September 29, 2007 Demonstrating the company’s total commitment to uncompromising racetrack focus, Kawasaki has revealed their 2008 ZX-10R flagship superbike will feature traction control as standard. The 08 model is a complete overhaul of the model, featuring a new chassis, updated suspension, a reworked engine and new front-end styling.
Kawasaki’s aim with the new 10R was clearly stated at today’s Paris launch – “The new Ninja ZX-10R is more track-oriented than ever before… No compromise has been made to make the ZX-10R the best street-legal production racer ever built.”
The new model’s updated twin-tube frame and 1000cc inline-4 engine were developed in co-operation with Kawasaki’s World Superbike team. Engine refinements should see a slight increase in top-end horsepower, but Kawasaki claim to have found the extra power without sacrificing low-end drive. Suspension has been reworked as well, with the new shock reportedly offering separate high- and low-speed compression adjustability.
The most interesting feature is an ignition management system that adjust ignition timing on the fly to avoid sudden spikes in engine speed. Using a combination of speed, throttle opening and gear position, the ECU decides whether the bike seems to be spinning up the rear in an unwanted fashion, and slows the ignition timing to allow the rear wheel to regain traction before spinning up enough to risk a highside accident. It’s unlikely to make much difference to road riders, but may well provide a good degree of extra confidence on the track.
The 07 model’s ‘friendly frog’ styling has disappeared, replaced by a slimmer, sharper fairing reminiscent of the front-end styling cues of an 06-model Yamaha R1. The conical triangular side-mounted exhaust is reminiscent of Kawasaki’s own 07-model Z1000’s megaphone pipes.
The flagship Ninja will be competing against an all-new Honda Fireblade in 2008, as well as minor update models of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 and Yamaha’s R1.