Kawasaki Ninja ZX

Made for Wheelies

You have to love Kawasaki’s rationale for improving their already blisteringly-quick 2008 ZX-10R: Give the new components to Kawasaki’s Japanese Superbike rider Akira Yanagawa, have him thrash them to destruction in Japan’s super competitive All Japan Superbike series, any bits that pass the test then get given to the production test team, tweaked, adjusted and generally improved upon, then they are handed back to Yanagawa for more testing.

So, if you don’t like this year’s ZX-10, talk to Yanagawa, although from where I’m sitting, there’s not much wrong with it. Yanagawa himself gave it glowing reviews after his first test ride.

So what’s new for 2008? Pretty much everything actually. A new engine for starters, which includes secondary fuel injectors, oval throttle bodies and reshaped intake ports. A new exhaust system and ram air ducts to increase intake flow. A slipper clutch and improved gear ratios allow more aggressive down shifting and better power delivery.

And to go with the new engine is an all-new frame setup including a new two piece sub frame, a new swing arm (pressed instead of cast) longer steering tube, and increased strength to the main frame by using increased wall thicknesses, and changes to the frame stampings.

New forks, new rear shock, bigger, thinner brake discs and new wheels that are squeeze cast, whatever that is. And to top it all, a complete new styling package.

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