In October this year, Jonathan Rea won his 6th World Super bike title during the final round of the 2020 season. The Kawasaki Racing Team racer clinched the title on his Ninja ZX-10RR during the Tissot-Superpole race. Now, just weeks later, the 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR and ZX-10R have finally been revealed, sporting a major bodywork change and engine upgrades. The ZX-10R remains the manufacturer’s street-bound superbike, while the ZX-10RR is more racing-orientated, complete with competition-grade parts. All eyes are currently on the new motorcycle offerings as Rea begins his preparation for what promises to be a stellar 2021 World SBK season.
A motorcycle with Bluetooth smartphone connectivity
The 2021 ZX-10R is a trailblazer as far as innovative technology is concerned. It has been updated with Bluetooth smartphone tech, which allows riders to make use of Kawasaki’s state-of-the-art Rideology app. The app allows the rider to access a number of features, including vehicle info, riding log, and general settings tuning. The ZX-10R’s instrumentation has also undergone a significant upgrade, and now features a racing-style shift light, a selection of two screen colors (black and white) with auto-adjusting brightness, and two display modes: one for the road and one for the race track.
The engine sports a few differences
A number of changes have been made to the 2021 ZX-10RR engine. The intake funnels have been moved, and a new camshaft, together with a new exhaust and intake springs, has been fitted. The new engine makes use of finger-follower valve actuation instead of the more traditional tappet-style valve actuation: it is at least 20% lighter, which is conducive to a far higher rev threshold. Other changes include the use of titanium conrods and intake/exhaust valves. Parts made from titanium bar are typically a lot lighter, which can reduce the inertia mass of the moving parts, while allowing the engine to spin at a faster speed. Additionally, a brand new air-to-air oil cooler now separates the engine coolant from the oil. In older models, the coolant was circulated to the oil cooler from the radiator, before being routed back to the engine.
New ergonomics for a new bike
The ergonomics on the 2021 ZX-10R also got somewhat of an overhaul. The windscreen is considerably taller, and is set at a steeper angle in order to decrease wind blasts while traveling at high speeds. The seat has been adjusted, and is now higher at the back to raise the rider’s position when racing. Compared to the current model, the handlebar is placed further forward and more horizontal. In a bid to optimize both comfort and performance, the footpegs have been raised 5mm, making it easier for the rider to weigh them while cornering at a high speed on bike.
Kawasaki has employed the latest auto tech to make their 2021 ZX-10R and ZX-10RR as cutting-edge as possible. Considering how promising these bikes are looking, Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea may very well clinch his 7th world title next year.