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gen4 ZX-10R – Green Machine Review

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It’s fast, it wins races, it’s mean and green (or black)

It’s been an exciting couple of years as the new generation of superbikes have been released, Kawasaki have something special for the fans to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ninja line.

The race inspired 2015 Kawasaki ZX-10R has had plenty of positive feedback and is competing well with the latest R1. No doubt only a matter of time before Honda and Suzuki start playing catch up.

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Kawasaki has been marking the 30th anniversary of the Ninja line with special paint treatments, and that includes the 2015 ZX-10R, so two versions are available: the anniversary model in Lime Green/Pearl Stardust White paint with 30th Anniversary badges on the fairing, and the standard version in Metallic Matte Carbon Gray/Flat Ebony. Under the skin, there are no differences. The ZX-10R 30th anniversary edition costs $15,599 with ABS and $14,599 without, and the standard model is $300 less. The ABS models weigh in at a wet weight of 443 pounds, while the non-ABS models are seven pounds lighter.
The ZX-10R is in its fourth generation (referred to as gen4 by Kawi buffs) and was redesigned from the previous generation in 2011. The gen4 got an Ohlins steering damper in 2013, but the biggest change was the introduction of Kawasaki’s traction control and ABS systems (more on those later), along with improved suspension.

A 998 cc liquid-cooled, inline four, 16-valve DOHC motor is supplied fuel by large 47 mm throttle bodies and sub-throttle valves, and secondary injectors for improved top-end power. Power output has remained unchanged from the previous year at 160 horsepower at 11,650 rpm and 73.4 foot-pounds of torque at 11,030 rpm. The bike also is equipped with titanium headers that are reported to be very close to the race-spec headers, thus eliminating the need to buy a full system if an exhaust upgrade is wanted.

The front end receives a 43 mm inverted Big Piston Fork with adjustable, stepless rebound and compression damping. The fork also has easy preload adjustability and 4.7 inches of travel. The rear end gets a horizontal back-link gas-charged shock. Adjustability for the shock comes with stepless high-speed and low-speed compression damping, in addition to stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload, and 5.5 inches of travel.

Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Braking System (KIBS) is supplied on the ABS model. The system was designed specifically for sport bike use and connects the ABS control unit to the engine control unit. As a result, the ABS considers not just wheel speed and brake pressure, but also throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and gear position.

Both ABS and non-ABS models have dual, semi-floating 310 mm petal discs with four-piston radial-mounted calipers up front and a single 220 mm petal disc with an aluminum, single-piston caliper on the rear wheel.

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Image Credits: 1, 2, 3
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