2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE

Within the tech side of the motorcycle industry, electronic suspension is the highlight of pure innovation.

A few bikes quickly come to mind, including the Ducati Multistrada, Yamaha YZF-R1M, BMW S 1000 RR, which all use “semi-active” suspension.

Basically, “semi-active” suspension self adjusts based on ride conditions, whereas others with electronically adjustable suspension allows riders to fine-tune spring preload and damping.

2018 Kawasaki ZX-10R SE top speedThe big news for Kawasaki is that it has brought semi-active suspension to its top superbike. This is the first Kawasaki motorcycle to use semi-active electronic suspension.

Meet the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE. The Ninja SE was unveiled to the American audience at New York City International Motorcycle Show, where it was confirmed for stateside sale.

Following are the essential fast facts of the Ninja ZX-10R SE, with a focus on all the updated parts. For more on the latest edition of the Ninja ZX-10R, read our Ninja ZX-10R Preview.

1. The ZX-10R, which was last updated for 2016 and is the base for three back-to-back World Superbike titles (Jonthan Rea), is now offered with electronically adjustable suspension. The SE’s Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) electronically controls a Showa Balance Free Fork (BFF), which was derived from World Superbike and debuted in 2016 on a mass-production motorcycle with the Ninja ZX-10R, and a Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion (BFRC) unit out back.

2. The electronic suspension adjusts compression and rebound damping in both the fork and the shock through a solenoid valve with direct actuation. This makes adjustments based on vehicle speed, stroke speed and deceleration.

2018 Kawasaki ZX-10R SE price3. The KECS arrives with three modes: road, track and manual. Track provides more aggressive suspension settings over road, and in manual, riders can personal choose between 15 rebound and compression damping settings, all selected electronically on the fly via the instrument panel.

4. The forks and shock have built-in stroke sensors that provide real-time stroke speed and compression information. The sensor coils provide input to the KECS ECU every millisecond. This is complemented by information provided by the IMU (acceleration/deceleration) every 10 milliseconds, and the FI ECU (vehicle speed) every 10 milliseconds. The KECS ECU then directs current to the solenoids to adjust damping as required by the situation.

2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE top speed5. The Ninja ZX-10R SE arrives with Kawasaki Quick Shift (KQS) as standard equipment. This clutchless system, which features auto-blip downshift, is available as an option for the standard Kawasaki ZX-10R.

6. The new ZX-10R SE arrives with seven-spoke forged Marchesini aluminum wheels. The lightweight wheels are wrapped in Bridgestone Battlax RS10 tires (120/70 ZR17 front and 190/55 ZR17 rear).

7. Stopping the The Ninja ZX-10R SE is a Brembo front braking system. This includes the very high specification M50 aluminum monobloc four-piston front calipers (with 30mm opposed pistons) and Brembo front rotors. The rotors are cross-drilled and have a circumferential groove in the outer edge to aid heat dissipation.

2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE semi-active suspension8. The 2018 Kawasaki ZX-10R SE is available in one color: Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphite Gray.

9. Kawasaki set the MSRP at $21,899, which is $3K more than the track-focused ZX-10RR. Availability at dealerships was not reported.

2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE First Look | Photo Gallery