All Tests – Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Test: weaker for 2016 – Kawasaki at the top of the WSBK … and sales?

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R test: sweeter for 2016

All Tests - Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Test: weaker for 2016 - Kawasaki at the top of the WSBK ... and sales?

To stay at the top of the Superbike category after its first WSBK constructor title, Kawasaki is launching a deeply revamped 2016 Ninja ZX-10R that Site was able to test on the Sepang circuit (Malaysia). Try: on the attack !

Kawasaki at the top of the WSBK … and sales ?

For 2016, the new ZX-10R is indeed adorned with new brakes: at the front, 330 mm discs (all round and more serrated) are clamped by Brembo monobloc calipers (reference M50). The Japanese woman is as well rounded as the (top) Italian models! "Very often to fight in front, you have to use the equipment of the winners", observes Marcel Duinker…

We note in passing that Kawasaki had the good idea to equip the rims of its Ninja with elbow valves which greatly facilitate tire inflation! No more excuse to drive with under-inflated tires on the road or poorly adjusted on the track !

Despite its "aviation" type hoses, the Kawasaki offers less biting braking than its close rivals Ducati or Aprilia. But this weak point on the circuit turns into a strong point when driving on the road and in town. It’s up to you, depending on the program !

If the braking attack is not exaggerated on the Ninja 2016, the dosage turns out to be very good and the power is excellent … as long as you don’t drive at Sepang? The Malaysian circuit has indeed allowed us to see the limits of the new system..

With two consecutive brakes at 260 then 270 km / h and two other heavy braking at each end of the circuit (at turn 4 Langkawi and hairpin 9 Berjaya Tioman), Sepang does not give the brakes much respite..

Thus, at the end of each session, Site feels that the Ninja begins to feel fatigue and brakes less hard than at the very beginning of the ride. Far from being dangerous – very far, even – the Kawasaki then requires a little care on this precise point.

On other circuits and in our latitudes, the endurance of the ZX-10R will undoubtedly be less undermined. Our test conditions were very demanding … But future customers will be just as demanding. MNC must therefore point out this weak point to them..

Let us recall at the same time that the KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Break System) is still present on the Ninja. Thanks to it, the novice has no risk of sweeping the track of the rear wheel, even when braking like a deaf person. The expert can disconnect it at the rear and even at the front, on the circuit only and on condition of having the key provided in the Racing Kit.

"The Bosch power plant that equips the ZX-10R 2016 is much more compact, and therefore more expensive, than the model on board the R1 2015", again tells us the father of Kawa. For him, it is a question of priority:"Yamaha had to spend 3 million euros to develop the TFT board and necessarily had to pull the prices on other elements".

Matsuda San recognizes that the Yamaha screen "looks great and makes a big impression at trade shows, but I find it not the most practical on the road or on the track". Site abounds in its meaning.

On the ZX-10R, MNC particularly appreciated the tachometer LEDs, which are all the more visible as they are reflected in the bubble: very practical on the track! As well as the special circuit display mode which highlights the gear indicator light and suppresses the speed, so as not to distract the pilot … or frighten the unlikely passenger ?!

We do not note any change compared to the dashboard of the old vintage, except the appearance of new mentions such as the engine brake (KEBS) or the starting aid (KLCM) that MNC has unfortunately not had time to try.

Advanced braking, exclusive suspensions

In terms of suspensions, however, Kawasaki has completely updated its Superbike, while obviously remaining faithful to its exclusive partner in the world championship, Showa, while all the other teams use Ohlins. Like what ultimately, standing out sometimes allows you to win !

Praised by Jonathan Rea the day after his coronation – at the same time as the two electronics managers within the KRT (read our) – the unique partnership with the Japanese manufacturer resulted in the creation of a new fork.

"This new mass-produced model is very close to the one used in World Superbike", assures MNC the Showa manager present in the stands:"the principle is the same, but the road model has a mechanism designed to operate for a very long time without maintenance and in all conditions".

"This new fork benefits from our "Balance Free" technology which dissociates the work and the settings of compression and rebound.", continues our interlocutor."The rear shock absorber already benefited from it in the past, but it landed in 2016 in a "lite" version (smaller, Editor’s note)".

The ZX-10R Development Project Leader believes that these latest generation Showa suspensions allow the Kawasaki to dominate its main rivals. "The BMW is more agile", recognizes Matsuda San, but"it lacked stability during our comparative tests".

The Japanese boss has to admit that his compatriots and fellow Yamaha have achieved a skilful balance with their own motorcycle, but claims his Ninja does a little better. Too bad Kawasaki has not made an R1 available to journalists, because without it, MNC is unfortunately unable to give a formal ruling despite our tests on then on …

On the other hand, Le Journal moto du Net can affirm that the new ZX-10R offers a very appreciable compromise on the Sepang circuit, consisting of large, fast curves and much slower and brittle pins..

If the fork sinks a little too generously on the – very – heavy braking of the two straights, it behaves wonderfully on the rest of the route. Including in the long curve n ° 5 on a slope, blind and slightly bumpy (!) Where the front axle gives a lot of confidence.

The turns n ° 11 and n ° 13 are two other very interesting spots because they oblige to brake late on the angle. In the end, this does not pose any problem, the Ninja perfectly resisting the demands of its pilot and impeccably erasing the imperfections of the tarmac, including a few fittings..

At the exit of the curve, as we have seen previously, the electronics of the Kawasaki fully convince. It should be noted that its work seems particularly facilitated by the new swingarm (reinforced and lengthened), by the new shock absorber … and by the impressive grip of the V02s !

Renewed on all fronts (engine, electronics, braking and suspension), the ZX-10R also evolves aesthetically, but smoothly. "We considered that it was not useful to completely remodel it", Matsuda San explains to Site.

"Other manufacturers had an interest in changing recently, we did not", he believes."We have a heritage of over 30 years to respect and our bike is a world champion: in terms of image, that matters a lot".

The Kawasakists who had melted in front of the photomontages of our Japanese colleagues are green, but those who consider that the designers of the Akashi brand sometimes let go a little too much (on the Versys or the Z) are reassured…

The Ninja therefore retains its distinctive face. Its rear is a little less so and from a distance resembles that of an RSV4, but larger. We are also surprised to discover that the storage space accessible under the passenger seat – under the backrest! – is monopolized by the small tool kit.

The future French owners of Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016 will therefore have to find another place to carry their yellow vest, mandatory to be able to hit the road at the controls of their 200 horsepower motorcycle! The problem will not arise on models equipped with the Racing Kit…

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