Get Closer to ZX10R
2016 sees a huge revamp for the Kawasaki ZX10R.
Although chassis remains relatively unchanged (except for a of a small increase in swingarm length and an even smaller decrease in rider to headstock length) which would seem sensible considering the huge success that this bike has had at racing levels, the Kawasaki ZX10R for 2016 has seen enormous changes brought directly from the racing development.
The most noticeable is the first introduction of Showa’s “Balance Free Forks” – this is a first for the utilisation of these race level forks on a mass production motorcycle.
These forks are perfectly complimented by the new Brembo M50 brake callipers that along with the Bosch controlled race ABS system offer the Kawasaki ZX10R the best stopping power in the business.
Both engine and gearbox have been subject to further enhancements with a closer ratio gearbox providing blistering acceleration from what is now a 210BHP engine (with RAM Air).
Electronics on the Kawasaki ZX10R have been further advanced with additional rider aids for getting off the mark, acceleration, cornering and stopping.
The installation of the Bosch Inertial measurement unit has allowed for the measurement of movement across 6 axes. Information from this unit is fed to the ECU for the control of both engine and chassis management. Faster processing systems allow for all of these controls to be delivered when required. The traction control system which is now 5 way adjustable has been further refined.
All in all the Kawasaki ZX10R for 2016 is the closest thing to getting on a race superbike that has ever gone in to mass production.
Balance Free Showa Forks
WSB-Developed Balance Free Front Fork – Damping force is generated outside of the main tube (in the Damping Force Chamber). This allows the whole surface of the main piston to act as a pump, pushing oil towards the valves. This arrangement also helps to suppress pressure balance fluctuations (which can cause cavitation) as a result of fork compression and extension.
External Compression Chamber containing pressurised nitrogen gas helps to manage the pressure increases in the Damping Force Chamber, enabling very stable pressure increases, which ensures consistent damping force generation.
Compression and rebound damping are generated (and adjusted) completely independently from one another. This hydraulic circuit design does not generate the pressure balance fluctuations typical of conventional damping systems. This, and concentrating the damping force generation mechanism outside the cylinder, makes it possible to achieve smooth, optimum oil flows.
BFRC Lite Rear Shock
Showa’s new BFRC lite rear shock is a lighter, more compact version of their ealier BFRC shock. The high-spec shock unit offers numerous benefits:
- Increased ride comfort
- Increased traction
- Independently adjustable compression and rebound damping
- Reduced weight
Horizontal Back-link rear suspension
This rear suspension arrangement offers excellent performance while contributing to mass centralisation. Revised linkage ratios offer a more linear feeling, which makes suspension adjustments easier to feel.
High-performance Brembo Brake System
Dual high-spec Brembo M50 monobloc calipers gripping larger ø330 mm discs, specially prepared radial-pump master cylinder and race-quality steel-braided lines deliver next-level braking performance.
Kawasaki developed KIBS to take into account the particular handling characteristics of supersport motorcycles, ensuring highly efficient braking with minimal intrusion during hard sport riding. It is the first mass-production brake system to link the ABS ECU (Electronic Control Unit) and engine ECU.
In addition front and rear wheel speed, KIBS monitors front brake caliper hydraulic pressure, throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and gear position. This diverse information is analysed to determine the ideal front brake hydraulic pressure. Through precise control, the large drops in hydraulic pressure seen on standard ABS systems can be avoided. Additionally, the tendency on supersport models for the rear wheel to lift under heavy braking can be suppressed and rear brake controllability can be maintained when downshifting.
The Kawasaki Engine Brake Control system allows riders to select the amount of engine braking they prefer. When the system is activated, the engine braking effect is reduced, providing less interference when riding on the circuit.
Power Modes allow available power and throttle response to be selected to suit conditions. On the supersport Ninja ZX-10R, three modes are available: Full, Low (which limits power to about 60% of Full) and Middle mode, which falls between the two.
More than a simply bisecting the Full and Low mode power curves, in Middle mode performance characteristics vary depending on engine speed and throttle position. At less than 50% throttle application, engine performance is essentially the same as in Low mode. However, opening the throttle past 50% allows performance up to that of Full power to be accessed. This advanced engine management system allows mild engine character for normal riding situations, with the option to tap into greater power for a quick burst of acceleration.
Variable Middle Mode offers riders the ability to alter engine performance and delivery by conscious use of throttle control (either for ease of control when riding in the city, or for greater response when the rider calls for quick acceleration). This kind of technology allows supersport machines to be enjoyed in a broader range of situations.
Kawasaki's original predictive traction control, uses the same base technology as the Kawasaki works machines that competed in MotoGP, the pinnacle of motorcycle racing. This technology continually controls the rear wheel slip that occurs when power is applied, ensuring optimal acceleration. In general, maximum forward drive requires a certain amount of slip (usually between 20-30% slip ratio, i.e. the rear wheel is turning 20-30% faster than the front). To ensure the most effective transfer of power to the tarmac, S-KTRC monitors the slip ratio in real time, and governs engine power delivery to optimise rear wheel traction.
S-KTRC monitors a number of parameters, including front and rear wheel speed, engine rpm and throttle position. Conditions are confirmed every 5 milliseconds, at which time the system looks at each of the parameters as well has how much they are changing (i.e. their rate of change). This unique Kawasaki method makes it possible to interpolate and predict how the bike will behave in the next instant.
Unlike 1-mode KTRC, which cuts power as soon as rear slip is detected to allow rear traction to be regained, S-KTRC uses minimal power drops to ensure the slip ratio for optimal traction is maintained. Because its goal is to maximise acceleration, as long as sufficient forward motion is observed, this sport riding system will allow power wheelies as the bike comes out of corners.
IMU – Inertial Measurement Unit
IMU means Enhanced Chassis Orientation Awareness. The strength of Kawasaki’s cutting-edge electronics has always been the highly sophisticated programming that, using minimal hardware, gives the ECU an accurate real-time picture of what the chassis is doing. Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program makes skillful use of the magic formula tyre model as it examines changes in multiple parameters, enabling it to take into account changing road and tyre conditions.
The addition of an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) enables inertia along 6 DOF (degrees of freedom) to be monitored. Acceleration along longitudinal, transverse and vertical axes, plus roll rate and pitch rate are measured. The yaw rate is calculated by the ECU. This additional feedback contributes to an even clearer real-time picture of chassis orientation, enabling even more precise management for control at the limit.
With the addition of the IMU and the latest evolution of Kawasaki’s advanced modelling software, Kawasaki’s electronic engine and chassis management technology takes the step to the next level – changing from setting-type and reaction-type systems to feedback-type systems – to deliver even greater levels of riding excitement.
Cornering Management Function
Feedback from the IMU enables the addition of a new function. The new cornering management function uses KIBS and S-KTRC to assist riders in tracing their intended line through the corner.
Electronic Steering Damper
Specially developed Öhlins electronic steering damper provides just the right amount of damping based on vehicle speed and degree of acceleration or deceleration. Revised settings were optimised for the racetrack and winding roads.
Electronic Throttle Valves
Kawasaki’s fully electronic throttle actuation system enables the ECU to control the volume of both the fuel (via fuel injectors) and the air (via throttle valves) delivered to the engine. Ideal fuel injection and throttle valve position results in smooth, natural engine response and the ideal engine output. The system also makes a significant contribution to reduced emissions.
Electronic throttle valves also enable more precise control of electronic engine management systems like S-KTRC and KTRC, and allow the implementation of electronic systems like KLCM, Kawasaki Engine Brake Control, and Cruise Control.
Economical Riding Indicator
Using high-precision electronic control for engine management, Kawasaki models can achieve a high level of fuel efficiency. However, fuel consumption is greatly affected by throttle use, gear selection, and other elements under the rider's control. The Economical Riding Indicator is a function that indicates when current riding conditions are consuming a low amount of fuel. The system continuously monitors fuel consumption, regardless of vehicle speed, engine speed, throttle position and other riding conditions. When fuel consumption is low for a given speed (i.e. fuel efficiency is high), an "ECO" mark appears on the instrument panel's LCD screen. By riding so that the "ECO" mark remains on, fuel consumption can be reduced.
While effective vehicle speed and engine speed may vary by model, paying attention to conditions that cause the "ECO" mark to appear can help riders improve their fuel efficiency – a handy way to increase cruising range. Further, keeping fuel consumption low also helps minimise negative impact on the environment.
Engine – 4-stroke In-line Four
All-new in 2011, the Ninja ZX-10R’s engine balanced stunning power with manageability, and facilitated getting back on the gas by moving peak torque higher up in the rpm range. The new engine maintains this essential character, but offers a stronger low-mid range for increased acceleration coming out of corners.
The engine is also more responsive, spinning up more quickly thanks to a crankshaft with a lower moment of inertia – something that benefits both acceleration and deceleration, as well as cornering performance.
Numerous other changes based on feedback from Kawasaki’s World Superbike factory race machine as well as ongoing development research contribute to increased power, ensuring that the engine’s peak power output was maintained while stricter Euro 4 emissions
regulations were cleared.
Heat-resistant titanium header pipes and silencer contribute to performance, long-lasting durability, light weight and mass centralisation.