Kawasaki unveiled the future of its sport bike DNA in the form of the all-new 2004 NINJA ZX-10R motorcycle, serving notice to super bike racers and sport bike enthusiasts that Kawasaki is committed to its heritage of building uncompromising, high-performance motorcycles.
The ZX-10R should put Kawasaki at the front of sport bike design and performance. From the overall shape to the smallest detail, the ZX-10R combines high technology with the latest innovations, including a new, high-output engine, ultra-narrow aluminum frame, ergonomic design and compact bodywork with a frontal area smaller than most 600s.
The NINJA ZX-10R is designed to have a great power-to-weight ratio and excellent handling on the road.
Kawasaki engineers utilized a "stack" 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 enhance the bike's power-to-weight ratio.
To obtain maximum benefit from the ZX-10R's electronic 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 provides the coolest air possible, 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.
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 air-flow 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. 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 all-aluminum twin-tube backbone frame that arches over the engine rather than around it, as with conventional sport bike 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-class sport bikes.
Front suspension is 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 the rear suspension. The entire rear suspension system is both lightweight and torsionally rigid, and also features adjustable ride height.
The ZX-10R features all-new 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 tyre and ultra-wide 190/50ZR17 rear tyre.
Stopping power for the ZX-10R is provided by dual 300mm front disc brakes featuring petal disc design, radically mounted four-piston calipers, and a single 220mm rear disc brake. First introduced on Kawasaki's own NINJA ZX-6R and ZX-6RR sport bikes, 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.
With the help of a front area smaller than that of a NINJA ZX-6R, the angular body work and racing-style ergonomics of the ZX-10R minimizes aerodynamic drag.
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.
Engine: Four-stroke, DOHC, inline four, 16 valves
Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55mm
Induction: Electronic 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
Suspension, front: 43mm forks with 16-way compression and rebound damping, fully adjustable preload
Suspension, rear: Gull-type aluminum swingarm, UNI-TRAKŪ linkage system, fully adjustable gas-charged shock with stepless compression/rebound damping, adjustable spring preload, adjustable ride height
Tyre, front: 120/70ZR17
Tyre, rear: 190/50ZR17
Brakes, front: Dual 300mm petal disc with radial-mounted, opposed four-piston caliper Brakes, rear: Single 220mm petal disc with radial-mounted caliper.
Seat height: TBA
Dry weight: TBA
Fuel capacity: TBA