Early Release 2013 Kawasakis | FIRST LOOK

That’s right, it’s still a bit early in the year to be hearing about 2013 bikes, but Kawasaki broken out with news of useful updates for the ZX-10R and Ninja 650, as well as confirmation that the KLX250R and KLR650 stay with us for another year.

Kawasaki’s update for the blisteringly fast, traction-controlled ZX-10R could be one of those seemingly unimportant but factually useful items: an electronic steering damper. A race-spec Ohlins electronic, twin-tube damper helps ensure better and more consistent damping performance and the electronics help control how the damper behaves in different riding situations, says Kawasaki. The MSRP has gone up $300 since last year for a total of $14,299. The ABS version is another grand at $15,299. The Lime Green paint choice has carried over, but Passion Red and Flat Platinum Gray have been replaced with Pearl Flat White.

New for 2012, the Ninja 650 gets an ABS version for 2013.The 649cc parallel twin Ninja is now available with front and rear ABS to help maximize braking efficiency on the 460 lb. middleweight machine. The MSRP for the ABS version is $8099, which is $600 more than the non-ABS version at $7599, itself a boost of $100 from last year. The only other changes are color options. The Metallic Flat Spark Black carries over from last year, but Pearl Stardust White and Candy Thunder Blue replace the Candy Lime Green and Passion Red from the 2012 model.

In the dual-purpose category, the 2013 KLX250S is mechanically unchanged for the ’12 model, but the $5099 MSRP shows a $100 increase over last year. Red gives way to Bright White. Lime green is still available, but with new tank graphics and white body panels aft of the gas tank. The 2013 KLR650 is now $6499, a $200 increase on last year’s MSRP. It is available in Ebony, Pearl Solar Yellow, and Candy Lime Green/Ebony.