Beauty and the beast

The Ninja ZX-10R from Kawasaki pull's strong from 35 mph in sixth gear, but is also capable of doing over 120 mph in second gear. This is one of the fastest motorcycles on the marked.

Tested by Frode Johansen

Pictures by Ruth Helen Kjśrran/

With one year of driving experience I am looking forward to testing my first big super sport bike, but I also have a huge respect for it. This is a bad ass bike, the power from low rpm's is amazing, and the more or less controlled explosion that shoots the bike forward when you pass 7.000 rpm on full trottle is breathtaking.


First look

The angeled and slim headlight makes me think of Lucie Liu's beautifull yet dangtores looking eyes. The big ram-air intake between the headlights, beautifull crafted black svingarm, the wide back with integraded turnsignals and those under the seat mounted twin silencers makes the bike look very good and very fast. The color on the other hand is far from being my favorite. May be it is because I have been too drunk too many times, or just that salads have nothing to do with fast bikes, who knows. But my choice of color would be the good old fashion plain black or ebony as they call it.


The beast come's to life

Switch the ignition on, then a short push on the start button and all the 175 Japanese stallions comes to life. A short twist of the accelerator and the engine sounds like a huge killer bee with a megaphone. When the speed pick's up the ram-air intake pushes air into the engine, giving it a maximum of 185 stallions going wild.

When all of those wild stallions are given a full speed ahead, it all comes down to holding on, the acceleration is brutal. And the driver needs to put som weight over the tank to prevent the front wheel from taking of in second gear. Straight line speed has been tested by numerous magazines, and shows that the bike pass 60 mph just after 3 seconds, and after ten seconds the speed is up to 140 mph.


Down the road

As I cruise norht I check out the road for gravel and large cracks, because I know that when i turn around to head back, speeds will pick up. After testing the breaks, low down pull and getting the feel of the bike I turn around to head south again. A Ford Van passes as I do the u-turn and shortly after I am on his tail waiting for the long straight that are just around the corner. I turn out and nails it on second gear at 45 mph, and a few seconds later both 100 and 110 mph has passed, and what appeared to be long straight is no gone. I do a double shift to fourth and goes into the wide corner without breaking and just leaning the bike over. On the exit I open the trottle wide open again and the bike shoots out on the next straight. This bike will need a track to really use all the power it has in a semi safe manner.

It is easy steering it into corners, and it feels steady when I hit some bumps in a corner at normal highway speed. The breaks are very good, and often I just use one finger on it to bring the speed down, use two and you can easily break it up on it's front wheel. The mirrors shows my elbows very nicely, and if I bend and twist my arms a bit I get a glance back to see if the cops are hot on my trail.

The driving position is a little cramped, but since the bike is quite short I do not get as much weight on the wrists as I had feared. But the low wind screen results in a high air pressoure on the helmet, and looking down the edge of the screen is just over the digital mph meter. So mounting a higher screen will give both better wind protection and it will be easier to see the speed. Some high frequency vibrations makes my fingers fall to sleep after a while, so I stop to have some photographs taken. There is almost no differents in rpm's between using fifth or sixth gear. So I try to find the non existing seventh gear several times, so a gear indicator would be nice.



The quick steered chassis, very flexible engine and the good breaks, sort of makes the small drawbacks easy to live with. Clutch and gear changer is also easy to operate. But the Ninja ZX-10R is not a beginners bike for those with high testosteron levels, or horns growing out of their forhead. Without respect for this bike it will bite you in the ass, and when these big super sport bikes bite, they bite plenty hard. But in the right hands, this bike with it's top specifications could be one of the safest on the marked.



The facts:

Engine: 60 cubic inches / 998 ccm

Engine type: Water cooled inline-four

Horsepower:  175 hp (184 hp with Ram Air) at 11.700 rpm

Torque:  84,6 Ib.ft at 9.500 rpm

Front tyre:  120/70-ZR17

Rear tyre:  190/50-ZR17

Fuel tank:  4,5 gallons / 17 liter

Dry weight:  386 Ibs

MSRP:  From $11.250





Another hard day's work...