KAWASAKI ZX-10R (2004-2005) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"One wild ride and an absolute weapon in experienced hands"

Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding

"One wild ride and an absolute weapon in experienced hands"

  • At a glance
  • 998cc  -  181 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  141 miles range
  • Medium seat height (825mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 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.

Engine 4 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 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 & Running Costs 4 out of 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 group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-10R (2004-2005) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

What a machine

16 November 2011 by Anonymous

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

durability issues.

11 June 2009 by godshand69

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

ZX-10r

22 January 2008 by HF_ZX10r

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... Read more 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!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

ZX10R

03 March 2007 by Sham

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

march 2004 blue not reliability

17 January 2006 by jana

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. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 181 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Top speed 180 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.7 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 141 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 170kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

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

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R motorcycle review - Riding
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