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2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR unveiled

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  • 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR unveiled

    We recently posted about Kawasaki's WSBK team unveiling their 2021 WSBK contender which confirmed the presence of a restyled road bike beyond any doubt. Now, Kawasaki has taken the covers off the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR.

    While the restyle, especially the front fascia remains to be talking point with opinions of people divided, there are a lot more changes than the looks let in on. Before we talk about anything else, we'd like to iterate that the new design, regardless of what anyone thinks about it, has been developed with more track performance in mind.

    How much more? Well, the numbers certainly point towards big gains. The 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR have aerodynamic surfaces hidden behind the panels on either side of the headlights. The nose is claimed to reduce drag as well which is surprising since it does not look as sharp as the previous iteration.

    Overall, the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR boast of 17% more downforce which is even more impressive when you realize that it has been achieved without winglets! The taller windscreen also helps the rider tuck in a little bit better and we all know what happens when they're able to do that.

    Moving on to the rear, which looks more or less the same as before, is also functionally new. In the tail, there are slots in the sides to let air through which aids in reducing drag and create a low pressure behind the rider. There are obvious changes to the fairing as well again, aimed at better aero efficiency and driving the heat away from the rider.

    Apart from the visuals, another major change is the riding position. Kawasaki has refined it with the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and the Ninja ZX-10RR to provide better comfort and control. The handlebars have been moved further forward by 10mm which should provide the rider with more leverage. A steeper slant of the rider's seat encourages a tucked-in riding position which should work well in conjunction with the new windscreen. Lastly, the footpegs are 5mm higher which further accentuates an aggressive riding stance.

    Now, the engine has the same capacity as before, 998cc, but the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR get a new oil-cooler. An official announcement of power and torque figures is awaited but leaked documents point to 203 PS at 13,200 rpm for the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R which arrives slightly lower in the rev range as compared to 13,500 rpm of the previous iteration. The gearing has also been modified with a larger rear sprocket and shorter ratios for 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear for improved acceleration.

    The 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR will be a limited-production (500 units) homologation special which gets more significant engine changes. Firstly, the rev limit is set at 14,700 rpm as compared to 14,200 of the R. It has been achieved with new camshafts, new valve springs, new Pankl pistons with one less piston ring, shorter skirts and DLC-coated piston pins. As is the case with the R, there is no official announcement of the power figures for the 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR but the homologation documents suggest 204 PS at a much loftier 14,000 rpm.

    There are some changes to the geometry to. The swingarm pivot has been moved down by 1 mm on the R and is adjustable on the RR. The swingarm is also 8 mm longer than the old version. The wheelbase is also 10 mm longer at 1,450 mm compared to 1,440 mm on the previous iteration. Moving on to the suspension, on the front we have Showa BFF forks with slightly softer springs and revised fork rigidity and on the rear, Showa BFRC with slightly stiffer spring with softer compression and rebound damping.

    On the electronics front, the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10RR carry over nearly the same set of rider aids as the 2020 unit. A 6-axis IMU takes the centre stage but there have been some changes to the riding mode settings. What's new is the cruise control system and the 4.3" TFT screen with two display modes and Bluetooth connectivity.

    All that said, the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R and the Ninja ZX-10RR do seem like better motorcycles and so, they cost more as well. The 2021 Ninja ZX-10R comes in at £15,799 (around INR 15.63 lakhs) as compared to £14,499 (INR 14.34 Lakhs) of the 2020 model. The 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR is priced at £24,799 (INR 24.53 lakhs) as compared to £21,199 (INR 20.97 lakhs) of the 2020 model. These are directly converted prices so we expect it cost more in India when it comes here.

    Availability is another factor as Kawasaki expects the first of the R models to reach showrooms in May or June 2021. The RR though will start to reach customers in December 2020. Once available, the 2021 Ninja ZX-10R can be had in Matt Black or Green/Black/White/Red colour scheme as shown in the photos. The 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR will only be available in Kawasaki Green.