Long term update: Can I ‘Un-Euro 4’ the ZX-10R?
For 2017 new bikes will have to be Euro 4 compliant – cleaner and more efficient. It’s the reason so many manufacturers have compliant bikes this year and we’ll see even more rolled out at the bike shows this autumn.
Euro 4 is the reason the new Ducati’s baby Panigale has spouted ugly pipes and why the new Kawasaki ZX-10R is 8kg heavier and doesn’t have the bottom-end power it was designed to produce.
Luckily you don’t notice any of this on the road. I’m running the KRT Replica Kawasaki in at the moment and it feels great. It has lots of power, a smooth throttle response, beautiful steering and exceptional traction and wheelie control. And unlike the Yamaha R1 I ran last year it has a seat and clip-ons that don’t try and torture you.
So far, so good but when you compare the ZX-10R to its superbike rivals in the unforgiving arena of an MCN group test the Kawasaki doesn’t shine as brightly. With long gearing, a peaky motor and extra bulk it’s not as fast on track and on the road the new ‘brake-by-wire’ ABS system lacks feel and power, too. That’s no surprise as the brake hoses have to do a few laps of the bike via the ABS control unit on their journey from lever to caliper. For a taller rider like me the pegs are set quite high and the screen too low.
It shouldn’t take much to undo the Eurocrats’ handy work and I plan to get rid of that Euro 4 fat cat exhaust and replace it with something lighter and freer flowing. When we put our ZX-10R test bike on the dyno for our 1000s test it made 191bhp at the rear wheel – 10bhp up on the previous model.
Alter the mapping to give it the power curve it was originally born with and we could be knocking on the door of 200bhp and a stronger bottom end.I also need to find a way of disconnecting the ABS for trackdays, to see if braking feel and power can be improved.
Fitting a taller screen and rearsets should also give me a bit more comfort when I ride the Kawasaki through Europe on my summer holidays. But in the meantime I’ve started the ball rolling by fitting a set of anodised aluminium bobbins from R&G (£25), so I can use my pad dock stand for cleaning duties.