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2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS Review
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS on www.Totalmotorcycle.com
World Championship Winning Performance with Rider Friendly Electronics…
With scintillating engine performance, a world-championship level chassis and a suite of onboard electronic rider aids, the ZX™-10R ABS is not only the most sophisticated production superbike Kawasaki has ever produced, it’s also the most tunable, the most confidence inspiring, and the most rider-friendly. By any measure, Kawasaki’s “Forever Fearless” mantra is perfectly suited to the ZX-10R, thanks to its extraordinary performance envelope. Today, that much is expected in the one-liter superbike class. And so it is above and beyond these credentials that the ZX-10R ABS defines itself, including such premium standard features as Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS) and an Ã–hlins electronic steering damper. Now celebrating Ninja’s 30th Anniversary, for 2015 the ZX-10R ABS is also available in a special anniversary edition that makes its bold credentials even more alluring.
What’s New For 2015
•A special 30th Anniversary Ninja ZX-10R ABS model features Lime Green/Pearl Stardust White paint and 30th Anniversary badges on each side of the fairing
•The standard Ninja ZX-10R model is now painted in Metallic Matte Carbon Gray/Flat Ebony
Engine & Transmission
The World Superbike Championship proven ZX-10R engine is a 16-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four displacing 998cc through oversquare 76 x 55mm bore and stroke dimensions. Tuned for optimal power delivery on the street or track, the engine is also designed for a low center of gravity and ideal placement within the chassis, leading to more responsive handling.
Linear power delivery and engine manageability assist the rider through every element of cornering, beginning with a closed throttle at corner entry, resuming a neutral throttle position at mid-corner, and strong, controllable acceleration at corner exit. Placing the torque peak at a relatively high rpm level – closer to the engine’s horsepower peak – eliminates the power peaks and valleys, found in some engines, that make it difficult for racers and track-day riders to open the throttle with confidence.
Large intake valves are complemented by wide, polished intake ports for controllable power delivery and engine braking, just right for smoothing out racetrack corner entries and exits. Manufactured from chromoly steel, the dual overhead camshafts further contribute to optimized engine braking and more controllable power delivery. Lightweight pistons mount to light and strong connecting rods, and yield a full 13.1:1 compression ratio.
Like the ZX-6R, the ZX-10R has a race-style cassette transmission that allows simple trackside ratio changes. An adjustable back-torque limiting clutch assembly is fitted, which helps improve smoothness and rider confidence during quick downshifts and corner entry.
Delivering fuel and air into the engine is a ram-air assisted fuel injection system featuring an enormous nine-liter capacity airbox, large 47mm throttle bodies and sub-throttle valves, and secondary injectors that improve top-end power characteristics. A huge ram-air intake is positioned close to the front of the bike for efficient airbox filling and peak power.
The final piece of the ZX-10R’s power-production formula is an exhaust system featuring a race-spec titanium header assembly, hydroformed collectors, a large-volume pre-chamber containing two catalyzers, and a highly compact silencer. The header pipe diameter and length are very similar to race–use headers. This makes it easy to increase circuit performance just by adding a competition-use only slip-on muffler.
Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Motorcyclists are continually challenged by traction-related issues – whether on the street, track or off road. This is especially true for riders of open-class sportbikes, whose power and dynamic capabilities exceed the performance of top-shelf race bikes from just a few years ago. Given the huge performance envelope of the 2015 ZX-10R, consistent traction and enhanced confidence are major assets.
The ZX-10R’s racing-derived Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC) system works by analyzing data from a variety of sensors including front and rear wheel speed, engine rpm, throttle position, acceleration and more. Conditions are confirmed every 5 milliseconds, at which time the system looks at each of the parameters as well as how much they are changing. This unique Kawasaki method makes it possible to interpolate and predict how the bike will behave in the next instant. In fact, the ZX-10R data acquisition and analysis is greater than any other Kawasaki in history – and it’s all to help track riders inch closer to the elusive “edge” of maximum traction than ever before. The S-KTRC system relies on complex software embedded in the ZX-10R’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), with lightweight speed sensors on each wheel as the only additional hardware.
Unlike the KTRC system on Kawasaki’s Concours® 14 ABS sport tourer, which primarily minimizes wheel slip on slick or broken surfaces as a rider aid, the S-KTRC system is designed to maximize performance by using sophisticated computer analysis to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavorable. By quickly but subtly reducing power just before the amount of slippage exceeds the optimal traction zone, the system – which processes every data point 200 times per second – maintains the optimum level of tire grip to maximize forward motion with a minimum of intrusion felt by the rider. The result is significantly better lap times and enhanced confidence – exactly what riders need when piloting a machine of this caliber.
The S-KTRC system offers three different modes of operation, which riders can select according to surface conditions, personal preference and skill level: Level 1 for maximum grip on the track; Level 2 for intermediate use; and Level 3 for slippery conditions. An LCD graph in the multi-function instrument display shows how much electronic intervention is occurring in real time, and a thumb switch on the left handlebar pod allows simple, on-the-go mode changes to suit the rider’s style. Riders may also turn the system completely off for total manual throttle control.
Chassis & Suspension
With the engine producing a massive quantity of usable and controllable power, engineers focused on refining the handling and overall road/track competency of the chassis. The cast-aluminum twin-spar frame is created from just seven pieces and features optimized flex characteristics for ideal rider feedback, cornering performance and light weight. The swingarm is also cast-aluminum, with rigidity engineered to match the frame.
Chassis geometry offers excellent handling and stability. The front-end geometry – 25 degrees of rake and 107mm (4.21 in.) of trail – allows light, quick handling along with reassuring stability at speed, perfectly complementing the engine’s controllable power and the frame and swingarm’s flex characteristics.
Highly advanced suspension helps the ZX-10R excel in all types of riding. Up front is a 43mm open-class version of Kawasaki’s highly acclaimed Big Piston Fork (BPF). Featuring a piston design nearly twice the size of a conventional cartridge fork’s, the BPF offers smooth action, less stiction, light weight and enhanced damping performance on both compression and rebound circuits. This compliance results in more control and better feedback – just what riders need when carving through a bumpy sweeper at the track or negotiating a decreasing-radius corner on their favorite backroad.
Rear suspension duties on the ZX-10R are handled by a Horizontal Back-Link design that positions the shock and linkage above the swingarm. Benefits include improved mass centralization, excellent road holding, compliance and stability, smooth action in the mid-stroke and good overall feedback. The fully adjustable shock features a piggyback reservoir and dual-range (low- and high-speed) compression damping.
Lightweight, gravity-cast three-spoke wheels complement the ZX-10R’s 17-inch radial supersport tires. Up front, Tokico radial-mount calipers squeeze 310mm petal rotors, while a lightweight single-piston caliper grabs a 220mm petal rotor in back. The result is powerful stopping with plenty of rider feedback and confidence.
Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS)
At first, anti-lock braking might seem out of place on a purebred sportbike, but the ZX-10R ABS system was specifically designed to maximize performance on the street and track. As a result, the high-performance Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS) really is intelligent, as it utilizes a small and lightweight ABS unit designed by Bosch specifically with sportbikes in mind. The entire system only adds about 7 pounds of weight compared to the non-ABS equipped 2015 ZX-10R, with a full pound of that weight accounted for by the ABS model’s larger battery.
KIBS is a multi-sensing system that collects and monitors a wide range of information from wheel sensors (the same ones collecting data on the standard ZX-10R for its S-KTRC traction control system) and the bike’s ECU. This data set includes wheel speed, brake-caliper hydraulic pressure, engine rpm, throttle position, clutch actuation and gear position. The ABS ECU compares data continually with the 10R’s powertrain ECU. When the system determines a potential wheel lock-up situation is occurring, it tells the Bosch ABS unit to temporarily reduce brake-line hydraulic pressure for that wheel, allowing the wheel to regain traction. It all happens automatically and nearly instantaneously, in many cases interpreting and correcting traction loss before the rider is even aware of it.
Besides its ultra-quick response time, KIBS offers a number of additional sport-riding benefits, including rear-end lift suppression during hard braking, minimal lever kickback during ABS intervention, and increased rear-brake control during downshifts. Of great benefit to track riders, highly precise pressure control allows the system to maintain excellent braking performance and proper lever feel while also minimizing ABS pulses.
Ã–hlins Twin-Tube Steering Damper
Kawasaki developed the ZX-10R’s electronic steering damper in joint cooperation with Ã–hlins. Controlled by a dedicated ECU located under the gas-tank cover, this damper reacts to the rate of acceleration or deceleration, along with rear-wheel speed, to help provide the ideal damping-force level across a wide range of riding scenarios. Its variable damping capability provides optimum rider feedback by permitting softer damping for normal operation and firm damping for high-speed stability. The result is a light and nimble steering feel at low speed, and superior stability at higher speeds and during extreme acceleration or deceleration. The anodized damper unit incorporates Ã–hlins’ twin-tube design to help ensure stable damping performance and superior kickback absorption. It is mounted horizontally at the front of the fuel tank, requires very few additional components, and adds almost no weight compared to previous-generation steering dampers.
Bodywork, Lighting & Instrumentation
Kawasaki engineers wrapped the ZX-10R’s formidable technology in bodywork as advanced and stylish as anything this side of a World Superbike Championship grid. Curvy edges and contrasting colored and black parts create a sharp, aggressive image, while distinctive line-beam headlights permit using a more compact front fairing. LED turn signals integrate smoothly into the mirror assemblies, and convenient turn-signal couplers allow easy mirror removal for track days. The rear fender assembly holding the rear signal stalks and license plate frame is also designed to be easily removable for track use. High-visibility LED lamps are additionally used for the taillight and position marker.
Instrumentation is highlighted by an LED-backlit bar-graph tachometer set above a multi-function LCD display providing numerous sections and data panels. A wide range of information is available, including speed, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel consumption, Power Mode and S-KTRC level, low fuel warning, coolant temperature and much more. For track use, the LCD display can be set to “race” mode, which moves the gear-position function to the center of the display.
The ZX-10R’s ergonomics are designed for an optimum blend of comfort and control. A realistic 32-inch seat height, adjustable footpegs and handlebars make the 10R a hard-core sportbike you can actually take on an extended sport ride, with reasonable comfort en route. Adding these creature comforts together with the ZX-10R’s formidable engine and running gear, its championship-grade electronics arsenal, and the unique appeal of an available 30th Anniversary model, means the 2015 ZX-10R ABS is not just a superb ride. It’s the ride of your life.
A complete line of Genuine Kawasaki Accessories, specifically designed and engineered for the Ninja ZX-10R motorcycle, is available through authorized Kawasaki dealers.
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS Totalmotorcycle.com Key Features
• Ã–hlins-Kawasaki electronic steering damper reacts to current speed as well as rate of acceleration and deceleration to vary the amount of damping force across a wide range of riding scenarios for ease of operation and optimal rider feedback
• Engine and chassis work together to allow for linear power delivery
• Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC) continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position, engine rpm and a host of other data to help ensure the optimal amount of traction without crossing over the razor’s edge of adhesion
• Advanced Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-lock Braking System monitors a wide range of data and enhances rider control
• Power Mode selector allows riders to select power level and power delivery to match riding conditions
• Aluminum frame has ideal strength and rigidity for maximum performance
• Big Piston Fork (BPF) helps maintain composure under braking and contributes to the fork’s light weight
• Horizontal back-link rear suspension helps deliver smooth suspension action with good road holding over a variety of pavement conditions
• Slipper-type back-torque limiting clutch helps prevent rear wheel hop under extreme deceleration and improves corner entry handling
• Race-oriented instrumentation offers riders a wealth of information at a glance
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS Totalmotorcycle.com Features and Benefits
Ã–hlins-Kawasaki Electronic Steering Damper
• Specially tuned for the 2015 ZX-10R, this electronic damper helps provide the ideal amount of damping force across a wide range of riding scenarios
• Maintains a high level of rider feedback by allowing lower damping forces under less taxing conditions, but quickly adapts to increase damping and enhance high-speed stability when required
• Reacts to current speed as well as rate of acceleration or deceleration to help provide light steering feel at low speed, as well as superior damping at higher speeds or during extreme acceleration/deceleration
• Uses Ã–hlins’ patented twin-tube design to help ensure stable damping performance and superior kickback absorption
Liquid-cooled DOHC 998cc Inline-four Engine
• Design is compact, narrow and lightweight
• Camshafts, crankshaft and pistons designed to complement the engine’s prodigious power production
• Large intake valves, camshaft profiles and port shapes help maximize power production and smooth power delivery
• Chromoly camshafts enhance durability
• Single-shaft secondary balancer helps reduce vibration; its use allows several vibration-damping parts to be simplified and lightened
• Strong connecting rods suit the power potential of this engine
• ECU is small enough to be tucked away in a slot in the airbox assembly
• One-piece upper crankcase and cylinder casting offers maximum rigidity
• Low-friction oil pump reduces parasitic power loss
• A lightweight radiator with tightly packed cores provides efficient engine cooling
• A liquid-cooled aluminum oil cooler promotes high-efficiency heat dissipation
• Intake and exhaust valves are titanium to reduce reciprocating weight and stress at high rpm
Dual-injector Digital Fuel Injection
• Large 47mm throttle bodies help with throttle control
• Secondary fuel injectors enhance power output and power characteristics at high rpm; the lower injectors are always on, while upper injectors come on as needed according to degree of throttle opening and engine rpm
• Oval-shaped throttle bodies allow precise throttle control and instant response
• An Idle Speed Control (ISC) valve on the throttle body unit automatically adjusts idle speed, contributing to easier starts and off-idle throttle response
Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control – S-KTRC
• A highly sophisticated electronic system based on actual Kawasaki racing experience that’s designed to maximize forward motion by allowing racers to ride closer to the edge of traction
• The system crunches a wide range of data, including throttle position, wheel speed, engine rpm, wheel slippage and acceleration, with help from a speed sensor fitted to each wheel
• The quickest acceleration requires a certain amount of wheel slippage, so to optimize traction, S-KTRC actually allows for optimum wheelspin
• Using complex analysis, the system is able to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavorable. By acting before slippage exceeds the range for optimal traction, the system can quickly and smoothly reduce power slightly so the wheel regains traction
• S-KTRC confirms conditions 200 times per second and governs ignition, which allows extremely quick response to changing conditions
• Riders can choose between three operational modes, depending on skill level and conditions
• A level meter on the LCD instrument panel displays how much electronic intervention the system is providing, in real time
Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-lock Braking System (KIBS)
• Advanced track-ready anti-lock braking system
• Utilizes a Bosch-built ABS unit that’s half the size of a standard unit and considerably lighter
• KIBS monitors a wide range of data, including front and rear wheel speed, throttle position, gear selection, engine rpm, caliper pressure, clutch actuation and more to help prevent wheel locking
• High-precision brake pressure control offers a number of sport riding benefits, including rear-end lift suppression, minimal kickback during operation and consistent lever feel
• ABS unit is located close to the bike’s center of mass, behind the left engine cylinder, which minimizes the effects of the added weight
• System uses wheel speed sensors already fitted to the non-ABS ZX-10R (used for S-KTRC traction control system)
• A radial-pump front master cylinder provides the ultimate in front brake feel and feedback
• Tokico radial-mount brake calipers use dual pads and offer a superb initial bite, progressive feel and a high degree of feedback to the rider
• A pair of 5.5mm thick, 310mm petal discs provides the heat dissipation needed to maintain brake feel and responsiveness during extended heavy use
• A 220mm rear petal disc gripped by a single-piston caliper provides excellent feel and feedback
• A highly efficient and forward-positioned ram air intake is designed for low intake noise and good intake efficiency
• 9-liter airbox enhances breathing and power
• Oval-section intake funnels promote non-turbulent flow at all rpm
Titanium Exhaust System
• Titanium-header exhaust system with hydroformed header pipes and small, lightweight muffler assembly uses a pre-chamber that houses two catalyzers for emissions and sound reduction
• Headers have nearly identical specs to their roadracing counterparts, which makes it easier for riders to increase track performance with the simple addition of a less-restrictive muffler; now there’s no need to replace the lightweight and race-spec header assembly
• Dual catalyzers help the ZX-10R meet strict U.S. and Euro III exhaust emissions standards
• Race-style cassette transmission allows simple trackside gearing changes to suit individual circuits
• The “cassette” is located high enough that it can be accessed without having to drain engine oil
• Primary and final reduction ratios minimize rear end movement (squat/lift) during acceleration and deceleration
• Close-ratio 4th, 5th and 6th gears complement the ZX-10R’s circuit performance
• Overall gear ratios suit the power characteristics for ideal power delivery in all rpm ranges
• An adjustable back-torque limiting clutch facilitates smooth downshifts, a main contributor to stability under heavy braking
Chassis / Frame
• Aluminum-alloy frame offers optimal flex and rigidity characteristics for balanced handling on street or track
• Chassis geometry allows sharp steering characteristics and crisp handling with no corresponding tradeoff in chassis stability at speed
• Frame is an all-cast construction of only seven pieces, with ideal wall thicknesses that provide adequate strength and optimized rigidity
• Front end weight aids aggressive, on-the-gas corner exits
• Modifying or removing the exhaust pre-chamber (for racetrack applications only) enables two chain links to be removed, which offers riders the opportunity to alter chassis geometry by shortening the wheelbase by up to 16mm to suit different track layouts
• Like the frame, the alloy swingarm is an all-cast design, with just three pieces
• Narrow subframe layout contributes to the compact and slim tail section
Horizontal Back-link Rear Suspension
• Shock and linkage are positioned above the swingarm
• The design offers excellent road-holding, smooth suspension action, and stability and feedback when cornering
• The design positions the shock’s upper link to spread out the load and contribute to enhanced overall frame rigidity and improved mass centralization and chassis balance
• The fully adjustable shock features a piggyback reservoir and dual (high
• and low-speed) compression damping, which enables fine tuning for racing or track-day use
• The Big Piston Fork (BPF) and Back-link suspension system contribute to rider control and faster lap times
Big Piston Fork (BPF)
• The Big Piston Fork’s (BPF) 43mm inner tubes is one of the contributing factors to the bike’s composure under braking
• Compared to a cartridge-type fork of the same size, the BPF features a 39.6mm main piston
• Oil inside the BPF acts on a surface area almost four times the size of a conventional fork’s. The larger surface area allows damping pressure to be reduced while helping to ensure that damping force remains the same
• Reducing damping pressure allows the inner fork tube to move more smoothly, which is especially noticeable at the initial part of the stroke. The result is greater control as the fork compresses and very calm attitude change as vehicle weight shifts forward under braking, and contributing to greater chassis stability on corner entry
• Because the BPF eliminates many of the internal components of a traditional cartridge fork, construction is simplified and overall fork weight is reduced
• Compression and rebound damping adjustments are located at the top of each fork tube, while preload is now at the bottom
Three-spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels
• Gravity-cast alloy wheels feature a three-spoke design
• Light wheels mean low unsprung weight, which allows the suspension system to work more efficiently
• 32-inch seat height makes it easy to reach the ground
• Fuel tank shape offers a comfortable ergonomic fit with the rider’s forearms and inner thighs when riding
• Adjustable foot pegs can be lowered an additional 15mm when street riding or touring
Advanced Aerodynamic Bodywork
• Compact, curved shape
• Large ducting aids engine heat dissipation
• Line-beam headlights and short fairing contributes to the aggressive styling
• LED three-bulb position lamp at the top of the ram air duct offers enhanced visibility to drivers and pedestrians
• Fairing-mounted mirrors feature integrated, LED-type turn signals
• Turn signals are electrically connected via couplers, which allows easy mirror removal for track day riding
• Compact tail section includes an elegant, nine-bulb taillight
• Taillight and turn signal stalks are mounted on a rear fender assembly that’s easily removable for track day riding
Advanced Electronic Instrumentation
• Instruments feature a high-visibility bar-graph LED tachometer positioned above a multi-window LCD info panel that offers riders a massive quantity of information
• The tachometer also functions as a shift indicator: LEDs flash when the pre-set rpm is reached, and riders can set shift rpm according to preference
• The multi-function LCD features two display modes: Standard and Race. Switching to Race Mode alters the Speed display by changing it to Gear Position, and by changing the Clock display to Speed
• Additional functions include odometer, dual trip meters, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption, Power Mode (x3), S-KTRC (x4), S-KTRC level indicator, low fuel indicator, Economical Riding indicator (shows most favorable fuel consumption), water temperature and a host of indicator lamps
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS – www.Totalmotorcycle.com USA Specifications/Technical Details
US MSRP Price: $15,299 USD
Engine Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Bore x stroke 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression ratio 13.0:1
Fuel system DFI® with four 47mm Keihin throttle bodies with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder
Ignition TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Final drive Chain
Rake / trail 25.0 degrees / 4.2 in.
Front tire 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire 190/55 ZR17
Wheelbase 56.1 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel 43mm inverted Big Piston Fork (BPF), adjustable stepless rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel Horizontal back-link with gas-charged shock, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 5.5 in.
Front brakes Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Braking (KIBS), dual semi-floating 310mm petal discs with dual four-piston radial-mount calipers
Rear brakes KIBS-controlled, single 220mm petal disc with aluminum single-piston caliper
Overall length 81.7 in.
Overall width 28.1 in.
Overall height 43.9 in.
Seat height 32.0 in.
Curb weight 443.2 lbs.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Color choices Metallic Matte Carbon Gray / Flat Ebony
Warranty 12 Months
Kawasaki Protection Plus 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS – www.Totalmotorcycle.com Canadian Specifications/Technical Details
Canada MSRP Price: $NA CDN
Model not available in Canada see:
The specifications mentioned here apply to and have been achieved by production models under standard operating conditions. We intend only to give a fair description of the vehicle and its performance capabilities but these specifications may not apply to every machine supplied for sale. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. reserves the right to alter specifications without prior notice. Equipment illustrated and specifications may vary to meet individual markets. Available colours may vary by market.