2004 Kawasaki ZX-10R
( 2006 ZX-10 model details / 2006 Track Test)

This just in:
We have seen, sat on, and started the 2004 ZX-10R! It looks great and feels much like the ZX-6R. It's nearly as small in size too. It's more attractive than its little brother and appears to use higher quality components (better finished, nicer levers etc.). The seat is very much the same shape, but is softer and thus hopefully more comfortable. The new brake discs stand out for sure, as does the stylish flat rear bodywork. The Ti pipe is nicely finished with an aluminum wrap can. The swingarm is stylish on one side and triangulated (un-attractive) on the other. The seating position offers a nice leg bend and more comfortable feeling bars over the 6R. Too bad we still get the unreadable circular LED tach. The key carries a security chip for the ignition - something new.

How does it sound? Well, like a typical big-bore Kawasaki - excellent. It sounds like there is some liter class torque down there, something that will be aided by the new exhaust valve. Looking at, and hearing, the new ZX-10R made us want to ride it - we didn't.

All-New Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Kawasaki engineers create new liter-class sportbike

From the overall shape to the smallest detail, the ZX-10R combines high technology with the latest innovations, including a new high-output engine, ultra-narrow aluminum frame, and compact bodywork with a frontal area smaller than those of most 600cc sportbikes.

Tom Orbe, Vice President of marketing at KMC, said the ZX-10R is a sportbike worthy of Kawasaki’s image – and it sends a clear message to the motorcycling world that the green brand is pulling out all the stops to be number one on the race track.

“The NINJA ZX-10R is designed to have the best power-to-weight ratio and best handling on the track,” said Orbe, . “It will provide riders with more than enough power and handling to take on the competition.”

Kawasaki engineers utilized a “stack” design for the compact, liquid-cooled, 998cc inline four-cylinder engine. The crank axis, input shaft and output shaft of the NINJA ZX-10R engine are positioned in a triangular layout to reduce engine length, while the high-speed generator is placed behind the cylinder bank to reduce engine width. With a bore and stroke of 76 x 55mm, the ZX-10R engine’s one-piece cylinder and crankcase assembly reduces weight and increases rigidity. The double overhead cams are machined from chromoly steel billet for strength, four valves per cylinder improve high-rpm breathing, and the forged, lightweight pistons offer high heat resistance to further enhance the bike’s power-to-weight ratio.

To obtain maximum benefit from the ZX-10R’s electronic fuel injection, engineers turned to advanced flow analysis to “streamline” the engine’s intake tract. A Ram Air duct located at the front of the fairing provides the coolest air possible, while the fuel injection assembly features electronically controlled sub throttles to smooth power delivery. An ultra-lightweight titanium four-into-one exhaust system incorporates a butterfly valve at the collector to improve overall power characteristics. The titanium oval-shaped muffler is wrapped with a sheet of ultra-thin walled aluminum and has a non-restrictive honeycomb catalyzer to reduce exhaust emissions.  In addition to liquid cooling, the ZX-10R engine features a liquid-cooled oil cooler adjacent to the oil filter to reduce oil temperatures. “Slosh” analysis was also used to design the internal structure of the oil pan, thereby reducing windage losses and helping to maintain low oil temperatures.

A multi-plate wet clutch with a back torque limiter transfers power to a six-speed, close-ratio transmission idealized for closed-course competition. The back torque limiter automatically disengages the clutch under hard braking and deceleration to prevent rear wheel hop during corner entry.

The engine is bolted into all-aluminum twin-tube backbone frame that arches over the engine rather than around it, as with conventional sportbike designs. Constructed of thin-walled castings and pressed aluminum sheets welded together for optimum lightness, the ZX-10R frame provides exceptional high-speed stability and responsive handling, yet is no wider than most 600cc-class sportbikes.

Front suspension duties are handled by fully adjustable 43mm forks and many of the fork’s internal parts are crafted from aluminum to minimize weight. A gull-type aluminum swingarm connected to Kawasaki’s UNI-TRAK® linkage and a fully adjustable shock handles rear suspension duties. The entire rear suspension system is both lightweight and torsionally rigid, and also features adjustable ride height.

The ZX-10R features all-new six-spoke, cast-aluminum wheels. By utilizing six spokes in place of the traditional three-spoke design, engineers were able to reduce rim thickness, yet the wheels are both stronger and lighter. To provide as much traction as possible, the ZX-10R rides on a 120/70ZR17 front tire and ultra-wide 190/50ZR17 rear tire.

Stopping power for the ZX-10R is provided by dual 300mm front disc brakes featuring petal disc design, radially mounted four-piston calipers, and a single 220mm rear disc brake. First introduced on Kawasaki’s own NINJA ZX-6R and ZX-6RR sportbikes, the radial front brake design utilizes mounting points at both the top and bottom of the caliper, with the mounting bolts inserted through the rear of the caliper instead of the side or front as on conventional designs. This racing-inspired setup makes the caliper more rigid to improve brake feel over a wider range of operation.

With the help of a front area smaller than that of a NINJA ZX-6R, the angular body work and racing-style ergonomics of the ZX-10R minimizes aerodynamic drag on the race track. A central ram air duct incorporated into the nose of the fairing provides cool, dense air to the airbox, which is situated between the frame tubes. The top portion of the fuel tank is also concave, so the competition rider can tuck in tightly behind the small windscreen.

Pop nuts are used to fasten the bodywork to the frame, making disassembly and service easier, and the light, five-piece tail section opens at the top for easy maintenance.

Other features include multi-reflector headlights, forged aluminum handlebars that are gun-drilled to reduce weight, LCD display with radial tachometer and digital speedometer, plus  a stop watch function and LED tail light.

Features and Benefits:




Brakes & Wheels

Bodywork & Ergonomics

Additional Features



Four-stroke, DOHC, inline four, 16 valves





Bore x stroke

76.0 x 55mm

Compression ratio





Electronic fuel injection with four 43mm throttle bodies


TCBI with digital advance


Six-speed, close ratio with multi-plate wet clutch and back torque limiter


All-aluminum twin-tube backbone

Rake / trail

24 degrees / 4.0 inches

Suspension, front

43mm forks with 16-way compression and rebound damping, fully adjustable preload

Suspension, rear

Gull-type aluminum swingarm, UNI-TRAK® linkage system, fully adjustable gas-charged shock with stepless compression/rebound damping, adjustable spring preload, adjustable ride height

Wheel travel, front

4.7 inches

Wheel travel, rear

4.9 inches

Tire, front


Tire, rear


Brakes, front / rear

Dual 300mm hydraulic petal disc with radial-mounted, opposed four-piston caliper / Single 220mm hydraulic petal disc with radial-mounted caliper

Overall length / width / height

80.5" / 27.8" / 43.9"

Ground clearance

4.9 inches

Seat height

32.5 inches

Dry weight

374.9 pounds

Fuel capacity

4.5 gallons


54.5 inches

MSRP $10,699
Availability 2004

Colors (4)

Candy Thunder Blue, Lime Green, Pearl Blazing Orange, Black

*Specifications subject to change
** This was the only photo available at press time.

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