2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R - what's new?

Pretty much all of it, actually

UPDATES to Kawasaki's 2016 ZX-10R may not leap out at you but in fact it's a technical tour de force, and almost everything about it is new. 

Here’s an overview of all the tech and gadgets on the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R.


Re-engineered and fully Euro4 compliant. Even with a new catalytic converter 2.6 times larger than the 2015 bike's, power remains a claimed 200hp at the crank.

  • Lighter crank has 20% less inertia, meaning the rev pick-up is faster. Most importantly, it aids handling, making the bike far more 'flickable' with the lower gyroscopic effect from the high revving engine.

  • Lighter pistons, lighter balancer and lighter primary gear all aid the lower inertia too.

  • Larger titanium exhaust valves married to cams give a broader overlap, aid breathing and contribute to peak power in the high rev zone.

  • Huge 25% increase to air-box volume with a free flowing air filter that is 1.6 times bigger and offers 40% less resistance to air flow.

  • New high-grade titanium alloy headers and silencer.

  • New 32-bit ECU controlled 'fly by wire' electronic throttle valves.


It’s something of a shame that the 2016 ZX-10R doesn’t come with an auto-blipping clutchless downshifter as standard but the functionality is built into the bike. You just need to fit the race kit to activate it. Third gear is now where second was on the previous 2011 ZX-10R model, for improved drive.

  • Quick-shifter fitted as standard (up-shift only – race kit required for downshift).

  • New closer-ratio gearbox. Second and third gears lowered (second gear approximately half-way between 2015 model's first and second ratios) give massive punch out of corners. Sixth gear is also slightly lower to keep the drive at maximum level.

  • With the improved mid-range of the engine and closer second and third gears, drive out of corners is immense.


This is Kawasaki’s most complete and advanced electronics package ever. Already very highly regarded, the ZX-10R's traction control system for 2016 steps up to another level thanks to Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program and inertial measurement unit (IMU). It's not quite full-on cornering ABS but the system does calibrate lean angle and brake pressure and ‘releases' the brakes to prevent you from ‘standing up’ mid-corner and running on or, worse, low-siding.

  • The Bosch IMU complements Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program to determine precise chassis orientation

  • Cornering management function assists riders in tracing their intended line through the corner


The suspension was developed with KRT partner Showa and this is its first appearance on a production bike. Showa’s advanced 43mm 'balance free' fork brings WSB racing technology to a mass-production model. It's said to offer:

  • increased ride comfort

  • increased braking stability

  • increased front-end feel

  • independently adjustable compression and rebound damping.

Damping force is generated outside of the main tube (in the damping force chamber). This allows the whole surface of the main piston to act as a pump, pushing oil towards the valves.

Compression and rebound damping are generated (and adjusted) completely independently from one another and give improved damping force responsiveness (compared to a conventional fork). This results in superb traction and absorption performance.

Geometry of the bike is changed too. The forks are closer by 7.5mm, effectively making the front end 'shorter', placing more weight over the front tyre and improving feedback to the rider. Overall the wheelbase is longer thanks to a new longer and stiffer swingarm that is matched with a new suspension linkage and Showa 'balance free' shock.

With the race kit, riders now have the opportunity to change the fork position (+/- 4mm forward or backwards) and swing-arm pivot (+/- 2mm up or down) for track conditions and layout.

Did you know that the wheels, although 'only' aluminium alloy, are 400g lighter than the R1's magnesium wheels?


To further improve the Ninja ZX-10R’s corner entry performance on the circuit, a high-spec Brembo front brake system comes as standard. The Brembo system – very similar to that used on the Ninja H2R – features a radial pump master cylinder, high-grade stainless steel braided brake hoses and huge 330mm semi-floating discs (up from 310mm on the 2015 ZX10R). With Brembo M50 cast aluminium monobloc callipers, you have the highest-spec brake system available on a mass production motorcycle.

Additional tuning at the Brembo factory ensures that all play has been removed from the system, so that when the brakes are called for, they respond immediately.

Acronym buster

As with all modern bikes, especially superbikes, the new ZX-10R comes loaded with acronyms. Helpfully, each manufacturer calls their system something entirely different to the next, with no industry-wide continuity. Here’s a breakdown Kawasaki's acronyms for the new ZX-10R.

NEW S-KTRC (Sport-Kawasaki TRaction Control)

Hybrid predictive/feedback-type evolution of the highly sophisticated traction control system helps riders push harder by maximising acceleration. Five modes enable expert riders to get even more serious enjoyment on the circuit.

NEW KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode)

Threee-mode system designed to help racers optimise acceleration from a launch by managing engine output to prevent wheel spin and minimise wheelies.

NEW KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System)

Kawasaki’s supersport-grade high-precision multi-sensing brake management system modulates brake pressure during sport riding.

NEW Kawasaki Engine Brake Control

  • Facilitates smooth corner entry on the track. This system allows riders to set engine braking according to preference.

NEW Öhlins Electronic Steering Damper

  • Settings optimised for the racetrack and winding roads

NEW Cornering management function (ABS only)

Input from the new IMU enables a new control function: cornering management, which assists riders in tracing their intended line through the corner.

Specs: 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R

Engine: 998cc Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke inline four, DOHC, 16-valve

Bore & Stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm

Compression ratio: 13.0:1

Claimed power: 207hp @ 13,000rpm (with ram air effect)

Claimed torque: 84ftlb @ 11,500rpm

Frame: Twin spar, cast aluminium

Front tyre: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)

Rear tyre: 190/55ZR17M/C (75W)

Front Suspension: 43 mm inverted Balance Free Front Fork with external compression chamber, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out springs

Rear suspension: Horizontal Back-link with BFRC lite gas-charged shock, piggyback reservoir, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out spring

Front brakes: Dual semi-floating 330 mm discs, dual radial-mount Brembo M50 monobloc calipers

Rear brakes: Single 220 mm disc, single-bore pin-slide, aluminium piston

Wheelbase: 1440mm

Seat height: 835mm

Kerb mass: 206kg (with ABS)

Fuel capacity: 17 litres




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