Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 3rd September 2018

Kawasaki has unveiled an updated version of its flagship Ninja ZX-10R superbike, with three versions designed to keep it at the front of the pack in both the showrooms and on the racetrack.

All versions, the standard ZX-10R, the ZX-10R SE and the ZX-10RR, feature a revised engine with a redesigned cylinder head and the adoption of ‘finger-follower’ valve actuation, which reduces the valve train mass by 20%. The new head gives more revs, which in turn sees power boosted by 3bhp over the old model. The new ZX-10R and ZX-10R SE are claimed to deliver 203PS (200bhp), while the limited edition ZX-10RR receives lightweight Pankl titanium conrods, saving 400g and allowing for 600 more rpm. Just 500 ZX-10RR models will be made available for sale worldwide, with most destined for the racetrack. The small but important changes on the single seat ZX-10RR will benefit the many race teams running Kawasakis in superstock and superbike competitions, including the factory KRT World Superbike squad of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, who will be facing a renewed challenge from Ducati, with their soon to be launched 1000cc Panigale V4 racer.

Other than the changes to the cylinder head, upgrades to the 2019 ZX-10Rs are largely few and far between. Cosmetically, there are some revised graphics and improved finishes, while the cam covers receive a blast of red paint to denote the latest valve train technology.

The base model again features Brembo brakes and Showa balance free forks, while the SE version adds electronic suspension and lightweight Marchesini wheels. The ZX-10RR runs the mechanical suspension but with the lighter wheels and upgraded engine. All 2019 ZX-10Rs also come with a ‘dual direction’ quickshifter, which will allow clutchless gear changes both up and down the gearbox.

No details are available yet regarding the prices or availability of the new Ninjas, but expect to see them live in the metal at November’s Motorcycle Live show, at Birmingham’s NEC.