It Caters Directly To The Fiery-Eyed Pegdraggers Out There

Kawasaki beefs up its street-legal racebike game for MY2019 with the improved Ninja ZX-10RR superbike. This hotly-contested sector caters directly to the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, and should be considered a continuation of the closed-circuit competition between the pros, just in a different venue. A new engine drives the windtunnel-tested chassis with a number of internal improvements along with a handful of suspension tweaks to handle all that extra power. Best of all, it comes with the necessary gear to make it street legal but can be quickly stripped for track days.

  • 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Top Speed:
    186 (governed) mph
  • Price:
    24899
  • Price:

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Design

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
- image 826441
Every part of the Ninja ZX-10RR is calculated down to the gram with nothing in the way of superfluous components to weigh it or slow it down.

Every part of the Ninja ZX-10RR is calculated down to the gram with nothing in the way of superfluous components to weigh it or slow it down. It leads off with a vented front fender tucked tightly under the gaping maw of the engine-cowl scoop. The upper fairing borrows heavily from Kawi’s WBSK technology with a pair of recessed headlight cans below a bubble screen, but the real magic lies in the venting that relieves the vacuum in the pocket to reduce turbulence where it meets the slipstream.

In between the lights is an intake scoop that takes advantage of the pressure wave in front of the bike and shunts that pressurized air directly from the entry to the airbox for a cheap boost in volumetric efficiency. The bad news with that is you have to get up to around 100 mph to net any significant gains, so it’s little more than a conversation piece on bikes destined only for public roads. Still, it’s cool, and it speaks to the level of engineering this machine brings to the table.

The front turn signals are integrated with the mirrors which gives it a clean appearance and makes it easy to set up for the track since you can remove them as a unit. Same with the mudguard/plateholder/blinker assembly out back that’s set up for easy removal when you’re ready to shred on a closed-circuit.

Dead short bars pull the rider forward into a jockey position over the 4.5-gallon fuel tank, and you can forget about pushing off to find a more relaxed upright riding posture, it ain’t gonna’ happen. Yeah, that means it’s no good for a commuter unless you’re a special kind of masochist. The pilot’s perch rests in the deep swale created by the fuel tank and upswept tail section, and the rear end is faired off with no consideration for potential passengers; if you want to share the fun with a friend, you’re looking at the wrong bike, full stop.

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Chassis

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
- image 826440
Tweaks to the frame and steering geometry increase flickable agility and deliver track-worthy handling.

A perimeter-style frame made of die-cast aluminum provides the structure for the ZX-10RR and pulls double duty as the ram-air ducts. The ducts carry the pressurized air to the airbox in a move that eliminates some weight and turns the spars into resonator chambers to mitigate the intake howl. The frame shifts the engine forward slightly to load up the front wheel just a skosh with a concurrent increase in flickable agility. As for the steering head, it measures in with 25 degrees of rake and 4.2 inches of trail to deliver track-worthy handling and features an electronic steering damper to take the edge off the inevitable kickback.

The stems are Balance Free Forks that sport piggyback chambers charged with pressurized nitrogen to combat fluctuations in pressure due to variations in temperature and also to act as an anti-foaming agent for the hydraulic fluid that makes the magic happen. Out back, a gas-charged Showa BRFC-Lite shock takes care of business with a Horizontal Back-link setup to tie it to the boomerang-shaped swingarm. Components at both ends deliver the full trinity of adjustments so you can dial the ride in right where you want it. As for suspension travel, it’s typical of the genre with 4.7-inches up front and 4.5-inches out back.

Symmetrical Marchesini forged wheels round out the rolling chassis with a 17-inch diameter and a 120/70 up front opposite a 190/55 to make the connection to the pavement, and as you’d expect, the rubber runs with a ZR rating that means it’ll take everything you can dish out, even on the track.

Radial-mount Brembo anchors grab massive 330 mm discs up front with four 30 mm pistons set in an opposed arrangement that’s much more powerful than the piston-and-anvil type setup. The rear has a single-piston caliper bits a 220 mm disc, mainly to keep your rear end behind you since the bulk of the work is done up front.

Now we get to the first bit of ride-safety fandanglery; Kawasaki’s own proprietary ABS, the KIBS feature that reads data from the inertial measurement unit and calculates the level of intervention that can safely be applied at any given time.

Frame: Aluminum perimeter
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 43mm inverted Balance Free Fork, adjustable stepless rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability/4.7 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Horizontal back-link with Balance Free gas-charged shock, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload/4.5 in
Rake/Trail: 25.0°/4.2 in
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: 190/55 ZR17
Front Brakes: Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), dual semi-floating 330mm discs with dual radial mounted Brembo® monobloc 4-piston calipers
Rear Brakes: KIBS-controlled, single 220mm disc with aluminum single-piston caliper

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Drivetrain

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
- image 826442
The electronic wizardry continues with the Kawasaki Cornering Management Function system that includes traction control, launch control, quick-shifter, engine brake control, and power modes.

The electronic gadgetry continues into the engine control area on the ZX-10RR. It starts with a Launch Control Mode that helps you nail your holeshot. Then the Kawi Sport Traction Control takes over to protect the rear contact patch from your enthusiasm at the right grip. There’s a Quick Shifter that lets you work your way both up and down the range without ever touching the slipper-type clutch, and an Engine Brake Control that doubles down on the anti-hop protection at the rear wheel.

All this electronic wizardry comes bundled under the Kawasaki Cornering Management Function that reads vehicle attitude and “knows” when you enter a turn, pass the apex and roll out, and engages the appropriate subsystems as needed. The factory throws in a Power Mode feature with a trio of profiles that let you tune down for civilized roads or spice it up for race days.

As for the mechanical side of it, the four-cylinder mill runs with a 16-valve head that uses DOHC to time the poppets, but that’s only part of the story. The cams act on “finger followers” that pivot on one end and press on the stem at the other with the cams on top in the middle in a bid to save some weight, and the lobes ride on DLC-treated pads for longevity.

For those of you who are actually going to race the “RR”, the factory offers high-rise cams and valve springs, and the heads are ready to plug-and-play with no secondary modifications necessary. The bores mic out at 76 mm with a 55 mm stroke that give it a total displacement of 998 cc and a smokin’ hot 13-to-1 compression ratio. Induction control falls to the quartet of 47 mm throttle bodies that rock dual injectors per bore.

New for this year are the titanium conrods that weigh in 102 grams lighter than their steel counterparts to reduce both the reciprocating mass and the inertial moment of the crankshaft for quicker revs. Power filters through the six-speed transmission to the tune of 84.6 pound-feet of torque at 11 grand and 201 horsepower at 13 grand, and that gets you an approximate top speed of 186 mph (governed).

Engine: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled
Displacement: 998 cc
Bore x Stroke: 76.0 mm x 55.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
Maximum Torque: 84.6 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm
Fuel System: DFI® with 47mm Mikuni throttle bodies (4) with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Transmission: 6-speed, return shift
Final Drive: Sealed chain

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Pricing

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
- image 826443
At $24.9k, price is not a firewall with this model.

Price is not a firewall with this model. The 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR rolls for $24,899, and that puts it well within the means of most wannabe racers out there. Just bear in mind that this is almost a pure-D racebike, and you’d better know what you’re about if you plan to ride one on public roads. In short; this ain’t a machine for the riding public in general.

Electronic Rider Aids: Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), Kawasaki Sport Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki Engine Brake Control, Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) (dual direction), Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF)
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Color: Lime Green
Price: $24,899

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Competitors

2018 - 2019 Aprilia RSV4 RR
- image 833342
2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
- image 826444
Unlike the Ninja, the Aprilia is passenger friendly with a p-pad and fold-up footpegs so you can scare the absolute crap out of a friend.

For my head-to-head, I wanted something from outside the Asian market, and I found myself looking at Europe’s boot for the RSV4 RR from Aprilia. Like the ZX-10RR, it’s made to straddle the line between track and street, but can be set up as a full-on racing machine.

The racing DNA is on full display right out of the box with intake vents in the front fairing that deliver pressurized air to the intake. Mirrors and blinkers are integrated in much the same way as the Ninja, and for the exact same reason. Out back, the rear fender/tagholder/turn signal assembly makes for easy trackday setup as well, and unlike the Ninja, the RSV4 RR is passenger friendly with a p-pad and fold-up footpegs so you can scare the absolute crap out of a friend.

Aprilia takes the chassis adjustability to a new level with an adjustable steering head and swingarm pivot, plus the rear shock comes adjustable for length to give you control over the height of the rear end. Suspension components are a wash as both rides deliver the full spectrum of variables. Power from the four-bangers are likewise neck and neck since the Aprilia measures in with 201 ponies and 84.8 pound-feet of torque, though the RSV4 RR tops out around 180 mph to surrender about 6 mph to the Kawi. If there’s an advantage to be had for the Eye-Tie, it’s at the checkout counter as the Aprilia rolls for $17,499, and that’s a considerable saving over the almost $25k Ninja.

He Said

“Yes indeed sports fans, this is yet another machine to fall under my “not even in the parking lot” category. Honestly, it may as well be a track-only machine since you’ll never do it justice outside a closed-circuit course, and I’ll remind you that it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The “RR” is built to take a beating and that’s the whole point to its existence. The engine has been modified to take higher lift cams and the case is more rigid. Other than a few niceties, that’s the real difference between the “R” and the “RR.””

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled
Displacement: 998 cc
Bore x Stroke: 76.0 mm x 55.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
Maximum Torque: 84.6 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm
Fuel System: DFI® with 47mm Mikuni throttle bodies (4) with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Transmission: 6-speed, return shift
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Chassis:
Frame: Aluminum perimeter
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 43mm inverted Balance Free Fork, adjustable stepless rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability/4.7 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Horizontal back-link with Balance Free gas-charged shock, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload/4.5 in
Rake/Trail: 25.0°/4.2 in
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: 190/55 ZR17
Front Brakes: Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), dual semi-floating 330mm discs with dual radial mounted Brembo® monobloc 4-piston calipers
Rear Brakes: KIBS-controlled, single 220mm disc with aluminum single-piston caliper
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 82.1 in
Overall Width: 29.1 in
Overall Height: 45.1 in
Ground Clearance: 5.7 in
Seat Height: 32.9 in
Curb Weight: 454.2 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Wheelbase: 56.7 in
Top Speed: 186 mph (governed)
Details:
Electronic Rider Aids: Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), Kawasaki Sport Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki Engine Brake Control, Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) (dual direction), Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF)
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Color: Lime Green
Price: $24,899

Further Reading

Aprilia RSV4 RR

2018 - 2019 Aprilia RSV4 RR
- image 833337

See our review of the Aprilia RSV4 RR.

Kawasaki

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 795478

Read more Kawasaki news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: kawasaki.com, aprilia.com

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