Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS - Long-Term Test Update #1

Greater green movement.

Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS - Long-Term Test Update

Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS - Long-Term Test Update

Kawasaki has never been a company to shy away from bringing the latest racing-derived technology to market. Team Green got the jump on its Japanese competitors with Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC), its MotoGP-derived TC system featured on the latest ZX-10R.

We were impressed with the 10R's superb level of on-track performance when the bike was introduced to the press a year ago at Road Atlanta. Our road test that followed further reinforced that initial impression, as the 10R instilled an uncanny confidence when ridden on the street in both dry and wet conditions. While the 10R fared well against the current crop of TC-equipped liter-bikes ("Electronic Warfare," August, 2011), the green machine got outmuscled by a more-powerful BMW S1000RR.

For our long-term evaluation, we obtained a ZX-10R equipped with Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-Lock Braking System (KIBS), a $1000 option intended for the performance street rider. KIBS is built upon a Bosch unit that’s far lighter and more compact than conventional ABS systems and monitors front and rear wheel speeds, throttle position, gear selection, engine rpm, caliper pressure and clutch actuation. The system feels very transparent with only a slight trace of kickback through the radial-pump front master cylinder when ABS is activated.

Topping our to-do-list will be unbridling our 10R and reclaiming the 10-plus rear-wheel ponies that our U.S.-spec bike spots its European counterpart. We plan to do so in stages beginning with flashing the ECU memory with Euro ignition and secondary-throttle-plate maps. The next logical step will be fitting a slip-on exhaust (retaining use of the stock race-quality titanium head pipes) along with a fuel-mapping module.

Stay tuned as we get our long-term ZX-10R dialed in for the greater green good.