New Kawasakis for 2004!

With Honda and Yamaha stepping up to the GSX-R1000-inspired gauntlet also known as the open-class, it's no surprise that Team Green is also prepared to throw down in the war via its all-new 2004 ZX-10R.

ZX-10R

Kawasaki is at this stage in the game predictably evasive with regards to horsepower and weight figures, saying little more than that the ZX-10R will weigh less and make more horsepower than the 444 pound (wet), 152 rear wheel-horsepower '03 GSX-R1000. The weight goal actually seems quite achievable when viewed in relation to the bike's miniscule proportions. The frame spars are very tall and very narrow; the bike looks smaller than a current ZX-6R, and Kawasaki claims the same. A 43mm inverted KYB fork is home to radial-mount Tokico calipers and 300mm wave-design rotors.

The clean-sheet 998cc liquid-cooled four is way oversquare - with a 76mm x 55mm bore and stroke - and features myriad bits of techno-trickery to avoid pumping losses while keeping the engine slim and small. Lightweight billet camshafts and valvetrain contribute to a 13,000 rpm redline. Titanium header and a tunable slipper clutch are also among the list of standard features on this bad-boy.

Vulcan 2000

Blame (or praise) Honda and its Rune if you wish, but big, BIG cruisers seem to be en vogue these days. Triumph recently stepped into the house with its beast monster 2300cc Rocket III, and Kawasaki's right behind the boys from Brinkley with the new-for-'04 Vulcan 2000. That's right, this big [italics!] new Vulcan gets it get-up from a 2053cc 52-degree V-twin - or to put in a different light, a 125-cubic incher in which lives a pair of thumping 103mm pistons. With these numbers, the Vulcan's mill is - for the time being at least - the largest mass-produced V-twin in all the lands.

Wanna know more? It's all there in the November '03 issue of Motorcyclist magazine.

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