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Kawasaki ZX-10R Sports Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

The Kawasaki ZX-10R is sold as the ultimate track bike – the 2004/05 ZX-10R was one of Kawasaki’s first machines after the firm gave itself a kick up the arse in 2002. The 10R’s one wild ride and an absolute weapon in experienced hands. It’s light, makes massive power and handles superbly on the track –a bit of a handful on the road though.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Kawasaki ZX-10R's 181 bhp is never going to be anything other than a rush that drugs can’t match. It can’t quite match the GSX-R for low down drive but get the revs up and the 10R’s hard to fault. It’s civilized and flexible enough at lower revs to make pottering a possibility too – although that’s really not what the bike’s all about.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Kawasaki ZX-10R is effortless and precise. As easy to chuck about as a 600 and pretty stable regardless of whether you’re easing round a damp roundabout or hurling it reet over on a track day or race. Like all modern sports bikes it can be twitchy and isn’t for the inexperienced. Brakes are incredibly strong too.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZX-10R is minimal but not without a few extras. There’s a shift light which you can set to remind you when to change gear. Instrument cluster which is shared with several other Kawasakis can appear unclear to some – the LCD rev counter sweeps round the edge and isn’t as obvious as an old-fashioned needle gauge.

Click here for the 10 best parts for the Kawasaki ZX-10R, as recommended by real owners at ZX-10R.net.

Kawasaki ZX-10R (2004-2005)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£3,950 (2004) - £4,440 (2005)
Private used prices
£3,700 (2005) - £4,310 (2004)
  View full used price info
Engine size 998 cc
Power 181 bhp
Top speed 180 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The ‘big four’ Japanese marques all produce pretty solid bikes these days and Kawasaki is no longer a league behind Honda. That said fasteners, brake hose connections, wheels, brackets and brake calipers can suffer if used in winter. No major reliability problems have shown up yet.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Kawasaki ZX-10R is always good value next to a used FireBlade. Discounts on new bikes are keeping used values on machines like this pretty reasonable. Insurance isn’t cheap so get a quote before you buy. Major servicing and tyre wear’s not for paupers either. But all rivals are the same – except the Italians which are more expensive. Find a Kawasaki ZX-10R for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

2004: Kawasaki ZX-10R launched.
2006: Replaced by completely revamped model.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 180 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.7 secs
Max power 181 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Weight 170 kg
Seat height 825 mm
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 141 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 998 cc
Engine specification 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Front brakes Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

See all Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycles for sale

Kawasaki
ZX-10R

8920 miles

£3,991

Kawasaki
ZX-10R

13127 miles

£4,491

Kawasaki
ZX-10R

12161 miles

£4,891

Kawasaki
ZX-10R

4181 miles

£6,791

Kawasaki
ZX-10R

6524 miles

£5,795

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(5 reviews)

  • What a machine

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Fantastic superbike and great value. Three years ago after having a go on a friends 08 model I had to trade up to one. I went looking for zx10s and plumped for a mint C1 (thought 06/07 was ugly). How glad am I. It feels raw like a race bike, you can really feel the road, the air screams in the box and you're totally involved in the whole riding experience. Newer superbikes will get you round a race track tenths quicker, but you'll have so much more fun. As journos have mentioned it does need respect, but only in the top half of the tacho. It's a great road bike and not restricted to the track. You can also ride it slowly as it's a real pussy cat. I'm 6'2" but still find it comfortable, can potter through town and have toured Europe only having a little discomfort on long motorway stints. The bike has been 100% reliable the finish has surprised me, being really good and par with my Honda before. It does like tyres and my mechanic says it's a pig to work on, but they are the only downsides. Really struggled with what to replace it with but fate interferred and due to a neck injury I've now joined the sit up and beg brigade, getting a sensible Superduke! This is a great bike but I preferred my 10. Go on, get yourself one, you won't regret it.

    16 November 2011

  • durability issues.

    greg heffinger

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
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    Engine

    Love my 05 zx10. Got it because it was closest thing to a GP bike for street. !3,00 miles on it now and only problem is lower case cracking. had it fixed by kawisaki 1.5 urs ago, cost 4,500 buks. Now it looks like it has done it again. They said it has weak spot in case right above the water pump. it cracks right where a bolt hole is and oozes oil. Small amount but any is too much. Kawasaki corp accused me of rough riding and refused to pay at 1st. I ride curves and wheelies, no drag strip or stetched BS. I love this bike and treat it like my kids but I cant see keeping it if i keep having this issue. Taking it to get it looked at sat-6-13-09. maybe they will fix again. if not they can have it and am done with kawasaki. Only bike I have ever owned and think they have engineering issues with the lower motor casing. Any repies would be appreciated.

    11 June 2009

  • ZX-10r

    HF_ZX10r

    UK

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I love this machine to bits. The seating position is excellent for my 5ft 10" frame. The power deliver is smooth and abundant till around 6000 revs, that's when the demons from hell really get out of their cage. Crack the throttle open too quickly and the front wheel will be heading skyward in most gears. It's nibble and efficient at what it was designed to do on the track. It's also reliable and smooth around town. However you'll need to give it a little respect or you'll be in a lot of trouble really quickly. The only bike you'll ever need!

    22 January 2008

  • ZX10R

    Sham

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    What a beautiful, amazing bike. Performace is great with enough power to do whatever you want. It's a shame Kawasaki ruined the looks of the bike with the updated version because the 2004 model looks better than the new one. In 18 months I've covered over 12,000 miles, been through several sets of tires and have enjoyed everthing about the bike. Servicing costs a fair bit but there are far less ZX10R's on the road than R1s, Fireblades and GSXR1000's so you feel unique and happy.

    03 March 2007

  • march 2004 blue not reliability

    jana

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Great bike covered 17000 in just over a year spent over 3000 pounds no goodies. Strengths: Engine. Weaknesses: The cluth has broken twice and now will not start now in shop now to find problem.

    17 January 2006

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streethawk14

streethawk14says

2005 10r durability issues

just purchased 2005 10r as a second bike.On the pre delivery service they noticed a small oil leak from clutch cover,it was found to be cracked.Dealer reply,on some not all 05 bikes the dowel behind clutch cover can be a tight fit and put pressure on the cover over time and crack it.Care when fitting cover needed.If this is the case then some bikes must of had this issue when assembled in the factory.anyway this is being put right by dealer at no cost to me.My concern will this happen again,dealer said it is unlikely,heres hoping.Bike has done approx 13000 miles,anybody else had this problem.

02 July 2009 13:27

minezx9

User's Badge

minezx9says

A race bike on the road

I moved from a an 02 ZX9R in August last year to an 05 ZXIOR. It was also a natural progression for me as i'm a bit of a loyal follower of the brand. And what a rude, glorious awakening i got.This is one fast fast motorcycle.It is a highly tuned precision instrument that demands total respect and really lets you know your alive. I always chuckle at journalists comments of "not so easy to live with on the road" and not so forgiving, a bit nervous  etc etc. If you want a bike to be these things then don't buy a ZX10.It's not what Kawasaki engineers had in their design brief when creating a superbike. I thought that specs like MotoGP derived chassis and 600 dimensions would have been the dead giveaway signs.   Superbikes should be about frying your brain with their speed, power, handling and sheer presence and giving you the biggest adrenalin rush imaginable. Yes and even a little scary at times. Isn't that what we buy them for? With these neccessary ingredients for making a superbike in place. Kawasaki created the ZX10C1/2. For me my ZX10 does exactly what it says on the tin.

09 January 2009 11:17

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