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2005 Kawasaski Ninja ZX-10R
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2005 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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2005 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Click to Enlarge for Desktop Sized Photo

2005 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Click to Enlarge for Desktop Sized Photo

– 2005 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

When Kawasaki introduced the NINJA® ZX-10R sportbike to the world’s leading motorcycle journalists, they were told in no uncertain terms that this motorcycle represents the epitome of leading-edge power, performance and exhilaration. Within minutes of their first ride, those journalists realized Kawasaki was true to its word.
As one editor later wrote, “The ZX-10R is literally stunning in every sense of the word…when it comes to airing out the adrenals with pure, unadulterated acceleration, nothing exceeds like excess. And nothing else comes close to this Ninja. Nothing.”

Generating such a response is the NINJA ZX-10R’s design, which combines high technology with the latest innovations, including a high-output engine, ultra-narrow aluminum frame, ergonomic design and compact bodywork narrower than most 600cc sportbikes. These attributes also make the ZX-10R one of the lightest 1000cc bikes on the market, giving it a superior power-to-weight ratio.

To create this high-performance benchmark, Kawasaki engineers began by utilizing a stacked shaft design for the extraordinarily compact, liquid-cooled, 998cc inline four-cylinder engine. The crank axis, input shaft and output shaft of the NINJA ZX-10R engine are positioned in a triangular layout to reduce engine length, while the high-speed generator is placed behind the cylinder bank to reduce engine width. With a bore and stroke of 76 x 55mm, the ZX-10R engine’s one-piece cylinder and crankcase assembly reduces weight and increases rigidity. The double overhead cams are machined from chromoly steel billet for strength, four valves per cylinder improve high-rpm breathing, and the forged, lightweight pistons offer high heat resistance to further enhance the bike’s power-to-weight ratio.

To obtain maximum benefit from the ZX-10R’s digital fuel injection, engineers turned to advanced flow analysis to “streamline” the engine’s intake tract. A Ram Air duct located at the front of the fairing pressurizes the airbox at speed, while the fuel injection assembly features electronically controlled sub throttles to smooth power delivery. An ultra-lightweight titanium four-into-one exhaust system incorporates a butterfly valve at the collector to improve overall power characteristics. The titanium oval-shaped muffler is wrapped with a sheet of ultra-thin walled aluminum and has a non-restrictive honeycomb catalyzer to reduce exhaust emissions.

In addition to liquid cooling, the ZX-10R engine features a liquid-cooled oil cooler adjacent to the oil filter to reduce oil temperatures. “Slosh” analysis was also used to design the internal structure of the oil pan, thereby reducing windage losses and helping to maintain low oil temperatures.

A multi-plate wet clutch with a back torque limiter transfers power to a six-speed, close-ratio transmission idealized for closed-course competition. The back torque limiter automatically disengages the clutch under hard braking and deceleration to prevent rear wheel hop during corner entry.

The engine is bolted into an all-aluminum twin-tube backbone frame that arches over the engine rather than around it, as with conventional sportbike designs. Constructed of thin-walled castings and pressed aluminum sheets welded together for optimum lightness, the ZX-10R frame provides exceptional high-speed stability and responsive handling, yet is no wider than most 600cc sportbikes.

Front suspension duties are handled by fully adjustable 43mm forks and many of the fork’s internal parts are crafted from aluminum to minimize weight. A gull-type aluminum swingarm connected to Kawasaki’s UNI-TRAK® linkage and a fully adjustable shock handles rear suspension duties. The entire rear suspension system is both lightweight and torsionally rigid, and also features adjustable ride height.

The ZX-10R features lightweight six-spoke, cast-aluminum wheels. By utilizing six spokes in place of the traditional three-spoke design, engineers were able to reduce rim thickness, yet the wheels are both stronger and lighter. To provide as much traction as possible, the ZX-10R rides on a 120/70ZR17 front tire and ultra-wide 190/50ZR17 rear tire.

Stopping power for the ZX-10R is provided by dual 300mm front disc brakes featuring petal disc design, radially mounted four-piston calipers, and a single 220mm rear petal disc brake. First introduced on Kawasaki’s own NINJA ZX-6R and ZX-6RR sportbikes, the radial front brake design utilizes mounting points at both the top and bottom of the caliper, with the mounting bolts inserted through the rear of the caliper instead of the side or front as on conventional designs. This racing-inspired setup makes the caliper more rigid to improve brake feel over a wider range of operation.

With the help of a front area smaller than most 600cc sportbikes, the angular body work and racing-style ergonomics of the ZX-10R minimizes aerodynamic drag on the race track. A central ram air duct incorporated into the nose of the fairing provides cool, dense air to the airbox, which is situated between the frame tubes. The top portion of the fuel tank is also concave, so the competition rider can tuck in tightly behind the small windscreen.

Pop nuts are used to fasten the bodywork to the frame, making disassembly and service easier, and the light, five-piece tail section opens at the top for easy maintenance.

Other features include multi-reflector headlights, forged aluminum handlebars that are gun-drilled to reduce weight, LCD display with radial tachometer and digital speedometer, plus a stop-watch function and LED tail light.

Features and Benefits

– Liquid-cooled, 998cc four-stroke, inline four-cylinder engine utilizes stacked shaft layout for compact dimensions, contributing to the ZX-10R’s narrow profile

– One-piece cylinder/crankcase saves weight and is more rigid

– Forged pistons have flat top for compact combustion chamber

– Cams machined from chromoly steel billet and surface treated with soft nitride for light weight and durability

– Tappet surfaces treated with soft nitriding to help prevent wear

– Intake and exhaust valves use single springs with oval cross sections to lower overall engine height

– Flow analysis used to design cylinder head, maximizing engine breathing at high rpm

– All-titanium four-into-one exhaust system includes butterfly valve to enhance low-rpm power

– Oval-shaped aluminum muffler with internal titanium parts reduces noise and includes honeycomb catalyzer to reduce emissions

– Digital fuel injection with sub-throttle assembly and 43mm throttle bodies provide best power characteristics and ridability

– High-speed generator is clutch driven and is positioned behind the cylinder bank to reduce engine width

– Liquid-cooled oil cooler helps to maintain consistent oil temperatures

– Sloshing analysis used to design internal structure of oil pan, reducing windage and helping to maintain low oil temperatures

– Magnesium engine covers reduce overall dry weight


– Close-ratio six-speed transmission optimizes on-track performance

– Multi-plate wet clutch with back torque limiter prevents rear wheel hop under hard braking and deceleration


– All-aluminum, twin-spar backbone frame utilizes thin-walled castings and pressed sheets welded together for light weight – provides high-speed stability and responsive handling, yet is no wider than most 600cc sportbikes

– Frame arches over the engine rather than around it, giving the ZX-10R the narrowest possible profile for excellent riding position and ride “feel”

– Fully adjustable 43mm forks and internal aluminum parts feature circuit setting for competition

– Top triple clamp features “lightening holes” to reduce weight

– Gull-type aluminum swingarm with oval pipe brace, UNI-TRAK® linkage and fully adjustable shock is lightweight and torsionally rigid

– Rear suspension includes ride height adjustment

Brakes & Wheels

– Dual 300mm front disc brakes feature radial-mounted four-piston calipers and single 220mm rear disc brake – the first petal discs in the liter bike class – enhance cooling and prevent warpage

– Cast-aluminum wheels utilize six spokes in place of the traditional three-spoke design, so rim thickness is reduced, yet the wheels are stronger and lighter

Bodywork & Ergonomics

– Front fairing is narrower than most 600cc sportbikes

– Central ram air duct pressurizes the airbox at speed

– Pop nuts make disassembly quick and easy

– Three-dimensional computer-assisted design used to develop ergonomic and aerodynamic layout

– Three-piece front fender increases aerodynamic efficiency

– Top of the fuel tank is concave so the rider can tuck in more tightly behind the windscreen

– Fuel tank bottom is flat to provide engine with stable fuel level

– Compact rear fender is slim and light

– Inner fender’s flowing design matches the shape of the swingarm to achieve unity of function and style

– Optional five-piece W-shaped rear seat cowl flows from the tank the rear tail section for an aggressive, high-quality image and is easily removed for maintenance

Additional Features

– Forged aluminum handlebars are strong and gun drilled to further reduce weight

– Powerful dual multi-reflector 55W headlights provide best possible nighttime visibility

– Digital LCD instrument panel includes tachometer, speedometer, water temperature gauge, shift indicator, clock and stop watch function


Engine: Four-stroke, DOHC, inline four, 16 valves
Displacement: 998cc

Starting: Electric

Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm

Compression ratio: 12.7:1

Cooling: Liquid

Induction: Digital fuel injection with four 43mm throttle bodies

Ignition: TCBI with digital advance

Transmission: Six-speed close ratio with multi-plate wet clutch and back torque limiter

Frame: All-aluminum twin-tube backbone

Rake/trail: 24 degree/4.0 in

Suspension, front: 43mm forks with 16-way compression and rebound damping, fully adjustable preload

Suspension, rear: Gull-type aluminum swingarm, UNI-TRAK® linkage system, fully adjustable gas-charged shock with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload, adjustable ride height

Wheel travel, front/rear: 4.7/4.0 in.

Tire, front: 120/70ZR17

Tire, rear: 190/50ZR17

Brakes, front/rear: Dual 300mm hydraulic petal disc with radial-mounted, opposed four-piston caliper/Single 220mm hydraulic petal disc with single-piston caliper

Overall length: 80.5 in.

Overall width: 27.8 in.

Overall height: 43.9 in.

Ground clearance: 4.9 in.

Seat height: 32.5 in.

Dry weight: 374.9 lbs.

Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.

Wheelbase: 54.5 in.

Colors: Kawasaki Lime Green / Stoic Black, Metallic Raw Titanium / Flat Stoic Black , Pearl Maoma Red / Flat Stoic Black

** Price and specifications subject to change

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