How does a pro feel about this street bike?

The math is pretty simple in bike-land this time of year. New year + new models = new bike reviews. Maybe you have favorite reviewers whose analyses you particularly like. Perhaps, instead, you feel that they’re similar to you in some way so it’s easier to picture how you’d probably feel about a given bike.  

What about six-time reigning WSBK champion Jonathan Rea? What would you think about his reviewing prowess? While his rather elevated skill level might blow most of us straight off the track, does that make him a good reviewer? You can make up your own mind as you watch this video of Rea flogging Kawasaki’s new Ninja ZX-10R around. Let’s check it out. 

Now, since he’s rider number one on the Kawasaki Racing Team, he may naturally be inclined to tell you nice things about Kawasaki machines. However, the fact remains that he’s also in a unique position to tell us how the new ZX-10R compares to his race-winning KRT machines.  

Thankfully, Rea is not the kind of racer who only ever says two words at a time in front of a camera. In this video, he takes you through the main differences between the 2021 ZX-10R and its 2020 predecessor. Rider ergonomics are generally more tucked and racier on the 2021 version, with rider hand position moving forward by several millimeters.  

Wind protection and aerodynamics when you’re in full tuck are also improved, with what Rea says seems to be less wind resistance as you’re piloting your bike around the track. The 2021 ZX-10R also has all the electronic rider aids you could wish for, including electronic cruise control for when you’re out on the highway going to or from the track. Launch control will, of course, be more helpful on closed circuits. 

What’s extra cool about this video is that you don’t simply get any old onboard action cam lap with Rea around Jerez. Instead, he talks you through his warmup lap as he’s riding it, narrating what gear he’s in, as well as the individual characteristics that make certain parts of the track unique.  

It’s a track he knows well, and so it’s almost like you’re getting a couple of minutes of on-track coaching from a six-time WSBK champion. The fact that most of us probably aren’t going to Jerez for a track day any time soon doesn’t mean you’ll grin any less at the thought. 

Overall, Rea says he can see how you get from the KRT bike to the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R. It’s not the same thing, but he says it’s closer to his race bike than the outgoing model, and you can’t say fairer than that. 

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