2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Receives Engine Updates, Now Claims 200hp

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Kawasaki Europe has announced some updates to the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R’s engine, pushing its claimed power output up to 200 hp from the previous 197 hp with improved power and torque across the rev range. Also receiving updates for 2019 are the more track-focused ZX-10RR and the electronic suspension-equipped ZX-10R SE. As of this writing, these updates have not been announced for the U.S. market, but we expect to hear official news from Kawasaki USA shortly.

The power increase (up 3hp from the 2018 model) comes mainly from a new valve train developed from Kawasaki’s racing engineers. The updated engine uses finger-follower valve actuators instead of the previous tappet valve system, resulting in a 20% reduction in the valve system’s mass. This allowed Kawasaki to employ more aggressive cam profiles.

According to Kawasaki, the finger-follower valve actuators increases performance and reliability at high rpms.
The ZX-10R also inherits the cylinder head from the ZX-10RR which allows for high lift cams which are available in a separate race kit. Though you cannot see it with the fairings in place, this change is highlighted by a new red-painted cylinder head cover.

In addition to the finger-follower valve system, the ZX-10RR also receives titanium connecting rods produced by the Kawasaki Racing Team’s long-time performance partner, Pankl. The new connecting rods each weigh 102 grams less than the steel conrods from the 2018 engine, which allowed Kawasaki to raise the rev limit by 600rpm and maximum power output to a claimed 201 hp. Kawasaki says the reduced crankshaft moment of inertia improves engine response and handling, especially on corner entry. Kawasaki also re-tuned the front and rear suspension accordingly to take advantage of the reduced crankshaft inertia.

For 2019, the three ZX-10R models also receive a dual-direction quick shifter as standard equipment. The Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) allows for clutchless upshifts and downshifts at engine speeds above 2500rpm.

The 2019 ZX-10R SE also receives Kawasaki’s self-healing Highly Durable Paint on the fuel tak. First introduced on the 2019 Ninja H2, the paint uses a special top coat made of both soft and hard segments that can recover from minor scratches.

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

In Europe, the 2019 ZX-10R will be offered in Lime/Green/Ebony/Metallic Graphite Gray.

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR

The more track-focused ZX-10RR will come in Lime Green for 2019. Equipped with forged Marchesini wheels and available only with single seat, the double-R will only be produced in a limited run of 500 units.

2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE

The 2019 ZX-10R SE will be offered in Metallic Carbon Gray/Neutron Silver/Lime Green with Kawasaki’s self-healing top coat. In addition to the electronic suspension, the SE model also comes with forged Marchesini wheels.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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  • Mikstr Mikstr on Sep 07, 2018

    Kind of ironic that the very first Ninja, back in 1984, used finger followers for valve actuation... guess it was ahead of its time

    • See 1 previous
    • Mikstr Mikstr on Sep 08, 2018

      The old set-up used forked rockers with adjustment screws too. Not quite the same set-up, but same basic idea. DLC may well have been around then,but it wasn't used on consumer goods. All hail technology!