Kawasaki announced a sophisticated upgrade to the Ninja ZX-10 at EICMA 2017 – electronically controlled suspension. Complementing the ZX-10R and the more track focused ZX-10RR, the Ninja ZX-10R SE is a new, high-grade addition to the liter sports bike class.
“Thanks to its electronic semi-active suspension, on the road and track the superb damping character offers a level of ride comfort that almost makes you forget you are riding a bike with race-ready suspension, while outstanding damping responsiveness delivers a planted feel that translates to rider confidence and further advances the ease of riding offered by the Ninja ZX-10R SE.”
While electronic suspension has been employed for some years in racing and high-end production cars, Kawasaki is the first to bring a refined version to market in a motorcycle. Developed in concert with Jonathan Rea’s world championship-winning Ninja Superbike, the company now offers tangible proof that racing indeed improves the breed. Track-worthy suspension compliance on the road – and for track days – will have serious sport riders checking their savings accounts.
The new Ninja's electronic wizardry consists of a Showa Balance Free Fork up front and a rear-mounted BFRC Lite shock, which is pretty much the same construction as the suspension on Kawasaki’s WSB Ninja ZX-10RR race machines. It also gets Kawasaki's high-tech Electric Control Suspension (KECS), a system that features stroke sensors and adjustment solenoids built into the suspension units themselves.
“Drawing information from these stroke sensors plus other inputs from the machine such as acceleration and deceleration data plus vehicle speed, the ZX-10R SE incorporates a dedicated suspension ECU that communicates with the standard fitment ECU and the inertia measurement unit (IMU) to provide a fast responding and reassuring ride in one of three settings; road, track or manual,” stated Kawasaki in their EICMA 2017 press release.
Kawasaki claims reaction times for the system are measured in milliseconds, making the response of front and rear suspension almost instantaneous. Effectively this means that the suspension is being constantly refined and adjusted to suit the prevailing road surface plus the demands of machine dynamics and rider input. The extra adjustability and convenience of a manual setting option delivers supreme “tunability” to suspension parameters that effectively means there is a setting for all situations.
The Ninja ZX-10R SE also features specially cast Marchesini seven-spoke, forged alloy wheels, a matte black color scheme with distinctive green highlights, and the Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) for clutchless up and down shifting and effective sport riding.
“This marks a significant step for us in terms of suspension technology and we believe this system is truly cutting edge in its design and operation,” said Morihiro Ikoma, Director of Kawasaki Motors Europe. “Mating information gained in the competitive arena of WorldSBK with leading edge suspension has created a machine that will certainly appeal to Ninja ZX-10R fans that seek what is newest and most up to date.