Kawasaki offers a large selection of its high-performance motorcycles in India through the CKD and the CBU route. Two of its hottest CBU offerings, the Ninja ZX-10R, which is Kawasaki’s premier litre-class sportsbike and the company’s big hyper-tourer, the Ninja ZX-14R, have recently been heavily updated for 2016 and these new bikes have finally landed in India. Surprisingly, the prices for the two bikes haven’t gone up by that much compared to the original launch prices announced two and a half years back. The list of changes on both bikes is quite long. Let's find out what’s new for 2016.
On the outside, the 2016 ZX-10R might look like it received a mere facelift, but it’s pretty much a whole new bike underneath. Derived from Kawasaki’s WSBK Championship programme, one of the biggest additions on the new 10R is a new front and rear suspension system by Showa. Dubbed the Balance Free Front Fork and Balance Free Rear Cushion, this system handles damping duties in an external reservoir which helps absorb bumps better and provides better traction. Apart from that, the front end also gets new Brembo mono-bloc calipers with larger and thicker semi-floating brake rotors, and a radial master cylinder, improving the bike’s braking by a large margin. Even the electronics suite sees a host of improvements which include a Bosch 5-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) capable of compiling data from six degrees of movement, which combined with data from the wheel speed sensors, allows the ECU to provide a high level of stability in any condition. There are five different riding modes as well as a launch control system, engine braking control and a quickshifter.
The 998cc, four-cylinder motor which makes nearly 200bhp retains its power output, but gets a lighter crankshaft to help the engine rev faster, shorter pistons with revised crowns, and titanium intake and exhaust valves. There are many other internal engine changes such as newly designed intake ports, exhaust ports, larger diameter exhaust valves, lighter balancer, new material used on connecting rod bearing, to name a few. There is also a new throttle-by-wire system for more efficient ECU control on the engine while accelerating or decelerating. The cooling system has also been revised with larger coolant passages and better routing, along with an updated exhaust system to qualify for Euro-IV emissions norms. Externally, there is a revised cowl design that cuts through the air better and provides improved wind protection.
The ZX-10R’s chassis also has seen a few modifications with the steering head being moved back by 7.5mm to increase load on the front tyre for better cornering control, while to maintain stability, the swingarm has been lengthened by 15.8mm to offset the change in wheelbase that the new steering head has brought about. Basically, a whole bunch of things that Kawasaki learned on the racetrack has now been applied to the road-going ZX-10R.
The motor on this larger Ninja is practically unchanged. But the biggest addition to the 14R for 2016 has been the inclusion of Brembo mono-bloc calipers for the front brakes as standard. At the rear, the bike gets a new Ohlins suspension unit, which not only provides improved comfort and ride feel, but also packs a remote adjustor that makes it easier to adjust preload by hand. There are some big changes in ergonomics which include handlebars which are now 13.2mm higher, 13.3mm closer and handlebar grips which are 16.8mm wider to make it more comfortable for more average-sized riders. A new seat design, which Kawasaki calls “Gunfighter Seat,” is now more comfortable than before and provides better hip support during hard acceleration. Other minor changes include a new contactless gear position indicator, a stainless steel braided clutch line as well as a Euro-IV compliant exhaust system and ECU maps.
The 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is priced at Rs 16.4 lakh, while the Ninja ZX-14R comes in at Rs 17.9 lakh (both prices, ex-showroom Delhi).