Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R review – All you need to know

When Kawasaki launched the ZX-10R in 2016, the brand’s primary focus was on riding dynamics and not just looks alone. In terms of the styling, not a lot has changed while nearly every component on the bike has been revised, all of which have been inspired by Kawasaki’s WSBK raching tachnology. The boffins at Kawasaki believe if the bike is easy to ride, the rider will be able to push it to its limits. This was an update that was long overdue since the 2011 model. We take it for a spin.

You’re ZeXy and you know it

Looking at the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, it isn’t hard to tell that it’s similar to the old bike. However, look closer, and you will be able to spot the changes. The front fairing has been restyled, now featuring softer curves; the windscreen is wider with intakes on either side to help bring down negative air pressure. The mud-guard up-front is new too, and has been inspired by the H2R from Kawasaki Bikes. It has been designed to help improve air-flow to the radiator, which in turn, aids better cooling. The tank and mid-section are untouched; the tail section is new though. We like the Show Balance-Free Forks up-ahead.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R gets a new chassis, featuring a head-stock that is placed closer to the rider; this helps add heft over the front tyre and improves responsiveness from the front. The wheelbase is not the same because of the longer swing-arm. The engine is placed a little higher up as well to help enhance agility. This results in a more predictable and sure-footed feel from up-front, further contributing to the bike’s nimble handling. The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is higher, wider and longer than the bike it replaces; however, it weighs a bit more.


Kawasaki Bikes have taken things up a notch with the electronic package on the bike, which has been designed in-house. It is based on Bosch’s IMU. The ZX-10R is easier to handle through corners, and this electronics package can sense changes in road camber and tyre pressure. The instrument cluster is the same as before, but it gets updates to the LCD screen; it features an IMU indicator, traction control, launch control, engine braking control, intake air temperature, quick shift and average and instant fuel consumption.

The bike also features dual trip meters, a low fuel indicator and an odometer, all of which can be controlled through a single rocker switch, featuring a select button. The electronics Ohlins steering damper is the same, but comes with tweaked settings to suit the chassis. This adjusts the damping based on the speed and the degree of acceleration and braking. The bike features a quick shifter; the shifts are smooth and precise.

Japanese rocket

Kawasaki makes great engines and the ZX-10R is powered by a 998cc, 16-valve, DOHC, in-line-four engine which has received some updates in the form of a lighter crankshaft – this reduces the weight of the bike and betters acceleration and throttle response. The gearbox shifts precisely; power kinks in after 8000rpm and once it reaches its limit, the bike feels extreme to ride. When decelerating, the slipper clutch makes way for predictable downshifts.

Ride right

About the engine

On the bike, you get five different modes for traction control; the first two of which are for the track; so is the third, while the fourth mode is made for curvey hill sections and fifth is for urban conditions. Even if the rear does slide out a bit, it is well controlled. The suspension setup on the motorcycle is brilliant; it handles bad roads well at low and high speeds, You do feel the harsh ones come through, but let’s not forget this is a superbike.

Up-ahead, it features Showa BFF and the Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion do a fine job in helping you stay stable. The bike refuses to get unsettled even around corners and the feedback from the suspension is brilliant. Even when it comes to the brakes, this bike won’t let you down, for it gets twin Brembo M50 monobloc, four-piston calipers, bolted on to 330mm discs at the front and a two-piston Nissin caliper bolted on to a 220mm disc at the back.

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