Monday, December 15, 2008

Riding impression: Regis Laconi’s WSBK Kawasaki ZX-10R

According to Motociclismo, riding the ZX-10R is like riding a runaway horse...

After Troy Bayliss’ 1098R, Noriyuki Haga’s YZF-R1 and Carlos Checa’s Fireblade, Motociclismo have now ridden Regis Laconi’s Kawasaki ZX-10R racebike. Here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the green-meanie:

Despite the redoubtable talents of Team PSG-1 riders, Regis Laconi and Makoto Tamada, the ZX-10R wasn’t very successful in the 2008 World Superbikes season. The 2008 ZX-10R is actually smaller and much more manageable than its predecessor. The Kawasaki now feels more like its other Japanese rivals, though the ergonomics are still not as well sorted…

To ride, this 2008 ZX-10R is less physical than the 2007 bike – changing direction is now easier, the pressurized Öhlins fork is not too harsh, and the overall suspension/chassis package lets the bike make full use of the Pirelli tyres’ grip. Yes, this bike is quicker and much more effective than the one with which Fonsi Nieto struggled last year.

The problems start when you really open the throttle – you feel like you’re astride a runaway horse. Power delivery is abrupt and difficult to modulate, which makes life difficult for the rear suspension and the rear tyre. The bike moves around quite a bit and feels a bit unstable at full chat, and the traction control system has to work hard to keep it all under control.

The power is all there, Kawasaki just need to make it more manageable!

It seems the Kawasaki needs significant improvement in the area of electronics, so that power delivery is made more controllable. Compared with the other Japanese bikes, the Kawasaki is much more demanding to ride – the chassis and suspension still need more work.

With the declared 208bhp at the back wheel, the ZX-10R has adequate horsepower – it just needs to be smoothened out a bit, and the peaks and troughs in the power delivery need to be ironed out. The acceleration is actually quite impressive, with the bike wanting to lift the front wheel everywhere. It just needs to be made a bit more controllable. Perhaps in 2009…?

For the full riding impression, see the Motociclismo website here

World Superbikes PSG-1 Kawasaki ZX-10R: Tech specs

Engine: DOHC, 16-valve, 998cc inline-four, with Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection
Maximum torque: 117Nm at 11,000rpm
Maximum power: >208bhp
Transmission: Six-speed
Chassis: Aluminium twin-spar
Front suspension: 43mm pressurized USD Öhlins TTX25 fork, 135mm travel, multi-adjustable
Rear suspension: Öhlins KA5511 monoshock, 140mm travel, multi-adjustable
Front brakes: Brembo, twin 320mm discs
Wheels and tyres: 120/65 ZR 16.5 (front), 190/65 ZR 16.5 (rear)
Declared dry weight: 162kg

Also see:
Sheene Tribute: Vermeulen-replica GSX-R1000...
Airbrush magic for motorcycles...
A diesel-powered Kawasaki, anyone...?
Franco Sbarro does a four-wheeled motorcycle concept...
Singularly sexy: The Ducati Supermono!
Nanotech: Smart helmets could save lives...
Memorable: The Moriwaki Dream Fighter...
1992-2008: Evolution of the Honda Fireblade...
Riding the Buell 1125R...

Elsewhere today:
A Taiwanese-made, fuel-cell-powered scooter...!
Do the smart thing, get a scooter...

...and here's the 2009 ZX-6R being tested at the Autopolis circuit in Japan

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