2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R tests Autopolis, sounds great

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The 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R was dragged out to pose
for yet another round of photos prior to its official unveiling. This
time, we’ve got video too. Actually two videos. One recording an engine
start and one as Tom Sykes winds the engine up pulling out of the pits.
Does it sound like this engine uses any funny firing orders or
crossplane crankshaft technology to you or is it just the race exhaust?

Kawasaki’s still keeping mum on details, but they did say:

The Next Ninja features machine control systems based on MotoGP technology.

The Next Ninja’s engine is completely new: the shaft arrangement was revised and the centre of gravity is higher.

Neither one of those tidbits actually gives us much information. It seems logical to assume the MotoGP-derived “machine control systems” could mean traction control, something further backed up by the funny plumbing around the rear brake seen in earlier spy photos.

More enigmatic is the “shaft arrangement” and higher center of gravity. Is that the crankshaft or the gearbox shaft? That could mean a crossplane crankshaft similar to the 2009 Yamaha R1′s or a 90° cylinder. But all the earlier spy photos don’t seem to indicate the presence of the latter.

  • http://www.ducatinewstoday.com Mark Morrison

    I think its electric!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      OMG, I think you’re right!

  • General Apathy

    Hmmm.. Doesn’t sound like the R1 or a Duc, but it doesn’t quite sound I4 either.. Prolly just the exhaust.

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    If it is derived from Kawasaki GP tech, it certainly wont win any races, that’s for sure.

    • Grant Ray

      Don’t be too sure. How many MotoGP did Suzuki win during the Mladin years?

  • Trav

    I’m thinking it’s the transmission shafts, as there are two shafts to be arranged. The crankshaft is one shaft…. it would be crank pin arrangement if that were changed…. unless it’s a terminology faux pa. I dunno if kawasaki had done a stacked cartridge-like transmission yet? A la motogp? If they hadn’t, maybe that’s what they did. I don’t keep up on the particulars of what manfs. do what, aside from reading the same articles every year about the same bikes. The cross-plane crankshaft from yamaha was cool, but other than that.. Also doesn’t kawasaki completely suck at motogp? Maybe this thing is plagued with buggy electronics! How exciting… I’m a kawasaki fan, but it’s no 1969 Mach III or 1973 Z1 and it has to be said.

  • georGe aka-VintageWrencher

    In video 1 there is a bit of a gear whine once the bike gets a few feet away from the camera. Overall it doesnt sound that much diffent then any other I4 with a throaty exhaust.
    Video 2 it sounds like it has a little more bark than average. I would be interested to hear it coming outta of a slow corner into a long straight on a better recording.

  • T

    Looks fast. Those dudes fron NYC would probably haul ass on those.

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

    The starter motor sounds awsome!

  • gregorbean

    Sounds good (and different than the typical I4) to me!

  • geonerd

    actually, kawi raced an all new ZX-RR in 2009 under the name Hayate Racing and didn’t fare too badly. melandri took second at le mans and finished 5th 6th or 7th in five other races that season, which was amazing considering that kawasaki only bothered to put together a team because they didn’t want to get sued by Dorna.

    anyway, it sounds like an uneven firing order to me. kinda burbles a bit when it’s idling.

    • georGe aka-VintageWrencher

      IIRC Melandri said nothing was new on the Hayate(ZX-RR) for ’09 and this was actually one of the factors in him riding it as well as he did. No having to change parts out for “new updated” ones,they could just focus on what they had and how to make it work better. Regardless of how slow(this is a relative term0)the Kwak ZX-RR was I wouldnt kick one out of me garage.

  • Rich

    Sounds like some sort of big-bang engine to me. Almost like a triple instead of a four (which I’m sure it is – 4 cylinders that is). And, as georGe said, you can hear gear noise all the way down the pitlane. It’s ugly as hell though.

  • Jordan J.

    Given the adjustments on the topside of the forks, would you say that’s a BPF?

    Also, that sound sounds quite spectacular.

  • Sean Smith

    Looks like this is probably the baddest bike Kawasaki has ever built for public consumption. Lets hope the Brembo radial master cylinder, remote brake lever adjuster, superbike slicks, engine map switches, and carbon fiber fairings (sans lights of course)all make it to production.

    This could usher in a new era of track ready bikes for sale to the public a la motocross. Once other manufactures catch on, it’s gonna be pretty interesting.

    Of course, all that would only happen in bizarro world. What’s going to make or break this bike is all the little details that haven’t been finalized or released yet. The stuff that nit-picky magazine editors go over with a fine tooth comb and then bitch about. The current crop of liter bikes are all insanely fast, and the determining factors that make them winners or losers in racing are usually not things like horsepower, a neat frame, BPF forks, or really anything on the bike. It’s really about how much the manufacturer wants to win and as an extension of that, how much cash they’ll throw at it.

    With that said, I’m reserving judgement until I see a production bike with lights, street tires and a kick stand.

  • WestOfBen

    It’s an inline 4 with flat-plane crank. At most they may have slightly splayed the throws, but doesn’t sound like it. It sounds more like an MV to my ears. Definitely not cross-plane. It definitely isn’t a light-hybrid as some of the patents claimed. What you can hear is either gear whine, gear driven cams? Or it is electric assistance between crank throws – but how would FIM etc allow that?

  • Samuel

    Sounds to me that its cams are just a little “radical” on a race version, a traditional- four. The whine is probably exaggerated sounds of the transmission or as others have speculated, gear driven camshafts inside of cement pit walls with absolutely no other sound to speak of. As for the exhaust-note, it is deepened by its design and is reminiscent of a larger than “liter” class displacement engine. Listen to a ZX-12 or 14 with a good aftermarket exhaust and a PC III onboard, pretty-close with not so radical camming. Go back and listen to the “first-tease” video, once the rpm’s are up, it is smooth.

  • C Mad

    did anyone else read the august issue of motorcyclist yet? it says its a true “big bang” crank with somekind of electroninc assist at low rpms. along with some kind of valve trickery. could be interesting

    • Sean Smith

      All that whiz-bangery is just things Kawi filed patents for. It’s speculation at best.

      • geonerd

        speculation by “a href=”http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2010/07/leaked-docs-show-motorcyclist.html>magnanimous douchebags no less.

        anyway, it’s got a low rumble that i have not heard on any other liter bike apart from the R1.

  • Samuel

    As I said earlier, I have heard similar before in my neighborhood that is adjacent to a popular motorcycle ride route. And this is not an uncommon sound for me, having a larger than “liter” class bike with an aftermarket exhaust and PC III. We should know by the end of August, when the europeans get the first-look being more of the market they are shooting-for with this bike anyway.

  • ez

    that is one mean sounding I4 if it is. They deff have something going on there because they would not hype it like this if it was just a race exhaust. R1′s rumble like that at idle with race pipes? dont think so

  • John magnum

    it’s an electric supercharger. there are cheap crap ones on eBay for cars. think of cbr midrange but with a 2 stroke sling shot effect. that’s the whine your motor’d ears are listening to believe the hype gents

  • Maarten

    Are they preparing for the new MotoGP, with the 1000cc regulations…

  • Brian

    I don’t know who has noticed but the Kawi MotoGp bike was the only other bike on the grid that sounded VERY similar to Yamaha’s M1. I think there must be some non-traditional approach to the crank.

    Also, remember the crossplane crank isn’t new. Cadillac invented this back in the 20′s….


  • Pamberjack

    Speculating about the specific sonic characteristics of an exhaust note that’s been recorded on (what looks like) a cheap-ass compact camera is pointless.

    These budget mics just can’t handle the high volumes and bass loud motorbikes, and are only really designed to record human voice clearly.

    My 2c worth…

  • The Grudz

    Does Kevin Cameron ever post on here? He’ll have some light to shed on the subject.