2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R - Up To Speed

Reinventing The Ninja

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Courtesy Of Kawasaki

Suspension is new at both ends. The 43mm fork sliders wear a stylish low-friction DLC coating on the outside and bottom-mount springs inside. Isolating the cartridge units from frothy oil means more consistent damping. The 10R shock gets adjustable high- and low-speed compression damping, along with a new Uni-Trak link. New bodywork offers more comfort and less aerodynamic drag. Brakes? New single-pad Tokico calipers squeeze 310mm discs up front that are 10mm larger and .5mm thinner than in '07. Stronger, lighter "squeeze-cast" wheels are new as well. The best news is you get all that for just $300 more: $11,549.

You didn't think Kawasaki would surrender the ber Sport title without a fight, did you? The $11,699 ZX-14's '08 enhancements are relatively subtle, but intake and exhaust changes boost power output everywhere, especially down low. Whether it's enough to stay ahead of the new 'Busa remains to be seen. At $3499, an all-new 250 Ninja looks like a clear winner. Rolling on new 17-inch wheels, the bodywork, chassis and 70 percent of the 249cc parallel-twin beneath have been redone for '08. Kawasaki claims 30 percent more midrange power. That's good news for neophytes and experts alike.

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