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 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.
|2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE Specifications|
|Engine Type||4-stroke, 4 cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled|
|Bore x Stroke||76.0 x 55.0mm|
|Fuel System||DFI with 47mm Mikuni throttle bodies (4) with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder|
|Ignition||TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)|
|Transmission||6-speed, return shift|
|Final Drive||Sealed chain|
|Electronic Aids||Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), Kawasaki Sport Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki Engine Braking Control, Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) (upshift & downshift), Kawasaki Corner Management Function (KCMF)|
|Frame Type||Aluminum perimeter|
|Front Suspension||43mm inverted Balance Free Fork, KECS controlled compression and rebound damping, manual spring preload adjustability|
|Front Wheel Travel||4.7 in|
|Rear Suspension||Horizontal back-link with Balance Free gas-charged shock, controlled compression and rebound damping, manually adjustable spring preload|
|Rear Wheel Travel||4.5 in|
|Front Brakes||Intelligent Braking (KIBS), Brembo dual semi-floating 330mm discs with dual radial mounted monobloc 4-piston calipers|
|Rear Brakes||KIBS-controlled, single 220mm disc with aluminum single-piston caliper|
|Overall Length||82.3 in|
|Overall Width||29.1 in|
|Overall Height||45.1 in|
|Ground Clearance||5.7 in|
|Seat Height||32.9 in|
|Curb Weight||458.6 lb (claimed)|
|Fuel Capacity||4.5 gal|
|Color Choices||Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphite Gray|
|Warranty||12 Month Limited Warranty|
|Kawasaki Protection Plus||12, 24, 36 or 48 months |