We sent our green machine to the north for some serious track time in the hands of Ken Hill, an instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School as well as a private riding coach. He’s already put 600 track miles (at Thunderhill Park and Infineon Raceway) on the CW ZX-10R.
“This turned out to be a great way to see all the personalities of the bike,” wrote Hill in the logbook. “At a C-group pace, the bike is comfy and the mirrors work great. Stepping up to run with fast A-group riders is no problem, and even the students I gave two-up rides had no complaints. This first month impressed me because this is a bike on which I don’t have to compromise settings for faster or slower paces.”
Nonetheless, Hill found some suspension shortcomings. “The Big Piston Fork has what it takes, but the weak link in the whole package is the shock. It has a too-soft spring and fairly light overall damping.”
First efforts were to optimize the stock package. “The ZX-10R shock doesn’t really like going past 14-15mm of preload, which gives me more free sag than I would like,” says Hill. “But this balances out being able to hold the bike up vs. issues caused by too much preload (poor drive grip and bump absorption, among others).”
Hill added a 4mm-thick rear ride-height shim (available from Kawasaki), while high- and low-speed compression damping were increased, all good improvements.
Next up: full-on race rubber to replace the recently mounted Bridgestone Battlax BT-003 Racing Street tires; unlock all the hidden power sitting inside that little black box; a stiffer shock spring and an oil upgrade.
|MAINTENANCE COSTS (INCLUDING TIRES)||$509.26|
|AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE||38 mpg|
|PRICE AS TESTED (2011)||$14,799|
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