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2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Drawing

Thursday, June 24, 2010
2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX10R concept sketch
Kawasaki gives a glimpse in to the future of their Ninja superbike with this artist rendering of the 2011 ZX10R.
Every once in a while Kawasaki swings for the fences and comes up with a grand slam. For decades the Ninja has been one of the company’s biggest hits as it has been an icon among both motorcycle enthusiasts and non-motorcycle set alike. If you ask someone to describe a sportbike who generally has no clue, they most likely will say something to the effect of ‘You talking ‘bout one of them Ninjas – them crotch rockets?”

A few years back Kawasaki unveiled the Ninja ZX-10R at Homestead Raceway in Florida. As a young man, my formative years were spent behind the controls of a ZX-7 so I was keen to swing a leg over the big 10R for its anniversary reemergence. The bike went on to take a victory in our Superbike Smackdown and set the stage for some fierce battles with the competing literbikes form Japan in the years to come.

On the race track, Kawasaki made a return to Superbike competition on the national as well as the world scene. Many privateer teams chose to compete aboard the Ninja on road courses and experienced some success. But the World Superbike title that has eluded them over the years was still out of reach.

The next generation was unveiled at the smooth and silky Losail Circuit in Qatar. It was even better, faster and lighter. It gave the competition fits in our subsequent Smackdown comparison tests but it ultimately could only muster a best finish of runner-up.

The ZX-10R offers excellent handling. It turns in sharp  its stable at lean and it drives off the corner well.
Kawasaki's current 2010 Ninja ZX10R faired pretty well in our 2010 Superbike Smackdown. Finishing 6th on the street and 5th at the track.
Back in World Superbike the ZX struggled in the hands of privateers compared to the full factory efforts of the other marques. It proved to be a competitive bike in other areas including the Northwest 200, Isle of Man and a handful of national level series as well. But World Superbike eluded Kawasaki once again. It seems that a change is in order.

Kawasaki just released a sketch of their soon to be released 2011 Ninja ZX-10R. It’s sleek, angular and looking every bit the part of a hard-edged sportbike we have come to expect to see from Kawasaki. The company claims their goal is to win races. So what should we expect from the new ZX-10R? Let’s take a look at the wish list.

At the heart of the improvement would be a new chassis. In the past, racers have struggled to get the previous generation open-classer to handle at the same level as the competition. Many changes to the old design were incorporated during its tenure. They got close but never quite right. If Kawasaki can get the combination of agility and stability close to the competition then maybe, just maybe its ever-present engine could take center stage.

Sportbikes upwards of 180 rear-wheel horsepower these days and we all know that Kawasaki has often been lauded for producing powerful engines over the years. So the only question remaining is what will they do for this bike? A new benchmark has been set by the BMW S1000RR, which claims a whopping 193 hp at the crank and measured 182.83 hp at the rear wheel during our 2010 Superbike Track Comparison. Will Kawasaki push 200 crank hp or choose to go easy on the dyno? What new technologies can they employ that haven’t been seen on many Japanese bikes?

How about sophisticated electronics? At the introduction of the last ZX in Qatar the media folks were keen to point out that the bike has some type of traction control but were adamant that it wasn’t actually called traction control. Expect to see that all change this time around.

The limited info that is available hints at the incorporation of new materials into the design. Carbon fiber, titanium, plastic, fiberglass and aluminum have all been used over the years. What’s next? Kawasaki, we’re ready to see what you have up your sleeve. The mini-site www.kawasaki-challenge.com states that testing will take place at Suzuka Circuit on July 7, 2010. There is also a video and the opportunity to share your thoughts on what the bike might be like on the Twitter page as well.
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hi -sup  January 31, 2011 01:25 PM
i want a ninja so bad
cj -wishing  July 26, 2010 06:32 PM
i ride a 06 636 and I'm ready to move up in power. If it's true the handling will be the focus to compliment the power sign me up.
Lee -No News is "good news"?  July 2, 2010 09:40 PM
They are no longer aiming for the American market. That's why we get a "tease" here. That's why we see Z1000 influences and older-design tendencies of yester-year. Although, I think they will improve the bike to compete in racing and for the market they are shooting-for. But the US will see a limited number of 2011-10R's just like the 2010. Remember, our President announced we are no longer the economic engine of the world, a direction the other countries "pick-up" on when he was elected. Why send a product to the US when the "Big- Man" says we are in decline?
andrew -just what we need another race replica....  July 2, 2010 09:11 PM
Since 98% of sport bikes never see the track or competitive racing...Stop making uncomfortable sport bikes...Why do you think there are so many used sport bikes in the cycle trader.? Remember the Ninja 900 from 1985....Full fairing bike with high clip-on handle bars....? Now that was a bike you ride all day and still have the look of a race bike...Those were the true days of a sport bike...
Scooby -Yawn!  July 1, 2010 10:43 PM
Like most of Kawasaki's recent design efforts, it subjects us to the ignominy of reliving the horrendous "edge design" of the 80s: that's right, we're all five year-olds who want to play w/ Transformers & origami! Sorry, I already lived thru that sh!t once, I don't need to see it rehashed again...
Sumanster -Sleeker than the current model  June 29, 2010 02:19 PM
Yo's clever sarcasm notwithstanding :), I like the new bodywork (though I suspect the pointy trailing edges of the windscreen will be removed for liability reasons).
Shaitan -You can see the Z1000 influence  June 29, 2010 10:51 AM
You can see the current Z1000 styling influence, especially on the nose/headlight section.
Yo -Great News  June 28, 2010 02:45 PM
I'm glad to see Kawasaki aiming for the fences with this one. Just by looking at the sketch, I can see that the new Ninja will likely feature dual discs up front and a muffler from which exhaust gases will be expelled.