A few weeks back, we showed you the start of Kawasaki’s 2021 marketeering, and told you we’d probably see a new ZX-10R superbike. Turns out, we were right, and photos of the new bike have shown up in Australia (we spotted them at this forum, but they were actually published by the Aussie government).
It seems the Aussies require photos of the bike as part of the machine’s certification process in that country, and now they’re all over the Internet, possibly due to an error in nailing down the embargo date, or possible because government regulators are basically the worst secret-keepers when it comes to this sort of thing. Either way, the specs and photos published raise some interesting questions.
First off, it doesn’t seem like Kawasaki has greatly revised the ZX-10R’s engine. The inline-four is still rated at 200 horsepower. more or less what the current model makes. No doubt there are some changes to make the 998cc engine Euro5-legal, but don’t expect a supercharger or anything like that. We’ve not heard any talk of variable valve timing either, although the industry appears to be moving that direction.
The photos don’t tell us anything about the bike’s electronics package, although we’d expect a full suite, with wheelie control, leaning-sensitive ABS and traction control, adjustable engine braking and so on.
From the photos, we can see the ZX-10R gets all-new bodywork, which is probably the most interesting info to date. It’s obviously styled to look somewhat like the H2 hyperbike series, but looking more closely at the edges of the fairing, specifically at the tail section, it looks like the ridges along the widest part of the fairing have some sort of airflow function. As we said above, don’t expect a supercharger, but even if Kawi did include one, it’s hard to imagine it would intake from the rear.
Instead, it’s more likely this has some sort of aerodynamic function. Superbike designers are obsessed with adding control, and they accomplish this either with electro-trickery (IMU-powered rider aids, as mentioned above), or through aerodynamics.
Is that what Kawi’s doing here, with this new fairing? It would be very surprising if it wasn’t the case. Either way, we’ll know the full story on November 23, and no doubt we’ll see more info revealed as the World Superbike season winds down, as Kawasaki’s dominance there is the perfect opportunity to tag on some marketing for the new bike.