As far as launch events go, this gathering comprising ‘real’ motorcycle journos and one comedian was… well… intimate. In fact, so small was the group that my usual method of circumventing staffers from my previous place of employment by cocking my head to the side and making zero movement (because I assume they clock in prey through heat signatures or motion detection) failed.
Now for the lady of the hour. You see, ‘secret’ motorcycle unveils are anything but that. In fact, before we even made it through the door to the press conference, a certain rival blogger loudly announced the name of the bike – this may or may not have been a result of a little nudging from yours truly. Also, we had already been handed our press releases for the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.
So what is the ZX-10RR? Built on the ZX-10R, the RR is a more racetrack oriented version of the motorcycle, with some significant updates added on and under its skin.
The engine is the same 998cc inline-four from the ZX-10R but tuned for laptimes quicker by a couple of significant seconds. Its crankshaft has been made lighter to enable better mid-range power and acceleration. Other weight saving measures include constructing the exhaust system out of a lighter, more heat resistant titanium alloy. A “Diamond-like Carbon” coat on the valve tappets is said to reduce friction losses and allow engine break-ins over longer distances. If one opts for the race-kit, which Kawasaki warned us, will be a tad dear, one gets redesigned cylinder heads which can accommodate high-lift race cams.
With great power comes great responsibility and a complement of electronics. Kawasaki’s own traction control, launch control mode and engine brake control are supposed to act as your safety nets while the electronic throttle valves make air intake a more precise and consequently, more efficient affair. Clutchless downshifts were only possible on the ZX-10R if one opted for the race ECU, but with the ZX-10RR, the function comes as standard.
Now for the delicious details distinguishing the race bike from the regular one. The most important change is the addition of aluminium forged seven-spoke Marchesini alloys shod in grippier Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber. For the regular ZX-10R owners, there is some good news – you can fit these wheels on to your bike as and when you want to get it readied for the occasional track day. As on the regular ZX-10R, the brakes are sourced from Brembo, but the suspension has been made a little stiffer for better cornering.
Of course, race bikes are a selfish pleasure, which is why the ZX-10RR comes with a single seat. “So you your wife/girlfriend cannot ride this bike…” smirked the Kawasaki official, “… unless they’re better riders than you are.” Nothing like some casual sexism to get the brotherhood going. The blank faced response of my ex-colleague whose wife is indeed a motorcyclist was the only reassurance I needed that day. But all that room at the rear doesn’t go to waste – mounted to the back is a beautifully crafted cowl wearing the Kawasaki Racing Team’s Winter Test logo – a snowflake. It matches the one you see on the windscreen. An RR stamp on the engine cover and on the key are the other distinguishing elements.
The Kawasaki ZX-10RR is priced at Rs 21.9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), at a premium of Rs 2 lakh over the ZX-10R. The race-kit is about a lakh extra, depending on the options you pick.