Up front, a pair of Showa 43mm USD Big Piston Front forks which allowed big braking action from the 310mm petal discs with 4-piston calipers while retaining the ability to soak up bumps and deliver bags of feedback.
At the back was a ‘horizontally’ mounted shock. Although not actually as horizontal as the name suggested, the shock and the linkages were mounted above the swingarm which helped with mass centralisation. It also kept it away from the heat of the exhaust, preventing inconsistent suspension performance due to temperature changes.
The end result was a bike whose handling harks back to early 90s ZX and ZX-R 750cc WSB bikes where front end stability and feel was top notch and the bike is able to be hauled around effortlessly.
Kawasaki claimed the 2011 ZX-10R produced 197.3bhp at the crankshaft with 82.7ftlb of torque and that’s exactly how it felt to ride. It accelerated hard all the way from low revs to the redline, and that was good news for road users who would do most of their riding well below the limiter.
The engine was all-new for 2011, with a taller stacked gearbox to reduce size and maximise mass centralisation. The cylinders are offset by 2mm to the crank to reduce thrust forces and enable shorter, lighter pistons to be used.
A secondary balancer shaft kept vibes to a minimum until near peak revs. Bigger dual-butterfly injectors ensured the bike kept pulling at high rpm. The Factory installed downpipes were very well made (and good looking) but many owners will have added an aftermarket end can.
The 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R was a reliable and well put together machine. The support-less fairing screen was a great looking addition – albeit a bit short for taller riders. The front brake was much less prone to fade issues after prolonged use than in previous models.
The 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R was launched with a price of £11,699 (plus £1000 for ABS) which made it £1 cheaper than the BMW S1000RR. The Kawasaki has held its value well, but you can find a used 2011-2015 Kawasaki ZX-10R for sale for around £8000.
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You got a ‘horizontally’ mounted rear shock, Showa BPF forks, wavy discs, adjustable footrest height and traction control.
If you went for the ABS model, you also got a Sport ABS mode for the track which made it less intrusive.
In the modern world of TFT dashes, the LED bar graph tachometer looks a little dated, but it stands up compared to other bikes of the same age. The dash had a race mode which displayed different information info for track use too, which was a nice touch.
The ZX-10R’s traction control system was stunning. It relied on front and rear wheel speeds matched to rpm, throttle position, gear selected and other sensors to predict tyre slippage and alter ignition/fuel settings to balance acceleration against loss of traction.
Switchable power modes were changed via bar mounted controls, but greater power delivery could be instantly accessed according to throttle position.