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.
2004-2005 Kawasaki ZX-10R C used buyers' guide
The original, hardcore ZX-10R took the world by storm. Light at a quoted 170kg dry with an arm-ripping 181bhp according to Kawasaki, it was always going to be lively and attract a certain type of customer. Nick Morgan team owner of MSS racing simply describes the original bike as, “bloody brilliant bike, 160bhp stock, 175bhp with a fettle and a great chassis”. Back in ‘04 it came with radial brakes on petal discs, fully adjustable suspension front and back and digital dash with lap timer. It was aimed at the racy, track day public and proved to be a big hit.
Reknown for head shaking handling when ridden very hard on public roads, most new customers fitted aftermarket steering dampers. Some early models had generator problems which you need to keep an eye on and the wrong tyre pressures or poor tyres can affect scary handling. A trick of the trade was to change the linkage on the 04 ZX-10R to ZX-6 linage, but it’s not recommended by Kawasaki. A cheap way to increase stability is to lengthen the wheelbase, make sure the rear spindle is towards the back of the arm.