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2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R on "Technical Hold"

Saturday, December 11, 2010
Kawasaki has issued what's its calling a "technical hold" on the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R Superbike. Dealers will return unsold stock to Kawasaki Motors Corp. warehouses, with the company refunding purchases of 2011 models upon their return to the dealership. It appears KMC wants to head off any surfacing technical issues. The situation is reminiscent of the release of the Aprilia RSV4, which saw engine failures in the early models and a subsequent recall. Stay tuned for more updates on one of the most anticipated sportbikes of the 2011 model line - MCUSA Ed
Stability at all speeds is a strong point of the new 10R.
Riders will have to wait longer than expected for the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, as Kawasaki has issued a "technical hold."

Courtesy of Kawasaki


IRVINE, Calif. (Dec. 11, 2010) — Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is placing a technical hold on the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R sportbike. The company is proactively addressing a remedy which reflects Kawasaki’s commitment to excellence and its relationships with its highly valued customers and dealer network.
The following actions are being initiated through the Kawasaki dealer network:

• Unsold units will be returned to KMC warehouses. The units will be redistributed once Kawasaki is 100 percent confident they reflect company standards for this highly technical, race-bred machine.
• Those who have taken delivery of a unit will be instructed to return the unit to the dealership for a full refund and will be among the first to have the option of receiving a new unit once the technical hold has been lifted.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, utility vehicles and recreation utility vehicles through a network of more than 1,400 independent retailers, with an additional 8,000 retailers specializing in Kawasaki power products and general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with 300 of them located at KMC's Irvine, California headquarters.

Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.™”, is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand has become synonymous with powerful, stylish motorcycles for over four decades. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of recreational products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.

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M L Kaw -It won't cure the "deficiency" for the USA model!  December 24, 2010 12:50 PM
Kawasaki Industries,

My previous statement will not cure what ailment the 2011-10R suffers from. I am not worried about the technical hold as per say, but the inferior performance of the North American ECU in this model. But I do have a solution that might persuade me buy one of these 10R's. Simply put, offer the european ECU thru the Kawasaki Racing parts program. Call-it a "Superstock ECU" and label-it for "racing use only". Sell it at a limited "mark-up" of let's say 5% over-cost so the owner's of the new 10R do not feel shafted by the price.
Your lawyers and the EPA should be happy and do not most "aftermarket" parts suppliers like exhaust manufacturer's and fuel-injection module maker's do this already?
Just-think, no development costs and the consumer gets the power from the bike they should expect and was designed into it! I would think most buyers of the new Ninja 10R would love to have 20 HP "plug and play" in this fashion. All that would be needed then is a PC and let's say a certain Czech "slip-on" with the "link-pipe" to get what they bought this bike for.
Now, this is my humble opinion and maybe you could consider this option?
M L Kaw -This is a good decision!  December 15, 2010 07:20 PM
No matter the cause, this was a good-decision for Kawasaki to do this.
After a marketing campaign to battle with BMW and not being able to deliver a product capable of doing that the revision of the new 10R is needed. If truly a "technical" of safety-issue I doubt it is a significant problem. More an issue of quality of reputation concerns to me. If they "do-it right" and fulfill that drawn-out marketing campaigns promise of the "leading-edge" technology, I and other Kawasaki fans will buy the bikes. But they really-do need to "get-it right" when released for sales!
Bob -If it is a mapping problem...  December 14, 2010 11:38 AM
where it doesn't comply with EPA regs, I'd want to know about it. If it gives me the 20 more HP the Euros get, I'd like the option to keep it! :D
ceosurfer -Tims's dumb  December 14, 2010 10:24 AM
Dude, all the major brands have had a recall in the last couple of years.
Tim B -HAHA  December 14, 2010 05:59 AM
HAHAHAHAHA!!! This couldn't happen to a "better" manufacturer. I proudly don't own any Kawasuckis!

BTW...Kawi needs designers. They fugly bikes unless they steal designs - like they stole the ZX-10's look from the Honda CBR600.
Gritboy -Good call  December 13, 2010 03:20 PM
Glad to see Kawi being proactive so early in the bike's release. Factory testing doesn't always reveal real world flaws, so hopefully it's an easy remedy that won't tarnish the ZX-10R's rep.
Ruccuss54 -Nobody knows  December 13, 2010 10:36 AM
Nobody knows the problem the bike has, as long as they rectify the problem(they will) all will be dandy in Kawasaki Land. All bike makers have their occasional problems,eg:Honda VFR1200 (engines), Suzuki Hayabusa (Frames), Yamaha R1 (throttle posi-sensors), Aprilia RSV4(Conrods)...BMW S1K(long list of parts).. all of them fixed.
B dunk -Haha  December 13, 2010 09:11 AM
Kawasaki is the biggest of 4 bike builders in Japan, it's just their bike division is a small part of the company. They build ships, skyscrapers and a bunch of other industrial stuff. The bike division is almost a pain to them, that's why Kawasakis have been crappy bikes for a long time. It's funny that it's not a recall where you bring it in and get it fixed but a give it back notice.
bidwell -Cause?  December 13, 2010 08:55 AM
"The problem is with a part NOT manufactured by Kawasaki and it is beyond their manufacturing control. Also it is not an issue of safety or performance but it is about quality." Can you tell us where you got this information from and exactly which part it is?
Michael Cyprus -ZX10R 2011 recall  December 13, 2010 03:03 AM
The problem is with a part NOT manufactured by Kawasaki and it is beyond their manufacturing control.
Also it is not an issue of safety or performance but it is about quality.

Jason -Disappointed?  December 12, 2010 07:24 PM
If you're disappointed that Kawi couldn't produce a bike that could take down the S1000RR in the HP department then you should start talking to your state representatives. Emissions in the US are tiered, the more motorcycles you sell here in the US the tighter the standards. BMW, Ducati and especially KTM as much smaller companies can build bikes that wouldn't even get close to passing what the Japanese have to go through with the EPA. Thus the Euro model ZX-10R has another 18-20hp than the US model. They can clearly build a more powerful bike but we've allowed our government to screw it up for us all.
Alan -Whoops  December 12, 2010 04:54 PM
I'd be excited about more hore power too.
KM -Whats New  December 12, 2010 03:37 PM
I current own a 2009 Kawasaki zx14 and was excited to see a new bike out of japan with new electronics/hore power that could compete with the europeans. It's sad to see a recall even before it out but better to fix the problem now then have someone hurt or killed waiting till later; I always wait a few years when any new model is realeased becouse there is always problems with anything new.
ceosurfer -Euro V US  December 12, 2010 12:12 PM
The US model is down on power because of EPA laws and not because they are manufactured with wrong or different parts. Its all in the map.
TG -W1ll and Joshua  December 12, 2010 11:02 AM
@ Joshua - Most the testing is done on pre-prod units. As long as full prduction units are given the same parts, there are no problems. However, it appears they were provided some inaccurate parts (by someone else's comment here, I haven't verified it).

@ W1LL - Honda has WAAAAAAYYYYY more recalls and stop sales than any of the other big 4. Not because they make an inferior product, but they have the best legal dept and make sure all units are covered to avoid lawsuits. Remember the clutch recall on 08 cbr1k's, fuel line recalls on Shadows, etc, etc. Kawi is getting closer (more unimportant recall checks like on the C14 and KLR). Again, not saying that Honda makes a bad product, but to state that you see less recalls on them is just wrong.

My opinion - very disappointing. I really wanted the new ten to drop the bomb on the germans. Hopefully this doesn't affect spring availability and overall performance. However, don't forget even the all-conquering S1k had the same scenario (early production units were issued a recall to get the new break-in software). It didn't seem to change people's overall opinion of the bike, hopefully the same happens for Kawi. I can also tell you from personal knowledge that if it is a simple software update like the S1k had, Kawi would have to bring all the units back to manufacturing; unlike BMW service centers, Kawi service centers don't have the appropriate hardware or tools to update ECU's (BMW delaers have a couple different tools that connect to the ECU and to the internet to download updates, Kawi doesn't).
tmaxter -zx-10r  December 12, 2010 10:43 AM
Finally! Some insightful,poigniant(for the most part)blogger commentary!
W1LLPARKER -seems more common with the smaller companies...  December 11, 2010 05:44 PM
than say Honda. Kawasaki is the smallest of the Japanese four..
Joshua Davis -Testing?  December 11, 2010 05:19 PM
Is there no such thing as testing a product before releasing it anymore? I am absolutely dumbfounded by the number of defective bikes and recalls I see in the motorcycling world. I realize that the big-four are under the gun to produce an all-new model every 2-3 years, but to have a 100% recall before any were even sold?! That reeks of poor quality control to me. But, maybe since I have made a career of testing products BEFORE they go to market (rather than letting my customer base test the design for me) my point of view is a little skewed. Tell you what, if any motorcycle company wants to start doing some system testing BEFORE the bikes hit the dealerships, have them give me a ring.
Steve R -missing the mark...  December 11, 2010 05:18 PM
After realizing that the new ZX10R will most likely fall short in the engine compartment as it compares to the BMW S1000RR they recall them and add some new goodies.....???? interesting for sure. I blame Adam for recently saying in the ZX10R test that it doesn't feel as fast as the Beemer... Haha!
Superbikemike -well..........  December 11, 2010 03:56 PM
after alittle searching..... "SUPPOSEDLY" a sight mix up in the parts installed in the motor........... shades of aprilia and the rsv4... i can see y they bought back the 10-20 already sold..... reputation namely
Superbikemike -hmmmmmmmmm...............  December 11, 2010 03:47 PM
makes ya think.......... maybe they came up with a new solution.... 4 the diff between a eur version, and a north american version... ie the 20 hp diff....gotta keep an eye on this situation