2005 Kawasaki ZX-10 | Kyle Racing Upgrades

Accelerated ZX-10 Superbike

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the racetrack, or so it goes. Recently, on my way to Thunderhill Park Raceway in Northern California, I decided to visit the Monterey Peninsula and say hello to my friend Dan Kyle of Kyle Racing Engines. In a conversation about what’s new, Dan showed me the daily ride he’s using to get back and forth between home and shop. At first look, in the dark confines of the shop, I thought it was merely a cleaned up Kawasaki ZX-10. Then the lights turned on and the abundant titanium, carbon fiber and special parts grabbed my attention. As soon as Dan suggested I take it to the track and see what it could do, the bike was loaded into the truck and I was headed north before he even said goodbye.

Photography by Cordero Studios. (Click images to enlarge)

The next morning as I suited up at Thunderhill, I took a closer look at everything that was changed, added or removed from the standard Kawasaki ZX-10. First, the parts that Dan used are equivalent to one and a half times the price of the bike. The BST carbon fiber wheels and Brembo brakes alone are over $7,000. Suspension is provided by race-proven Ohlins and engine management is handled by Dynojet with an Arata Titanium exhaust system. Many other tidbits are used in lieu of the heavier standard pieces, all the way down to the Sato Titanium side stand.

After a quick technical once-over on the bike and the rider’s meeting with the Pacific Track Time staff, I was out on the track, warming up the tires. After a couple of laps, it was time to put this thing to the test. Engine power was fantastic and made accelerating from corner to corner a breeze. The best part of liter horsepower is having a flat torque curve, which translates into strong acceleration at any rpm. Kyle’s creation produces 165 bhp at the rear wheel which, remarkably, is over 30 more than my World Championship–winning Superbike produced back in 1992.

Handling characteristics are top shelf. Kawasaki’s ZX-10 chassis design is more compact than its little brother, the ZX-6. This means that stopping, change of direction and the overall feel of the bike is quick and agile. Dan makes a good situation even better with the use of carbon fiber wheels. This drastically reduces the gyroscopic inertia of the wheels, making the change of direction so effortless and fast, I found myself turning into corners too soon. A couple of laps to adjust for this and I was able to carve up riders like a razor-sharp snake. Handling this quick requires precise suspension to limit input into the chassis. The Ohlins suspension is identical to that used in racing, so the bumps and elevation changes of Thunderhill are smoothed and controlled perfectly.

Riding around all day on the Dunlop D218s was consistent no matter what the temperature. I found the limit of the tires very quickly with the Kyle ZX-10. The stopping power of the Brembo Monoblock calipers was more than adequate for any amount of braking for which I took advantage of on many occasions. Just as soon as I passed someone on the brakes into a corner, the throttle was back on and I was leaving autographs all around the track. Long, thick, smooth strips of black rubber on the exits of every corner was evidence that I, and something very special, had been circulating.


Photograph by Dito Milian

At the end of the day, I thought to myself, the last time I had that much fun riding, the FIM was handing me a World Championship Medal.