RIDDEN: 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

Written by Text & Photos By: Paul Mason on .

PRN Gets Taken For a Ride by Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-10R

After recently running a story on Kawasaki’s KMIS (Kawasaki Ignition Management System) (not traction control!) in their flagship supersport bike the Ninja ZX-10R my interest was sparked and I decided to take one for a ride.

en_ZX-10R_action_12034_optFirst off, like most modern bikes, the looks of the ZX-10 gets a love it or hate it kind of response from most people. Although I was of the ‘hate it’ clan, after spending some personal time with the machine, I have to say I’ve come around and have become a fan. I’ve noticed that if you look closely at any one part, the individual pieces do look a little strange. However stepping back and taking in the entire package, it really is a work of art.

Over the past fifteen years or so, the sportbike class of motorcycles has become more and more just race bikes, with just enough lights and mirrors attached to be considered ‘street’ legal. As cool as this is, it has led to a few problems with rideability, and overall fit and finish. Race bikes are built for nothing other than to put laps down on a track. Street bikes have a much more daunting task – giving an enjoyable ride to the consumer.

Well the engineers at Kawasaki have done an incredible job of producing a bike that’s capable enough to lead superbike racer extraordinaire Jordan Szoke to multiple championships, while remaining rideable and refined for the average consumer to ride as weekend warriors. A very smooth powerband, slick shifting tranny, a relatively quiet rider cockpit, and Ohlins steering damper fitted as stock, all make for an award winning package.

IMG_3303_optOk, so you want to know about this ignition management system (not traction control) and how it affects the ride. Well the idea behind this is to prevent undesired spikes in engine RPM. This would come into effect in a situation where the throttle position is consistent but the engine RPMIMG_3310_opt spikes because of wheelspin caused by road conditions and not rider input. If you want to spin the wheel, you can, but if you hit a puddle the ignition control will keep things in check.

We were all curious how this would effect aggressive riding both on the track and the street. Although we never got the chance to hit the track, we were met with less than desirable conditions for many of our street rides. To get right to the point we never noticed the KIPS kick in. We could basically spin the rear wheel at any given time, whether it was in a straight line or mid corner. With that said the KIPS was designed not to interfere with a riders desire to control the wheel spin. And although we never felt the KIPS working, it may have been that it works so well, we just never noticed it. So to put that argument to rest, there is no traction control on the ZX-10R.

Back to the rest of the bike, we are proud to say that Kawasaki has made a real winner with this one. As stated before, the fit and finish is top notch, street rideability is no problem, and the shear numbers it puts up at the track are simply amazing. If you’re in the market for a big bore street bike, or want to take a run at the Canadian Superbike Championship (and like the colour green) run down to your local Kawasaki dealer, and get

THE SPECS

Engine – 998cc DOHC, liquid cooled, inline four
Bore and Stroke – 76.0 x 55.0mm
Fuel Injection – DFI w/ 43mm Throttle bodies, two injectors per cylinder
Transmission – 6-speed
Forks - 43mm inverted fork with DLC coating
Shock - Bottom-Link Uni-Trak
Front Tire - 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire - 190/55 ZR17
Front Brake - Dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs with dual four-piston radial-mount calipers
Rear Brake - Single 220mm petal disc with single-bore pin-slide aluminum piston caliper
Transmission - 6-speed
Seat Height – 830mm
Wheelbase – 1,415 mm
Dry Weight - 179 kg
Fuel Capacity – 17 liters
MSRP - $14,599 CDN

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