The new Kawasaki ZX-10R scored an easy five out of five; it was surely the fastest production 1000cc bike of its generation. But this ZX-10R was not all about Kawasaki’s new blistering engine and head-banging attitude, it’s controllable and handled much better than its predecessor. And despite the blistering pace it was actually easier to ride, too. Not for the faint hearted, the 2008 ZX-10R was a true superbike for the road.
Owners often changed the gearing to give the bike even more of a kick and address the fact that the stock gearing was a bit too tall. You can either go down one tooth on the front sprocket or up three teeth on the rear.
Sprockets from AFAM, Vortex or Renthal, with chains from either DID or EK (specifically the EK MVXZ chain with optional zero stretch technology) were popular. A speedohealer is also a good idea to make sure your speedo still reads right.
2008-2010 Kawasaki ZX-10R E
Back to form with the ’08 model. Power and torque was up with a higher compression ratio (Kawasaki were quoting close to 200bhp with ram air). Nick Morgan says: “Our superstock bikes were pushing 185bhp or thereabouts and we could easily go to 200bhp with a tune if we needed to. They were a really quick bike and reliable, they could take a thrashing.”
Styling was aggressive as was the handling, but it wasn’t slap happy as the wheelbase had been lengthened and rake had been stretched. The engine was also lower in the chassis which gave it greater stability. Compared to the competition it lacked midrange and usable real world torque but on the track it was a weapon, and won back to back track roads tests against the competition. Early models had a recall for a faulty regulator rectifier which was done by Kawasaki, so make sure yours had been changed.