Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R: Hard-core performance, dubious styling...

Going by Kawasaki's press material, this 2008 model could be the most extreme ZX-10R ever built. It still looks ugly though...

Pics: Motorcycle USA

Earlier this month, we had posted the first pics of Kawasaki’s 2008 ZX-10R Ninja and now here are some more pics and details. Kawasaki are putting a lot of emphasis on the fact that this latest iteration of the big Ninja is meant for racers and experienced, hard-core street riders. Japanese racer Akira Yanagawa is said to have played a major role in the development of the 2008 Ninja ZX-10R, and with this new bike, Kawasaki may be looking at returning to the edgy, extreme performance package of the original 2004 ZX-10R!

The 2008 ZX-10R’s liquid-cooled, 16-valve, DOHC, 998cc inline-four, with dual fuel injectors for each cylinder, and oval, 43mm Keihin throttle bodies, benefits from reshaped ram-air ducts (for better air intake) and a larger airbox. And the bike’s new exhaust system, which is fully emissions compliant, is also said to boost power and reduce noise. (We aren’t too happy about the last bit, and the fact that the thing seems to have been taken off a Z1000 or a Z750, but what the hell, Yoshimura should have a solution to this problem soon…!)

The gearbox features revised ratios, the chassis is heavily revised, and then there’s the big news – the new Ninja gets what Kawasaki call a ‘torque management’ system. This would essentially be some kind of a traction control system and Kawasaki say it monitors parameters like throttle opening, gear position and rate of RPM change, and if need be, retards ignition timing (thereby reducing power) when it detects sudden spikes in the engine’s rpm figure. This doesn’t, however, mean that you can’t pull wheelies or slide the rear wheel anymore – Kawasaki claim that this system doesn’t interfere with the engine’s operation and allows it to rev freely in normal riding conditions.

Next up, suspension. The 2008 Ninja ZX-10R gets a 43mm, fully adjustable USD fork at front, with ‘Diamond Like Carbon’ (DLC) coating to the fork tubes for less stiction. At the rear, there’s a new swingarm that uses pressed (instead of cast) beams, and a Uni-Trak linkage monoshock that’s independently adjustable for low and high speed compression damping. Like the chassis and swingarm, the new ZX-10R’s wheels are also lighter and stiffer, and brakes are Tokico units – twin 320mm petal discs with radial mount calipers at front, and a single 220mm disc at the back.

Going by the spec sheet, the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R should be one hell of a machine, though we still think it looks ugly. Anyway, here's a video of the bike in action:

A video of the 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R in action

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