2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R racer photo released

Dailies -


2011-Kawasaki-ZX-10R-racer.jpgHere it is, the first photo of the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, unpainted and in race trim, ready for testing at Suzuka. Two numbers from Kawasaki: 190bhp, 198kg. Big numbers indeed, compare them to 188bhp and 179kg (dry) of the 2010 model or to the 193bhp and 204kg (wet) of the current king of the superbike hill, the BMW S1000RR.
Assuming that the 2011 ZX-10R’s 198kg quoted weight is wet, that compares well to the S1000RR, even if the power’s till not quite capable of matching the F1 valve technology of the Bimmer. The problem is, there’s no word as to which bike that weight applies to; this carbon and no headlights race bike or a full-equipped road bike? Kawasaki plans to test the new Ninja at Suzuka later this week, expect more official images and info to “leak” then.

Player 1, Kawasaki: “This design is an expression of its cutting-edge
innovation and beauty.”

Player 2, Chris Vermeulen: “The bike looks pretty trick. It’s completely
different and looks pretty special.”

Player 3, Wes Siler: “All we’re really seeing here is some folded-paper
plastic on top of a distinctly conventional motorcycle.”


  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Chris, you so crazy!

    I know that there is only so many ways to play with plastics, but geez, this ZX-10R is not blowing my mind.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Why are you guys ragging on the 2001 ZXR?

    Wait, 2011?! Seriously?

  • Glenn

    The current ZX10/6 are pretty hot. This is, too. I have trouble getting excited about liter bikes.

  • sburns2421

    The thing to keep in mind when comparing stated hp numbers is that if anything, BMW sandbagged their numbers. The other players in the literbike war will have to make huge gains to equal BMW on the top end. For customers who only use the spec sheet to decide which bike to buy, the BMW is going to be tops for some time.

  • Noone1569


    Hot bike, great numbers sure. But really . . this is beginning to become the Megapixel wars of digicams.

    More more more . . sure . .but do you need to print a 100″ × 200″ photo? Hell no.

    I don’t need 199hp on the street. I’d like 199lb tq though . . heh.

    I’m a bit biased. I like a bike with soul, feedback, and something that makes each ride an experience.

    I ride a Buell.

    • http://oilygauntlet.blogspot.com Hank

      Yawn indeed. Instead of paying an exorbitant amount of money up front I’ll just wait for these things to pile onto craigslist when the 2012 model or 2013 model comes out. Nothing is quite as recyclable and replaceable as a supersport or literbike.

      That said, they could make something actually cool and innovative. Let’s see some unconventional styling, or something half-faired/unfaired. Let’s see some new lines and shapes, more curves and fewer edges. Or only edges so that it looks like a track scalpel. Or hell, let’s just make it one entirely smooth object with no distinctive lines, just entirely smooth flowing curves. Could be cool.

      Let’s just hope they leave off the goofy graphics when the road model comes out.

  • http://twowheelsplus.blogspot.com/ Anders

    I’m not sure. From this picture at least, it doesn’t look like Kawa has re-discovered their design-mojo. In my opinion, the last great looking Kawa was the ’03 ZX6-R. Lets wait and see until the road-legal version is revealed.

  • @TOV_Gerald

    An increase in power and decrease in weight is a given, but what will be interesting is whether Kawasaki made any advances on rider aides. Will it have ABS or TC? If it has TC it could be the first of the Japanese superbikes with it and it would be a strong selling point. Especially if it is lighter than the BMW

  • Brian Zooom

    the only way I see this bike as a win, is if the advertised figures are wet weight of the stock bike and that power is at the rear wheel actual HP. Otherwise, this is yet going to be another flubbing disaster for anyone to have on the grid to race and it makes me sad for Tom Sykes, Chris V, and Roger Lee Hayden. I guess time shall tell and we shall see is it all unfolds.

  • Kevin White

    1. Hopefully 198 KG is curb — 437 pounds.

    2. Single sidepipe — kinda boring compared to duals, underbikes, undertails.

    3. It’s too bad there’s no “Kawasaki Tuono.” Something for the real world that comes out alongside the race replica each generation.

    4. Design-wise, there just is not much more you can DO with a sportbike! It’s a very different thing than a car which can have a lot of different configurations and styles. Unless we start seeing something like a modern interpretation of the dustbin fairing (and I remember a pretty neat set of illustrations of modern MotoGP bikes with dustbins in a Cycle World a few years ago) I expect most of these race reps to look about the same.

    5. Of course, they could do something different with the paint and such to differentiate the bike. But I bet this’ll come in black, green, and some other color from the Crayola Marker 8-pack.

    6. True innovation like magnetorheological suspension, two wheel drive, active aero, direct injection, or electronic valve actuation would be excellent but we’re not there. Until then the Japanese will just be playing catch up to Ducati and BMW as far as the electronic aids.

    • http://twowheelsplus.blogspot.com/ Anders

      I disagree. I think the RSV-R, the S1000RR and the MV all looks different too each other. For a person who’s not really into bikes, they might look similar, as they have quite similar proportions and stance but the detailing and scuplting create the unique identities. There’s definitely room for creating a unique and distinctive design within the category.

  • http://oilygauntlet.blogspot.com Hank

    And does anyone else think that hole in the middle of the nose is for a vacuum cleaner attachment?

  • @TOV_Gerald

    We also have to keep in mind the price and market for these bikes. People can complain that new supersports don’t feature radical new features but radical features cost money. If the ZX-10R came with active suspension but costed $20,000 would people buy it? Would enough people buy it to justify the cost?

    Honestly it’s like people asking for a seamless shift transmission in a Mustang or active aero for a Civic Si. Yeah some of that whizbang technology would be great, but would it be cost effective? And even if it were cost effective, would it drive additional sales?

    So if you’re a product planner at any motorcycle manufacturer, would you bet the farm on developing something radical for your flagship sport bike that may or may not even result in something you can sell, much less be profitable with? Especially with motorcycle sales down dramatically world-wide? Maybe Soichiro Honda would but he’s dead.

  • chili sv

    Okay move along, nothing to see here people.

  • keith


    P.S. I cannot wait for the day when Carbon Fiber is no longer an acceptable “trim” either on bikes or cars. We know its light! Yes CRX owners, I am looking at you. Carbon fiber is an acceptable trim in the same way primer is.

  • Sean Smith

    I think this bike could be pretty sweet so long as Kawasaki puts some money behind it to be competitive in AMA and WSBK. But they’re not going to do that, and this bike isn’t going to win many races. Instead they’ll offer it with low interest rates and a special Ed Hardy/Affliction graphics package.

  • Steve

    Kinda looks like an RSV up front.


    I’m curious to see if the actual bike will have a decent set of headlights; ones that don’t make it look cross-eyed. That being said, I have high hopes for this bike. If it’s true that Kawasaki is developing and/or has filed patents for variable valve timing and a ‘true’ big-bang firing order (more aggressive than the R1′s) and coupled these with a well balanced chassis, traction control and ABS, then we all might be in for a great machine. I can’t help but remember some of the negative comments that surrounded the BMW S1000RR when it first surfaced, such as derivative styling, Japanese copying, etc. At this point in the game, I think it is inevitable to have this kind of ‘borrowing’ from other manufacturers. But just look at the BMW now. Despite all the hype surrounding it, it’s performance on the track has been out-shined by Aprilia. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great bike, but what’s all the fuss about? No one can knock this bike for not being ‘innovative’. I feel that the implementation of Moto gp tech on a street bike is amazing. I remember when I first started riding how much of a wow factor USD forks were. And look how far we’ve come. How many of us can honestly say they can achieve the full potential of a modern liter bike on the track; let alone on the street? At the end of the day it all comes down to what rocks your boat. I hope Kawasaki does it right. It will give me an excuse to own another Japanese I4, from a company that made me fall in love with motorcycles (my first love–and ride–was a 1994 Ninja 500). I for one can’t find anything wrong with this bike. Just give me some headlights!

  • Liquidogged

    Still can’t figure out why the ZX10 has becoming the whipping boy for all these frothed up tech junkies. When’s the last time a GSXR1000 really stirred your soul? Of course literbikes are getting stale, they all are. The BMW is nice, the RSV is nice, but at the end of the day it’s the same old thing. Because the BMW looks weird and has interesting valve technology it’s somehow not conventional, whereas the ZX10, the internals of which we know nothing about, is OBVIOUSLY BORING AND CONVENTIONAL… is that the idea? Multiple logic failures there.

    Stop beating on the poor little kawi, fanboys. The literbike war has been boring for ten years. Read the reviews. They always wind up like this: “Modern bikes are so incredible all around that saying one is better than another is 100% splitting hairs. Very few riders on the street will be able to approach the performance envelop of this bike.” etc etc.

    Really, I just don’t get it. Can someone point me towards a literbike released in this decade that is actually unique in any significant way? I realize it’s relative, but throw me a bone here.

    • Brian Zooom

      Merc is Mercury and has been for many many many muscle car years…a Mecedes is just a Benz when called for short!

      and a GSXR doesn’t stir the soul, but with coming out with new innovations found from racing that improved their bikes every 2 years, a GSXR is a formidable machine to consider racing against due to the capabilities of the machine, though it seems they might have lost their way a touch the last 2 years, I expect to see some kind of rocketship improvement in the next coming generation.

  • Kawibunga

    It looks pretty good so far but I’m confident that Kawi will mess up the lines with awful cross-eyed headlights again. Alternatively, they may be too inspired by BMW and incorporate assymetrical headlights that take it to the realm of butt-ugly.

  • Mitch

    I’m with the ludites on this – why is it so important for it to be ‘different’? Let them make another bike ‘different’. I want my race replica machine to race. I will never own a Ferrari, but Ferrari performance for a couple thousand dollars? Sign me up. For those of you without an inclination to go to a race track, do yourselves a favor and vote with your bucks – don’t get race machines you’re not gonna race. The new Z1000 is pretty nice, I hear…

  • FearTheTurtle

    I ride a 60 hp supermoto 80% of the time on the street. And enjoy every bit of it. The other time, it is a 140hp bike on the track.

    But every once in a while, I do have the lust for that liter bike thrill! There is just something alluring about mega Hp even when you can’t fully utilize it.

    So, I hope Kawasaki does “bring it” because the Bimmer boys have thrown the gauntlet and our Big Four friends from the Island will respond. Not only will they respond, but they will build it and sell it cheaper.

    At the end of the day, we, as the consumer, WIN!

  • K2theM

    Bikes are Beemers, not Bimmers:
    Bimmer vs Beemer: BAVA
    Someones gotta pick the nits…

    As for the Big K…
    I don’t like it so much. It may just be the camera angle/ shot, but it doesn’t look “cool”. To it’s credit, it looks better than the squinty eyed owl of years past.

    • Nick

      BMW cars AND bikes are Beemers. There is no such thing as a Bimmer in 99% of the world’s countries.

    • Nick

      Oh and while we are on the subject, a Merc is a Mercedes-Benz not a Mercury.

    • Grant Ray

      Feel free to pick away, just know that nobody but BMW owners really gives a shit about the whole Bimmer/Beemer thing.

  • Pamberjack

    I’m pretty sure Wes is going down. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am…

    Wes – if yr wrong you gotta face the music and admit it!


  • Ceolwulf

    I can’t believe you guys are actually complaining about this thing.

  • Deckard

    It looks like they may have taken some ideas from the ZX-RR MotoGP bike. Hopefully it will have the same long front spars, which Yoda brought over from the Yamaha M1.

    And please, not styled so head down, ass up this time…

    • Brian Zooom

      “And please, not styled so head down, ass up this time…

      Deckard “

      unfortunately, that is the best way for a bike of this nature to be styled/set-up. Rear ride height needs to be raised up for to put the weight on the front and to allow the rear to have adequate feel without being squatted/compromised to the point of compression for to slide.

      • deckard

        If head-down/ass-up “styling” is the key to a good handling bike, then the 2010 ZX10R should be the best handling bike on the planet. Instead it is universally acknowledged as the worst.

  • Mark

    Good to see some actual and factual debate on the new 2011 ZX-10R. As I predicted, A conventional in-line four with some performance added and weight-loss a formula to do better in racing and to actually be able to sell what they build! Take a look at the photos posted from Suzuka. I am getting a sense that this will be like the 04′-05′ model, a real-powerhouse with better-handling. It may not be sexy like the Italians, but I bet-it will be right there with them on the road and track and cost $2000 to $4000 dollars less for a street-base model . With that extra-cash, Akrapovic, Dyno-Jet PC-V, Brembo and Ohlins will be in store for my new 2011. Was thinking of a BMW, but have changed my mind. And product support will be better than the European bikes in the United States. Kawasaki is marketing heavily in Europe and I expect they will get their share of the liter-bike market because the Pound and Euro are just as tight as the dollar. I like to see a company make good, common-sense decisions to ride-out bad economic times caused by politicians and governments that are very-unskilled with dealing in the “real-world”.