2010 Kawasaki ZX-10R | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R

****Wrist**: Barry Burke
MSRP (2011)**: $13,799
Miles: 4121
MPG: 32
Mods: Graves Motorsports clip-ons, Ferodo brake pads

The more time I spend on "my" Kawasaki ZX-10R, the more impressed I am with its perform-ance and handling. The 2011 model might only be 20 lbs. lighter than a 2010, but judging by the difference in handling, it feels more like 40! The stock bike works well enough that I’ve spent most of my time carving through the Southern California Mountains instead of wrenching on it in the garage.

I did bolt on a set of Graves Motorsports 50mm 7075-T6 billet-aluminum clip-ons ($149.95 from _www.gravesport.com_) that are wider, less angled back and more comfortable than the stock handlebars. They also provide a little more leverage, which translates into lighter steering. Quality and construction are top-notch, and they're 3.3 oz. lighter than the stock setup—no great weight savings, but every little bit helps.

A set of Ferodo XRAC front brake pads ($76.95; _www.braketech.com_) delivers more consistent feedback under all conditions. The stock pads work well enough; I just didn't like their relatively numb, wooden feel. By contrast, the Ferodo pads provide high friction with a progressive feel and great feedback. More progressive control is great on fast street rides, as well as at track days. The extra confidence and feel under hard braking is more than worth the price of admission. Especially if it saves you from making a costly mistake.

My final change was a crankcase full of fresh 5w/40 Motorex Power SYNT 4T ($15 per liter from _www.motorexusa.com_). In addition to protecting expensive internals, this lets the engine run cooler and shifting is noticeably smoother as well. It's not cheap, but neither is a new engine. You'd be surprised how much improvement can come from just an oil change.

What’s next? The standard Bridgestone tires are pretty much shagged, so I’m waiting for the UPS man to show up with a set of Continental SportAttack2 radials. After that, the bike is headed to RaceTech for a full suspension makeover. I’ll keep you posted.

Graves clip-ons have less rearward sweep than the stockers, opening up the cockpit for long-limbed riders. The wider stance also lightens steering response.