Excitement reaches a new height when sat astride the ZX-10R in rank with fellow trackday riders queuing to be noise tested. Rising engine revs and general trackday banter cause butterflies to backflip deep inside your stomach. Although nervous about going on track, there are no worrries about failing the exhaust noise test. The standard Kawasaki exhaust is perfectly legal.
It doesn't matter whether this is your first trackday or you're a seasoned campaigner, the ZX-10R can accomodate both - and anyone in between. A power mode switch enables the Kawasaki's clever electronics to give three levels of engine performance ti suit track experience. 'F-mode' is the complete package of a claimed 197.3bhp and 82.7ftlb of torque with crisp throttle response; this is the ideal choice for a dry, warm trackday. 'M-mode' gives slightly subdued response, but gives full power if the throttle is opened fully from halfway open. 'L-mode' reduced power output to approximately 60% with subdued throttle response, a setting which is perfect for a wet track.
The ZX-10R also comes with S-KTRC, an acronym for a very clever traction control system. It, too, is a safety aid and also switchable via the left-hand switchgear between four levels.
The inline four-cylinder engine is a responsive and rev-happy unit. Anywhere from 7000-14,000rpm delivers instant thrust - an area of responsive power akin to race bike performance. Turning the throttle at this point sees the bar-graph-style tachometer light up fully and nets a huge smile. Too much throttle at the wrong moment is checked by the S-KTRC traction control system until wheelspin is abated and then it's full speed ahead.
And the ZX-10R is fast. Very fast. With the accleration and top speeds the bike is capable of, long straight sections quickly become short straight sections. This isn't a problem, because the braking can be left a shade later thna the brain believes is the right moment because the radially-mounted Tokico calipers are incredibly sharp and strong - and sensitive enough to allow brief dabs of the lever for reassurance while mid-corner.
Coupled with the Showa BPF (Big Piston Forks) which minimise fork dive but retain the ability to soak up most imperfections, the ZX-10R has arguably one of the most stable front ends of any production bike.
Former WSB champion and MCN guest test rider Neil Hodgson is an instructor at Focused Events trackdays and uses a ZX-10R for instruction work.
"The ZX-10R is a great bike. It's a perfect blend of road and track machine. The way the engine screams and drives out of corners is absolutely amazing, and with the traction control to keep everything safe you can really put in some quick laps."
PCP - An easy way to own a new Kawasaki ZX-10R
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) is an increasingly popular way to buy a new bike, with an affordable deposit and monthly payments over a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the chosen repayment period, you have the following options:
- You can part exchange the ZX-10R for a new one (subject to payment of outstanding finance) or another model
- Pay the outstanding finance and own the ZX-10R
- Or, thirdly, you can simply return the ZX-10R to Kawasaki Finance (provided by Black Horse Ltd)
Of course, nothing in life is simple and PCP is subject to conditions. Maximum annual mileage cannot exceed 6000 miles. A deposit (from 5% of the on-the-road price of the bike) will be required. Also, the dealer will advise you of the Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) of the motorcyce - this is subject to adjustment if the annual mileage is exceeded, the condition of the bike is not typical of a two/three year example, etc.
There are three main benefits of PCP. 1) You can change your motorcycle for a new one every two or three years. 2) your regular payments are fixed. 3) There is a Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) for your motorcycle (subject to conditions).
Example details for ZX-10R at £12,128 on the road cash price
36 monthly payments of : £199
Final payment: £3938
Cash price: £12,128
Amount of credit: £9111.30
Total amount payable: £14,118.70
Credit facility fee: £189
Purchase fee: £10
Duration of agreement: 37 months
Representative APR: 10.2% APR
Interest rate fixed: 8.5%