2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R | Doin' Time

Wrist: Barry Burke
MSRP (2011): $13,799
Miles: 6124
Mpg: 33
Mods: Öhlins steering damper, shock spacer, Graves Motorsports clip-ons, Ferodo brake pads, Motorex Power Synt 4T oil, Bridgestone R10 tires, 16-tooth front sprocket, Race Tech 25mm fork cartridge kit

More of my time with this Kawasaki ZX-10R has been spent riding than turning wrenches. Maybe that’s because the 10R is just an amazing stock motorcycle, or maybe it was an excuse to spend less time in the garage because of my new son. Or some of both.

Regardless, the Kawasaki ZX-10R has delivered unparalleled performance. The only problems I encountered, if you can call them that, were a loose dash panel connection and fairing-mount bolt. These were hardly issues considering the miles I put in, and they pale compared with the Kawasaki’s strengths, which include its S-KTRC (Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control), the amazing motor, unmistakable styling and, as an added bonus, headlights that are excellent for nighttime canyon riding.

Although I only made a few mods, they were important ones. I increased rear ride height by installing an 8mm rear spacer on the upper rear shock mount. Changing the engine oil to Motorex Power SYNT 4T 5w-40 (_www.motorex.com_; $24.99 per liter) dropped engine temps so the transmission shifted even better.

On the rubber front, Bridgestone's new R10 DOT-approved trackday tires (www.bridgestonemotorcycletires.com; $161 front, $241 rear) offer tremendous performance and a noticeable improvement to the ZX-10R's front-end feel. Bridgestone offers a single front compound (medium/Type 3) and two rears (medium/Type 3 and hard/Type 2); I ran the hard rear compound.

As the result of riding and not modding, I didn’t get to a couple of additions, including aftermarket brake lines. Longer lines would make it possible to take advantage of the taller fork caps on the Race Tech fork kit previously installed. The stock lines are only long enough for the legs to be lowered to the top edge of the triple clamp. Raising the front could improve stability and settle the bike in a fast sweeper, not to mention the performance gain under heavy braking from the aftermarket lines.

I’m sorry to see the ZX-10R go. The fact that it received so few modifications says a lot about how good it is right out of the crate.