2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R review, test ride

There are only a few moments in life that stay firmly etched in a single’s reminiscence. Like, as an illustration, being perched on a 200hp+, litre-class superbike and watching the world whizz by in a blur. The sound of the consumption howl reverberating within the ear as your mind struggles to maintain up with the quickly altering numbers on the speedo, is a rush not like the rest. Particularly on one thing as potent, but accessible as the brand new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. 

Armed with a complete set of updates for 2021, Kawasaki claims to have enhanced what’s already an extremely quick machine. Now, if needs had been horses, I’d be flying down the again straight of the BIC, somewhat than feeling caged on the general public street system. Nonetheless, you’d need to be totally mad to go the chance of driving a superbike, even when it’s on the street. And as I found, this format of motorcycling has an irresistible draw. 


All of it begins with the way in which this bike seems to be, most notably the brand new face. Kawasaki sparked on-line debates in regards to the Kawasaki Ninja H2-inspired entrance finish, on whether or not it was nothing however an unsightly cut-paste job on the 2021 ZX-10R. I had my reservations as properly, nevertheless, in the actual world, this Ninja seems to be daring and aggressive. I’d go to the extent of claiming that it seems to be characterful. 

The big air consumption duct within the centre is flanked by recessed LED headlights that give it a menacing face. The impact can also be a results of the distinguished chin spoilers beneath the headlights in addition to the cleverly built-in ducts subsequent to them. These ducts channel air into them and out by way of vents on the highest of the aspect fairing. This helps enhance high-speed downforce by 17 p.c, though, the street is not any place to check that. Nonetheless, I like how aesthetically clear and easy this aerodynamics enterprise is on the Ninja, as an alternative of the somewhat ugly winglets seen on some superbikes of its ilk.

The aspect fairing has been redesigned as properly, with a large slit supplying you with a sneak peek on the Titanium alloy exhaust headers, which have already turned brilliant blue on this bike. The fairing additionally does a reasonably respectable job of guiding sizzling air from the radiator fan out and much away from the rider’s legs. 

Transfer to the rear and also you’ll see a barely reprofiled cowl, though the triangular LED tail-light is much like the outgoing mannequin. 

To me, the brand new ZX-10R seems to be putting in each sense of the phrase, to not point out the stunning ‘Kawasaki Racing Group’ colors that add an enormous dollop of attraction. 


Hop on the bike and also you instantly realise that the driving place is manner too dedicated for spending greater than an hour within the saddle. It is because the handlebar has been pushed ahead by 10mm, though the clip-ons are barely extra unfold out to supply higher leverage. Secondly, the foot pegs have been raised by 5mm to enhance cornering clearance. Whereas that bodes properly for the racetrack, after some time on the street, the scrunched up foetal place will depart your decrease again, wrists and neck muscle mass screaming for mercy. Not less than that was the case with me after a 180km journey from Pune to Mumbai. 

Nonetheless, even when the driving posture is excessive, I didn’t suppose it was an absolute deal breaker, as a result of the way in which the Ninja ZX-10R performs and manages to deal with Indian roads is pleasantly stunning.


Within the technique of upgrading the ZX-10R’s venerable 998cc, inline-four engine to BS6 requirements, Kawasaki has thrown in a piece of updates which have had a huge impact total. 

Peak energy stands at 203hp (up by 3hp) at 13,200rpm. Add the ram air impact and Kawasaki says that determine rises to 213hp at excessive speeds. The opposite adjustments embody a brand new air-cooled oil-cooler, for constant engine efficiency, in addition to the revised exhaust and the brand new ride-by-wire system that provides exact throttle inputs. However that’s not all. Kawasaki has additionally shortened the primary, second and third gears and put in an even bigger rear sprocket (by two enamel). The impact of all of that is seen within the new ZX-10R’s extra tractable nature at metropolis speeds. It manages to carry third gear at 30kph with out a murmur of protest. The stunning bit is that the warmth administration in congested site visitors is great, given the sheer efficiency that this engine packs. Talking of which, a 200hp+ bike is nothing wanting a missile on wheels, particularly on the street.


BS6 engine makes extra energy whereas revised gearing improves the tractability.

The sheer ferocity with which the Ninja builds up velocity, with the seamless quickshifter working like magic, is gobsmacking. You’ll want your whole bravery, muscle mass and psychological area to carry on to the bike because the revs climb previous 10,000rpm; publish which the horizon solely appears seconds away. This whole sequence of occasions is accompanied by an addictive exhaust observe that may solely be brewed by an inline-four engine, which remains to be worshipped by many. 

I’d say that it’s nothing however lunacy to even dare to maintain the throttle huge open on such an extremely highly effective machine, particularly on our roads. That mentioned, the electronics package deal with the updates for 2021 is sort of a superhero, maintaining you from being the subsequent statistic on the accident board. 

The three trip modes – Street, Rain, Sport – the IMU primarily based, five-level traction management (two ranges greater than obtainable beforehand), in addition to the ABS work seamlessly within the background, as you go about driving the Ninja over dips, crests, undulations, slippery surfaces and regardless of the typical Indian street throws at you.


New Bluetooth TFT however nonetheless no commonplace gas gauge.

Scroll by way of the menu on the brand new Bluetooth-enabled 4.3-inch TFT show and you’ll preset 4 particular person rider modes – a brand new characteristic in 2021. Nonetheless, this solely lets you set the traction management intervention degree and whether or not you need Full or Low energy, which chops output to about 80 p.c. 

Truthfully, whereas I used to be barely skimming the floor of the efficiency barrel, it was greater than sufficient to maintain me grinning from ear to ear. 


It’s on a good twisty street that the Ninja’s chassis setup actually involves the fore and also you realise why this superbike is appeared upon with such reverence. Kawasaki has made just a few tweaks this time by becoming an 8mm longer swingarm and decreasing its pivot level by 1mm. The lowered triple clamp has additionally led to larger entrance fork offset, additional contributing to the longer wheelbase. The result’s a bike that’s tremendous secure at nook entry, mid nook and whereas exiting. Flip in felt fast for a 207kg bike and even route adjustments don’t require a variety of effort. 

The fully-adjustable Showa suspension options revised internals, and even at inventory settings, these had been snug sufficient to take care of our pockmarked roads. They take in mid-corner undulations fairly properly and there was by no means an occasion the place the entrance finish skipped off an meant line. It’s quick, but pleasant and forgiving, which explains why it’s so straightforward to get on and get used to. 

All mentioned, a racetrack just like the BIC or MMRT is the place the true potential of the chassis could be exploited and it’s one thing that we’ve added to our bucket record for the long run. 


Let’s be sincere. Contemplating the gamut of bikes that we need in a lifetime, a litre-class superbike holds a particular place in nearly everybody’s coronary heart. In any case, these are the epitome of arduous, quick and centered manufacturing machines that mere mortals such as you and I strap ourselves to for a trip of a lifetime.


KRT colors add to the looks of the Ninja.

The 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is a shining instance of a bike that’ll blow you away with its skills. Whereas we bought slightly style of it on the road, the racetrack is the place you could take this bike to, with a purpose to trip it like it’s meant to be. Agreed, the electronics and total feel-good issue aren’t pretty much as good as a number of the extra unique competitors, however then once more, at Rs 14.99 lakh, the Ninja ZX-10R blows them out of the water, with its sheer value to efficiency worth. And that makes it unattainable to look previous.

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