2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR Revealed in Australian Certification Documents

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Official announcement expected Nov. 23

An updated 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR have been confirmed in vehicle certification data submitted in Australia. The certification documents reveal a new fairing for the Ninjas, plus some engine updates that were likely aimed to meet Euro 5 requirements.

Both models are expected to be part of a larger reveal event Kawasaki has planned for Nov. 23. Kawasaki submitted the data to Australia’s department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development in August, with a request for the information be embargoed until Nov. 1. Kawasaki likely hadn’t decided on the Nov. 23 date at the time, resulting in the certification data being released over the weekend.

The certification files include low-resolution images of each bike, and though they’re small, we can still get a good idea of what the 2021 ZX-10R models will look like.

From the photos, it’s clear the literbikes are getting a sharper H2-inspired nose with smaller, headlights (likely LEDs). The turn signals remain integrated into the mirrors. Behind the fairing, we spy a new display, likely a full-color TFT screen.

The 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

The side fairings are new, with a single, large opening on either side. From these photos, it appears that both of the colors shown here have a matte finish, with black for the ZX-10R and green for the ZX-10RR. Additional color options may have a glossier paint finish.

The 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.

The certifications list the same peak horsepower from both models as their respective 2020 versions, but they arrive at their peak at different engine speeds, suggesting some engine updates to meet Euro 5. The 2021 ZX-10R’s 998cc engine is listed at producing 200 hp at 13200 rpm (the 2020 model claimed 200 hp at 13500 rpm) while the 2021 ZX-10RR is listed at 201 hp at 14000 rpm (vs. 13500 rpm for the 2020 model). That suggests some changes to the engine to help it meet Euro 5 requirements.

We checked with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found VIN information with further evidence of a new 2021 ZX-10R. Unfortunately, it looks like U.S. ZX-10Rs will continue to be down on power to models offered elsewhere, with the NHTSA document listing 186 hp, the same as the 2020 model.

From the photos, we also similar looking forks and calipers to the 2020 models, which would mean a Showa Balance Free Front Fork and Brembo calipers. The frame also looks similar to the 2020 models, but we’ll need a better photo to know for sure.

The listed tare weight (with all fluids but a partially-full fuel tank) for both models is listed at 427.7 pounds, the same as the 2020 model, so we expect the final wet weights to be similar.

As for any other changes, we’ll have to wait for the official announcement later this month. Check with us here on Motorcycle.com for the latest.

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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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2 of 15 comments
  • Arrow Arrow on Nov 06, 2020

    Seems like they styled it after Ninja 400; that's a nice bike, but I'd have expected the flagship bike to create a new styling direction for Kawasaki. I didn't like it at all, and I'm a Kawasaki fan. Perhaps it'll look better in other pictures...

  • Des Gruntld Des Gruntld on Nov 16, 2020

    Its certainly not pretty, the last model hit the sweet spot by my eye. This is a butchered "facelift" - but I think there are winglets/tunnels built in either side of the headlights, between the cowl and the headlight lens. The rest of the bike looks 90% the outgoing model.

    Jon Rea did stay at Kawasaki because of a new ninja... But I certainly hope this isn't the best they could do to keep him.