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2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Ready to Sell

Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R production and World Superbike versions.
The 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R retails for $13,799 and will be available in U.S. dealerships by late January following a Technical Hold that turned out to be a valve spring issue.
On December 11, 2010 Kawasaki Motors Corp. released a statement that the new 2011 Ninja ZX-10R was being put on technical hold just as units were hitting showroom floors and on the tail end of our much anticipated ZX-10R First Ride at Road Atlanta. Our Road Test Editor Adam Waheed liked the new electronics as he raved about the traction control and other techno-goodies as well as the new handling. Unfortunately the big BMW-stomping horsepower didn’t materialize (The EPA-compliant exhaust was cited as the culprit) so our Ninja bubble was losing a bit of air.

Then the news of the “Technical Hold” arrived and rumors began to swirl over what the hold-up actually was. According to Kawasaki it was the intake valve springs. Here is the statement from Kawasaki.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. today announced that the recent sales hold placed on the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R sportbike is expected to be lifted in late January and that sales of the highly-anticipated unit will resume as normal.

According to Kawasaki engineers, the proactive sales hold resulted from a finding that indicated possible surging of the intake valve spring when the unit is operated under unique riding conditions, such as on a racetrack. The surge could cause the intake valve to seat improperly, resulting in poor engine performance.

The camshaft, valve springs, and spring retainers are being replaced to prevent the valves from surging, without affecting engine performance

This could be good news for the Green Machine as recent superbikes have gone on to overcome early mechanical snafus only to experience success on the street, track and more importantly: Magazine Reviews. You may remember the Aprilia RSV4 was throwing rod bearings in the early going, forcing a worldwide recall of all production units. They won the World Superbike title the same year. The BMW S1000RR was losing valves so dealers were limiting RPM for the first 2000 to allow the valves to seat properly. They were really using close tolerances there apparently. The S1000RR went onto be anointed Bike of the Year by many publications and winning a few national Superstock titles along the way.

Now, Kawasaki gets into the game with a Technical Hold that ultimately revealed a valve spring issue on its new ZX-10R. Only time will tell how this all plays out but we are glad to see a new liter bike in 2011 – otherwise, why would we need to conduct our favorite comparison test of the year: Superbike Smackdown! Stay tuned…

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Mark -BEET-NASSERT Slip-on and UN-Limited ECU?  January 9, 2011 08:24 AM
Apparently Kawasaki has decided to release for th 2011-10R a combination like Ducati does for its bikes. My guess is that the slip-on will be about $730.00 and the ECU about $800.00 thru Kawasaki. Let's see, about $1530.00 to get what was designed into the bike in the first place! Base 2011-10R = $13799.00 + $1530.00 = $15329.00 and this is without $1000.00 ABS for a total of $16329.00. I can say at this point that my interest in a 2011-10R purchase has sunk to about 90% to 10% against purchasing the bike. Aprilia, BMW and Ducati are all very-competitive if you want more "bang for the buck" at these prices. I have only owned Kawasaki's to this point, a change is coming I predict.
Mark -Ok, let's be specific?  January 6, 2011 04:10 PM
If what is said is "true" about the secondaries, now what do you have to buy? OEM ECU's are not adjustable and the PC's and others do not have great-reliability. Designed for "race" use and stated as such. Take a look at the HFL dyno-run chart, it does not look to me that six-screws and a map, professional-tune will cure the limits imposed.
TG -2011 Limiter  January 6, 2011 01:00 PM
I too have a first gen zx10 - nice to have one of the last fire-breathers. That said, I heard third hand from an unreputable source that the limitation has been put into the secondary throttle valves. If that's the case, six screws and a fuel map change - back to Euro hp. Like I said, it wasn't from the mouth of a reputable source.
Mark -Sounds simple enough?  January 5, 2011 05:24 PM
Kawasaki can fix the valve-springs, fine. But what about the limited- power from the North American model. I have a slightly modified 05-10R and it puts out 156 HP to the rear wheel. Account for drive-train and hydralic-drag of about 20 HP and "whalla" 176 crank-horsepower? Anybody think that buying a 2011-10R with 176 HP crank is a good deal at $13799? And the limiting factor is an ECU with limited throttle opening that cannot be overcome by a new exhaust system and a PC or a Bazazz. Will KHI offer threw their racing parts the Euro ECU under the "superstock" banner to give us NA buyers a chance of seeing the bikes potential? I think this is more of an issue than recalled bikes and new valve-train parts. Give this some thought Kawasaki Heavy- Industries.
The Dude -What will happen to the bought back bikes?  December 31, 2010 11:26 AM
Are the bikes Kawasaki purchased back going to be resold as new?
bidwell -Valve Springs?  December 30, 2010 04:20 PM
Gotta love a good conspiracy theory but personally I believe them. The damage from being caught in a lie would be far greater than the cost of fixing this issue. Besides, if it is a supplier QC issue I can assure you they will be picking up the cost, NOT KHI!
TG -Valve Springs?  December 30, 2010 11:55 AM
I'm no Kawi hater, but I call BS. If it were valve springs they would have done a recall like Aprilia. Not buy back sold units, and send them back to Japan. With how little warranty and recall work pays the dealers, it cost the company significantly more to go through this shipping and purchasing debacle than sending new valve springs or entire motors out for recall work.