2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Riding Impression
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Howdy all, I just got done burning Bridgestone rubber at the controls of the new Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike at Georgia’s Road Atlanta racing circuit. If you’re not familiar with Team Green’s latest liter-class sportbike peruse the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R First Look
article and learn all about the new features and technical specifications of this motorcycle.
After putting in so many laps that I can barely walk right now (Road Atlanta is a very physical racetrack, think California’s Infineon Raceway but way faster—top gear 186 mph on the dash) I now have a reasonably good impression of it.
The biggest thing that stands out in my mind is how well the traction control system works. I spent the majority of the day in Level 1 which is the least amount of electronic intervention and designed specifically for riding at the track.
It is quite a bit different feeling than the production TC systems employed by Ducati 1198S and BMW S1000RR sportbikes. As opposed to their systems which cut in rather aggressively at times and can penalize your drive off corners, the Kawi set-up works much more unobtrusively. It actually felt similar in some ways to the ultra-expensive Magneti Marelli wheel spin system employed on Mat Mladin’s championship winning American Superbike we tested last year in the 2009 Mat Mladin Suzuki GSX-R1000 Test
Under most circumstances the TC will still let the rear tire spin and slide but it manages it in a way that the competitions systems can’t. And it does it so discreetly that at times it’s difficult to notice that it’s actually activating. This helps the rider focus 100% of their attention on riding as opposed to wondering how to manage the slide, etc.
There’s also a wheelie control function that literally allows you to stay in the throttle, pinned to the stop, without having to worry about the front wheel continuing to climb toward the sky. It was actually really hard to get used to this feature because out of instinct my brain is wired to roll off the throttle, dab the rear brake lever or slip the clutch to get the front tire back on the ground. Amazing stuff! Even better is the ability to turn the system off completely with a push of the handlebar mounted button, though it works so good I don’t know why you ever would unless you wanted to ride mile-long wheelies down the road.
There’s plenty more to talk about in regards to the engine, chassis and other features of the bike so stay tuned for our full First Ride report that should be online Monday next week. Rest assured however this bike is the real deal and will definitely give the class-leading BMW and Honda CBR1000RR a run for its money come Superbike Smackdown Track shootout time.
Editors Note: For the full review make sure to check out the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R First Ride
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