It’s pretty damn good, but could be even bet­ter

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - KAWASAKI ZX-10R 13,799

For 2017 new bikes will have to be Euro 4 com­pli­ant – cleaner and more ef­fi­cient. It’s the rea­son so many man­u­fac­tur­ers have com­pli­ant bikes this year and we’ll see even more rolled out at the bike shows this au­tumn.

Euro 4 is the rea­son the new Du­cati’s baby Pani­gale has spouted ugly pipes and why the new Kawasaki ZX-10R is 8kg heav­ier and doesn’t have the bot­tom-end power it was de­signed to pro­duce.

Luck­ily you don’t no­tice any of this on the road. I’m run­ning the KRT Replica Kawasaki in at the mo­ment and it feels great. It has lots of power, a smooth throt­tle re­sponse, beau­ti­ful steer­ing and ex­cep­tional trac­tion and wheelie con­trol. And un­like the Yamaha R1 I ran last year it has a seat and clip-ons that don’t try and tor­ture you.

So far, so good but when you com­pare the ZX-10R to its su­per­bike ri­vals in the un­for­giv­ing arena of an MCN group test the Kawasaki doesn’t shine as brightly.

With long gear­ing, a peaky mo­tor and ex­tra bulk it’s not as fast on track and on the road the new ‘brake-by-wire’ ABS sys­tem lacks feel and power, too. That’s no sur­prise as the brake hoses have to do a few laps of the bike via the ABS con­trol unit on their jour­ney from lever to caliper.

For a taller rider like me the pegs are set quite high and the screen too low.

It shouldn’t take much to undo the Euro­crats’ handy work and I plan to get rid of that Euro 4 fat cat ex­haust and re­place it with some­thing lighter and freer flow­ing. When we put our ZX-10R test bike on the dyno for our 1000s test it made 191bhp at the rear wheel – 10bhp up on the pre­vi­ous model. Al­ter the map­ping to give it the power curve it was orig­i­nally born with and we could be knock­ing on the door of 200bhp and a stronger bot­tom end.

I also need to find a way of dis­con­nect­ing the ABS for track­days, to see if brak­ing feel and power can be im­proved. Fit­ting a taller screen and rearsets should also give me a bit more com­fort when I ride the Kawasaki through Europe on my sum­mer hol­i­days.

But in the mean­time I’ve started the ball rolling by fit­ting a set of an­odised alu­minium bob­bins from R&G (£25), so I can use my pad dock stand for clean­ing du­ties.

Hog-dom is a whole new way of life for MCN’S Ali­son There’d have been none of this with last year’s big Kawasaki It may look like Neeves is about to pro­pose to the ex­haust but in fact he is plan­ning its demise Euro 4 hasn’t tamed the Z X-10R R&G bob­bin

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