Today Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., announced that it will be offering a high-end SE model to its ZX-10R line, joining the ZX-10R ABS KRT edition ($16,399) and ZX-10RR ($18,899). This new SE ($21,899) takes the RR’s premium components like forged-aluminum Marchesini wheels and an updated KQS up-and-down quickshifter and adds semi-active electronic suspension.

The Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) system automatically adjusts suspension damping depending on stroke speed, vehicle speed, and acceleration/deceleration rates reported to the SE’s IMU (Intertial Measurement Unit) every 10 milliseconds. The ECU then directs current to the suspension solenoids to adjust damping suitable for the road conditions and speed.

A rider has the option of selecting from road, track and manual modes, the latter allowing a rider to choose from 15 levels of adjustability for rebound and compression damping selected electronically via the instrument panel.

The ZX-10R SE comes in this sinister-looking Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphite Gray colorway and has a list price of $21,899.

The front suspension is a version of the excellent Showa Balance Free Fork (BFF) that we’ve been delighted with on the ZX-10R. Derived from the racing world, BFF supposedly eliminates the pressure fluctuations typically found in conventional forks, as the damping valves are located outside the fork legs in the damping-force chamber. “This allows the entire surface of the fork pistons to push the hydraulic fluid toward the valves in the damping-force chamber, with nitrogen gas in the compression chamber pushing back against the oil, helping to maintain the balanced pressure inside the fork tube,” says Kawasaki.

The rear suspension uses a Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion (BFRC) unit that also has a separate damping-force chamber housing the compression and rebound damping circuits. The separate circuits allow the damping piston to focus on hydraulic fluid movement, says Kawi.

Brembo’s stellar M50 aluminum monoblock four-piston calipers provide strong braking responses, and the large 330mm front rotors are cross-drilled and have a circumferential groove in the outer edge to aid heat dissipation. Clutchless up- and down-shifting are enabled by an updated Kawasaki Quick Shifter aided by a slipper-clutch design that reduces rear-wheel hop during sudden downshifts.

The SE is also blessed with seven-spoke forged-aluminum wheels, which are lighter than traditional cast-aluminum wheels and were jointly developed with Marchesini. Lighter wheels always pay dividends in quicker responses to steering inputs, so these will make the SE feel lighter than its 458.6-pound claimed wet weight. For reference, that’s about 2.5 heavier than the ZX-10RR, which seems to be due to the SE’s fancy electronic suspension. High-performance Bridgestone Battlax RS10 tires are standard equipment.

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  • Alaskan18724

    Interesting. This bike was announced at EICMA, and nobody seemed to care. A day after it was posted here, there were five comments, including a google scam. Here we are a day after the preview, and…crickets. Not good news, Special K.

    • Karen

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    • Rocky Stonepebble

      $10.8 Billion Canadian to purchase, and $21,899 Stonesylvania Rockbacks a month for insurance. All for what?

    • HazardtoMyself

      Overshadowed by the new H2 maybe?

      With all the talk of why people are not buying motorcycles, $22k is a big number for a street legal track bike.
      I’m sure it is an amazing bike, but is it worth the extra $6k over the standard Zx10 to the average rider?

      Maybe I’m getting old, but for that money I would want something I could ride daily and not be in racer position all the time. The new H2 at the same price point would be where I would look first. While it has aggressive positioning it looks less so than this one.

    • elgar

      Alaskan…my observations as well. It seems that for similar money, BMW/Ducati appears to be more ‘status’ than the Asian brands. Perhaps Kawasaki needs to price this bike more in line with the rest of the Asian litre bikes? Dire indeed.

      • Kevin Duke

        Priced like the R1M? $23k for that one…

  • Carl Zaldivar

    I’m going to be on the market for a new possibly new or near new (pre-owned) bike next year, and all but disregarded Kawi because of how everyone says they have no low end particularly against the GSXR. Now I hear Kawi did something to remedy that. I’m suspicious, but it seems they of all the makes would benefit most from a VVT system. Would be nice to see some dyno charts for the new 18s compared to the GSXRs.