Early C1 and C2 mod­els are the purest of the breed. If you like your litre sports­bikes raw – this is the one

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Alan See­ley

Kawasaki ZX-10R, get ‘em while you can (es­pe­cially at this money)

Well they took their time about it, but when Kawasaki was fi­nally ready to take a tilt a top­ping the ex­treme end of the litre sports­bike mar­ket they weren’t mess­ing about.the 2004 ZX-10R was the su­per­bike we all knew they were ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing.

With a claimed 175bhp@11,700rpm from its 998cc in­line four en­gine and a dry weight of 170kg, the ZX-10R neatly squared the one horse per kilo equa­tion. That al­lowed Kawasaki to claim the best power-to-weight ra­tio in the litre-bike class.a handy 85lb.ft of torque was most wel­come too. It was a giddy mix. Phys­i­cally more like a 600 – at 698mm side-to-side it was the same width as the ZX-6R.THE ZX-10R was a mas­sive leap into full-on sports­bike ter­ri­tory, es­pe­cially to Kawasaki fans used to the ZX-9R it re­placed as the firm’s flag­ship sport­ster.

Kawasaki were able to keep things tight by de­sign­ing the en­gine around one­piece bar­rels and top crank­case, plac­ing the gen­er­a­tor aft of the cylin­ders and spec­i­fy­ing a stacked gear­box. Mag­ne­sium en­gine cov­ers added drool fac­tor.a closer­a­tio gear­box was fed the co­pi­ous power through a slip­per clutch.

Else­where the ZX-10R was bang upto-date too; dig­i­tally con­trolled 43mm in­jec­tors, fully ad­justable usd forks with stan­chions plated with Di­a­mond Like Coat­ing com­ple­mented by Bot­tom-link Uni-trak rear sus­pen­sion. Front brakes were four-pis­ton ra­dial To­kico calipers chew­ing on 300mm wavy discs.

For 2006 Kawasaki de­cided to calm the ZX-10R’S wilder ex­cesses, re­vis­ing the fuel in­jec­tion, adding more mass to the fly­wheels and re­plac­ing the first bike’s 4-1 ti­ta­nium sys­tem with a bulkier 4-2 ter­mi­nat­ing un­der the seat.this was done to boost midrange and spread power more evenly and smoothly across the rev range. They didn’t stop there also chang­ing the frame and swingarm and mess­ing with the mass dis­tri­bu­tion. In so do­ing a lot of the full-on char­ac­ter of the C1 and C2 was lost. If you like your litre bikes raw, ana­logue and more than a lit­tle flighty then the first bike is the one you want. Steady away now…

And all for around three grand. Why wouldn’t you? KAWASAKI ZX-10R

Con­cen­trate... and, breathe

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