2019 Kawasaki ZX-10R and ZX-10RR First Look
Kawasaki’s last major update of its Ninja ZX-10R occurred for 2016. That year, the ZX-10R was updated with not only more power from its 998cc inline-four, but also electronics, including engine braking control, launch control, ABS, cornering ABS, a quick shifter and three power modes. Until then the big Ninja only featured ABS and traction control.
The bike was more than capable, as proven by Jonathan Rea who won the 2015 and 2016 titles aboard the ZX-10R. Rea further won the 2017 and 2018 titles aboard the race-ready ZX-10RR platform.
Though already a winner – the ZX-10R in previous editions won three SBK titles (2013 with Tom Sykes, 2015-2016 with Rea) and the ZX-10RR two titles (2017, 2018 with Rea) – Kawasaki has once again updated both models for 2019.
Following are the fast facts in regards to updates for the 2019 Ninjas.
1. Both the ZX-10R and ZX-10RR had major updates to their 998cc inline-four 16-valve engines for improved power and a wider powerband. The major changes are:
- A new finger-follower valve actuation designed by the World Superbike engineers, which allows for a more aggressive cam profile and quicker valve openings for increased performance.
- A new cylinder head that provides the clearance to accommodate high-lift racing cams for increased high-RPM performance; this was only available on the 2017 and 2018 ZX-10RR models. The valve covers are also now red.
2. Besides the above changes, the 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR was further updated with lightweight titanium connecting rods, which are lighter than the ZX-10R’s, allowing the RR to rev 600 rpm higher.
3. The dual-direction Kawasaki Quick Shifter (DQS) is now standard on both models, allowing for clutchless up and down shifting. This previously was only available with Kawasaki’s race-kit ECU.
4. The ZX-10RR receives updated suspension settings. Kawasaki says the settings were revised on the Showa Balance Free Fork (BFF) and Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion (BFRC) Lite shock absorber. The suspension updates work in conjunction with the added advantage to handling offered by the lightweight, power-boosting Pankl titanium connecting rods.
5. Other performance upgrades to the base ZX-10RR are as follows:
- Ohlins Electronic Steering Damper
- Seven-Spoke Marchesini Forged Aluminum Wheels
- Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires (over Bridgestone RS10 tires found on the Ninja ZX-10R)
6. The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is available in four colors at the following prices:
- Ninja ZX-10R: Pearl Storm Gray / Metallic Spark Black, $15,099
- Ninja ZX-10R KRT:Lime Green / Ebony / Metallic Graphite Gray, $15,399
- Ninja ZX-10R ABS: Pearl Storm Gray / Metallic Spark Black, $16,099
- Ninja ZX-10R ABS KRT: Lime Green / Ebony / Metallic Graphite Gray, $16,399
As for the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, it will be available in Lime Green with a customized paint scheme; a price has yet to be released.