November 10, 2017
| On 5 years ago

First Look: 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE

At EICMA, Kawasaki pulled the covers off a special edition version of the Ninja ZX-10R, featuring the company’s first application of electronic suspension.

The 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE is equipped with the Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) system developed with Showa. The semi-active KECS optimizes the Balance Free Front Fork’s damping to accommodate both the bike’s speed as well as the speed of the suspension stroke. The system compensates for deceleration, controlling some of the pitching that comes with hard braking.

Sensor coils measure the real-time suspension stroke speed and compression, delivering that information every millisecond to the KECS ECU. The ECU combines that information with data provided by acceleration data from the IMU (supplied every 10 ms) and vehicle speed data from the FI ECU (also every 10 ms) to calculate how much damping is required. The KECS ECU then directs a current to solenoid valves which adjusts the suspension.

Riders can choose three modes, Road, Track and Manual. The settings provide softer or firmer base levels to match the riding environment.

The suspension isn’t the only thing that makes this a special edition model. The ZX-10R SE also receives two features previously only available on the ZX-10RR: 7-spoke forged aluminum wheels from Marchesini for higher rigidity and lower inertia as well as an improved quick shifter for clutchless up and downshifts (the standard ZX-10R only allows clutchless downshifts with its race kit quick shifter). The SE’s quick shifter is designed mainly for racing applications, but it also works for street use at engine speeds above 2500 rpm.

The 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE will be offered in a Metallic Flat Black with Metallic Matte Graphite Gray color scheme. U.S. pricing and availability will be confirmed later.

Follow the rest of our 2017 EICMA show coverage