium exhaust valves married to cams giving broader overlap aid breathing and contribute to max power in the high rev zone.
  • Huge 25% increase to airbox volume with a free flowing airfilter that is 1.6 times bigger and offers 40% less resistance to the air flow.
  • New High grade titanium alloy headers and siliencer.
  • New 32 bit ECU control “Fly by Wire” electronic throttle valves. 

Transmission

  • Quick shifter fitted as standard (upshift only – race kit required for downshift).
  • New closer ratio gearbox. 2nd and 3rd gears lowered (2nd gear approximately half way between 2015 model 1st and 2nd ratio’s) give massive punch of the corner. 6th gear is also slightly lower to keep the drive at the maximum level. 
  • With the improved midrange of the engine and closer 2nd and 3rd gears – drive out of corners is immense! 

Electronics

Kawasaki’s most complete and advanced electronics package ever! Already very highly regarded, the ZX-10R's traction control system for 2016 takes feel and predictive control to another level.

NEW Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program + Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)

  • Bosch IMU complements Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program to determine precise chassis orientation 
  • Operates in 6 DOF (degrees of freedom): 5 measured + 1 calculated
  • Increased chassis orientation awareness was the key component to bring Kawasaki electronics to the next level
  • Cornering Management function assists riders in tracing their intended line through the corner

NEW S-KTRC (Sport-Kawasaki TRaction Control) 

Hybrid predictive/feedback-type evolution of the highly sophisticated traction control system helps riders push harder by maximising acceleration. 5 modes enable expert riders to get even more serious enjoyment on the circuit.

NEW KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode) 

3-mode system designed to help racers optimise acceleration from a launch by managing engine output to prevent wheelspin and minimise wheelies. 

NEW KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System) 

Kawasaki’s supersport-grade high-precision multi-sensing brake management system uses high-precision control to modulate brake pressure during sport riding.

NEW Kawasaki Engine Brake Control

  • Facilitates smooth corner entry on the track. This system allows riders to set engine braking according to preference.

NEW Öhlins Electronic Steering Damper

  • Settings optimised for the racetrack and winding roads

NEW Cornering management function (ABS only) 

Input from the new IMU enables a new control function: cornering management, which assists riders in tracing their intended line through the corner. 

Chassis

Developed with KRT suspension partner Showa and used for the first time ever on a production bike -this is the next level of suspension!

Showa’s advanced φ43 mm Balance Free Front Fork brings state-of-the-art WSB racing technology to a mass-production model. The high-spec fork offers numerous benefits: 

  • increased ride comfort 
  • increased braking stability 
  • increased front-end feel 
  •  independently adjustable compression and rebound damping. 

Damping force is generated outside of the main tube (in the Damping Force Chamber). This allows the whole surface of the main piston to act as a pump, pushing oil towards the valves. 

Compression and rebound damping are generated (and adjusted) completely independently from one anotherand give improved damping force responsiveness (compared to a conventional fork). This results in superb traction and absorption performance. 

Geometry of the bike is changed too, the front forks are closer by 7.5mm effectively making the front end “shorter” and places more weight over the front tyre and gives great feedback to the rider. Overall the wheelbase is longer thanks to a new longer and stiffer swingarm that is matched with a new suspension linkage and Show “Balance Free” rear shock. 

With the race kit, riders now have the opportunity to change to fork position (+/- 4mm forward or backwards) and swingarm pivot (+/- 2mm up or down) for track conditions and layout. 

Brakes

To further improve the Ninja ZX-10R’s corner entry performance on the circuit, a high-spec Brembo front brake system comes as standard. The Brembo system – very similar to the system used on the Ninja H2R – includes the best components available for a mass-production model.

Special tuning at the Brembo factory ensures that all play has been removed from the system, so that when the brakes are called for, they respond immediately.

With a Brembo radial pump master cylinder, high grade stainless steel braided brake hoses and huge semi floating Brembo discs 330mm (up from 310mm on 2015 ZX10R) being gripped by Brembo M50 cast aluminium monobloc callipers you have the best brake system available for a production motorcycle.

The Look

A tighter looking back end and a more aggressive and fuller front cowl are as expected developed from KRT wind tunnel testing to give the best “work area” to concentrate on hitting braking markers and apex’s. 

First deliveries to the UK are planned for late January early February 2016. The base model will be available in Metallic Matt Carbon Grey, plus there is a special KRT Edition colour scheme.

The Facts: 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R

Engine 998cc Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke inline four, DOHC, 16-valve
Bore & Stroke 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression ratio 13.0:1
Claimed power 207bhp @ 13,000rpm (with ram air effect)
Claimed torque 84ftlb @ 11,500rpm
Frame Twin spar, cast aluminium
Front tyre 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Rear Tyre 190/55ZR17M/C (75W)
Front Suspension 43 mm inverted Balance Free Front Fork with external compression chamber, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out springs
Rear suspension Horizontal Back-link with BFRC lite gas-charged shock, piggyback reservoir, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out spring
Front brakes Dual semi-floating 330 mm discs, dual radial-mount Brembo M50 monobloc calipers
Rear brakes Single 220 mm disc, single-bore pin-slide, aluminium piston
Wheelbase 1440mm
Seat height 835mm
Kerb mass 206kg (with ABS)
Fuel capacity 17litres