Kawasaki has released details on some of their 2013 street models. Highlights are an ABS option on the Ninja 650 and a smart new electronic steering damper designed in partnership with Öhlins for the ZX-10R. The 10R also gets a new colour option, as does the Ninja 650, and the MSRP goes up $300 for the 10. Also released are an apparently unchanged KLR 650 AND KLX 250S.
2013 Kawasaki ZX-10R
The Kawasaki Ninja® ZX™-10R ABS superbike combines anti-lock braking with the numerous technological benefits of the class leading ZX-10R. And it does it with rider-sensitive, race-bred attributes derived from competing and winning at the highest levels.
Kawasaki has developed a new electronic steering damper for the 2013 ZX-10R ABS sportbike, in joint cooperation with Öhlins. Controlled by a dedicated ECU located under the gas tank cover, this new damper reacts to the rate of acceleration or deceleration, as well as rear wheel speed, to help provide the ideal level of damping force across a wide range of riding scenarios. The variable damping provides optimum rider feedback by enabling the use of lower damping forces during normal operation, without sacrificing the firm damping needed for high-speed stability. The result is a light and nimble steering feel at low speed, as well as superior damping at higher speeds or during extreme acceleration/deceleration. The anodized damper unit incorporates Öhlins’ patented twin-tube design to help ensure stable damping performance and superior kickback absorption. It is mounted horizontally at the front of the fuel tank and requires very few additional components and ads almost no weight compared to last year’s steering damper.
At first, anti-lock braking might seem a touch out of place on a purebred sportbike. But this system was designed from the start to maximize performance. And when you consider the many benefits provided by the amazing electronic and hardware technology available today, it begins to make a lot of sense.
Think of it: You’re braking for a blind, decreasing-radius corner after a long day of sport riding. Shadows are long and you’re tired, so you don’t notice a patch of sand until it’s too late to correct. But instead of tucking as you continue braking through the sand, your front tire maintains most of its traction, as the anti-lock braking system intervenes until the surface improves – allowing you to arc gracefully into the corner, a little wiser and a lot more intact physically than you might have been riding a non-ABS motorcycle.
Kawasaki calls its anti-lock system KIBS – or Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System. The use of “intelligent” is apropos, too, considering just how smart the KIBS is. It all starts with the smallest and lightest ABS unit ever built for a motorcycle, one designed by Bosch specifically with sport bikes in mind. It’s nearly 50 percent smaller than current motorcycle ABS units, and 800 grams lighter, adding only about 7 pounds of weight compared to the non-ABS machine, a pound of which is accounted for by the larger battery.
KIBS is a multi-sensing system, one that collects and monitors a wide range of information taken from wheel sensors (the same ones collecting data on the standard ZX-10R for its S-KTRC traction control system) and the bike’s ECU, including wheel speed, caliper pressure, engine rpm, throttle position, clutch actuation and gear position. The KIBS’s ECU actually communicates with the bike’s engine ECU and crunches the numbers, and when it notes a potential lock-up situation, it tells the Bosch ABS unit to temporarily reduce line pressure, allowing the wheel to once again regain traction.
Aside from this system’s ultra-fast response time, it offers a number of additional sport-riding benefits, including rear-end lift suppression during hard braking, minimal kickback during ABS intervention, and increased rear brake control during downshifts. The high-precision pressure control enables the system to maintain high brake performance, proper lever feel and help ensure the ABS pulses are minimized.
The rest of the 2013 Ninja ZX-10R ABS is equally advanced. Complete with a powerful engine and lightweight chassis, it also boasts a highly advanced and customizable electronic system that allows riders to harness and experience the ZX-10R ABS’s amazing blend of power and razor-edge handling. The system is called Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control.
Motorcyclists have forever been challenged by traction-related issues, whether on dirt, street or track. And when talking about the absolute leading edge of open-class sport bike technology, where production street bikes are actually more capable than full-on race bikes from just a couple years ago, more consistent traction and enhanced confidence is a major plus.
The racing-derived S-KTRC system works by crunching numbers from a variety of parameters and sensors – wheel speed and slip, engine rpm, throttle position, acceleration, etc. There’s more data gathering and analysis going on here than on any other Kawasaki in history, and it’s all in the name of helping racers inch closer to the elusive “edge” of maximum traction than ever before. The S-KTRC system relies on complex software buried in the ZX-10R’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU); the only additional hardware is the lightweight speed sensors located on each wheel.
Unlike the KTRC system on Kawasaki’s Concours™ 14 ABS sport tourer, which primarily minimizes wheel slip on slick or broken surfaces as a safety feature, the S-KTRC system is designed to maximize performance by using complex analysis to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavorable. By quickly but subtly reducing power just before the amount of slippage exceeds the optimal traction zone, the system – which processes every data point 200 times per second – maintains the optimum level of tire grip to maximize forward motion. The result is significantly better lap times and enhanced rider confidence – exactly what one needs when piloting a machine of this caliber.
The S-KTRC system offers three different modes of operation, which riders can select according to surface conditions, rider preference and skill level: Level 1 for max-grip track use, Level 2 for intermediate use, and Level 3 for slippery conditions. An LCD graph in the high-tech instrument cluster displays how much electronic intervention is occurring in real time and a thumb switch on the left handlebar pod allows simple, on-the-go mode changes.
The potent ZX-10R engine is a 16-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four displacing 998cc via 76 x 55mm bore and stroke dimensions. This powerplant is tuned to optimize power delivery, center of gravity and actual engine placement within the chassis. Torque peaks at an rpm range that helps eliminate power peaks and valleys that make it difficult for racers and track-day riders to open the throttle with confidence.
A primary goal of Kawasaki engineers was linear power delivery and engine manageability throughout all elements of a corner: the entry, getting back to neutral throttle at mid-corner, and heady, controllable acceleration at the exit. Peak torque was moved to a higher rpm range, which eliminates the power peaks and valleys that make it difficult for racers and track-day riders to open the throttle with confidence.
Large intake valves complemented by wide, polished intake ports allow for controllable power delivery and engine braking, just the thing to smooth those racetrack corner entries and exits. Camshafts built from chromoly steel further contribute to optimized engine braking and more controllable power delivery. Lightweight pistons mount to light and strong connecting rods. Compression is a full 13.0:1.
A race-style cassette transmission allows simple trackside ratio changes. An adjustable back-torque limiting clutch assembly is fitted, which allows worry-free downshifts and corner-entry calmness.
Cramming all that fuel and air into this amazing engine is a ram air-assisted fuel injection system featuring large throttle bodies (47mm) and sub-throttle valves, a large capacity airbox (9 liters), secondary injectors that improve top-end power characteristics, and a large ram-air intake that’s positioned close to the front of the bike for efficient airbox filling and power.
The final piece of the ZX-10R’s power-production formula is a race-spec exhaust system featuring a titanium header assembly, hydroformed collectors, a large-volume pre-chamber containing two catalyzers and a highly compact silencer. Due to the header’s race-spec design, riders and racers looking for more closed-course performance need only replace the slip-on muffler assembly.
With the engine producing a massive quantity of usable and controllable power, engineers looked to the chassis to help refine handling and overall road/track competency. The aluminum twin-spar frame is an all-cast assemblage of just seven pieces that features optimized flex characteristics for ideal rider feedback, cornering performance and light weight. Like the frame, the alloy swingarm is an all-cast assembly, with rigidity matching that of the frame itself.
Chassis geometry offers excellent stability and handling quickness. The front end geometry – with rake at 25 degrees and trail at 107mm (4.21 in.) – allows light, quick handling and complements the engine’s controllable power and the frame and swingarm’s flex characteristics.
Highly advanced suspension at both ends helps as well. Up front is a 43mm open-class version of the Big Piston Fork (BPF). Featuring a piston design nearly twice the size of a conventional cartridge fork, the BPF offers smooth action, less stiction, light weight and enhanced damping performance on the compression and rebound circuits. This compliance results in more control and feedback for the rider – just what you need when carving through a rippled sweeper at your local track or negotiating a decreasing-radius corner on your favorite backroad.
Suspension duties on the ZX-10R are handled by a Horizontal Back-Link design that positions the shock and linkage above the swingarm. Benefits include mass centralization, good road holding, compliance and stability, smooth action in the mid-stroke and good overall feedback. The fully adjustable shock features a piggyback reservoir and dual-range (low- and high-speed) compression damping.
Lightweight gravity-cast three-spoke wheels complement the tire fitment. Up front, Tokico radial-mount calipers grasp 310mm petal discs and a 220mm disc is squeezed by a lightweight single-piston caliper in back. The result is powerful stops with plenty of rider feedback and the added confidence of the KIBS ABS system.
Finally, Kawasaki engineers wrapped all this technology in bodywork as advanced and stylish as anything on this side of a MotoGP grid. The curvy edges and contrasting colored and black parts create a sharp, aggressive image. Line-beam headlights grace the fairing while LED turn signals are integrated into the mirror assemblies. Convenient turn-signal couplers allow easy mirror removal for track-day use. The rear fender assembly holding the rear signal stalks and license plate frame is also easily removable for track days. High-visibility LED lamps are also used for the taillight and position marker.
The instrumentation is highlighted by an LED-backlit bar-graph tachometer set above a multi-featured LCD info screen with numerous sections and data panels. A wide range of information is presented, including vehicle speed, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel consumption, Power Mode and S-KTRC level, low fuel, water temperature and much more. For track use, the LCD display can be set to “race” mode which moves the gear display to the center of the screen.
The ZX-10R’s ergonomics are designed for optimum comfort and control. A 32-inch saddle, adjustable footpegs and clip-ons mean that this is a hard-core sport bike you can actually take on an extended sport ride – and still be reasonably comfortable doing so.
The old saying, “power is nothing without control” is certainly apt where open-class sport bikes are concerned. But when you factor in all the engine, chassis and ergonomic control designed into the 2013 Ninja ZX-10R, you begin to realize you’re looking at one very special motorcycle – one that can take you places you’ve never been before.
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression ratio: 13.0:1
Fuel system: DFI® with four 47mm Keihin throttle bodies with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Final drive: Chain
Rake / trail: 25.0 degrees / 4.2 in.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 190/55 ZR17
Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 43mm inverted Big Piston Fork (BPF), adjustable rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Horizontal back-link with gas-charged shock, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 5.5 in.
Front brakes: Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Braking (KIBS), dual semi-floating 310mm petal discs with dual four-piston radial-mount calipers
Rear brakes: KIBS-controlled, single 220mm petal disc with aluminum single-piston caliper
Overall length: 81.7 in.
Overall width: 28.1 in.
Overall height: 43.9 in.
Seat height: 32.0 in.
Curb weight: 443.2 lbs. (436.6lbs without ABS)
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Color choices: Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black, Pearl Flat White/Metallic Spark Black
MSRP: $ 15,299
Warranty: 12 Months
Good Times™ Protection Plans: 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650
Precious few motorcycles can combine the performance, style and value of a Kawasaki Ninja® 650, even fewer can offer the peace of mind that comes with ABS brakes and premium Dunlop Roadsmart II tires. The new 2013 Ninja 650 ABS is one bike that can do it all!
This practical sportbike features a great looking perimeter-style frame, and angular bodywork to help set it apart from the crowd. The easy to read analog and digital instrumentation, responsive engine performance, and a comfortable seat that isn’t too tall for shorter riders, allow the Ninja 650 to shine in almost any role, from track days to commuting to sport touring. And the addition of optional ABS brakes for 2013 boosts the Ninja 650 to a higher-level than ever!
It all starts in the engine bay, where an advanced, highly compact, liquid-cooled 649cc parallel twin works its magic with help from a digital fuel injection (DFI®) system featuring 38mm throttle bodies with sub-throttles for precise fueling and optimum response. This ultra-narrow engine produces substantial power with plenty of character – especially down low and in the mid-range – from an impressive array of technology, including double overhead camshafts acting on eight lightweight valves. Lightweight pistons run in plated, linerless cylinders, while a 180-degree crank assembly – coupled with a balancer shaft – maintains a surprising level of smoothness.
This has always been a brilliant streetbike engine – torquey, smooth, and happy to rev, with enough satisfying low- and mid-range oomph to please novices and experts alike. Figure in the Ninja 650’s estimated 50-mpg* fuel economy, precise fuel injection and its pleasing twin-cylinder throb, and you’re looking at what just might be the most flexible and satisfying streetbike engine on the planet.
Wrapping around that wonderfully usable engine is a twin-pipe perimeter frame that offers balanced rigidity, and a narrow-waisted design for a comfortable reach to the ground. The frame is slim, light, compact and aesthetically pleasing, while a swingarm with forged axle holders lets the rear wheel arc through its suspension travel in style. A backbone-type subframe offers excellent carrying capacity.
Combined with the front and rear suspension settings, the overall chassis setup – which includes Dunlop’s Roadsmart II tires – amplifies the “sporty-yet-comfortable” ethos that’s won so many fans for the Ninja 650 over the years.
Both the handlebar and saddle are rubber-mounted, along with the footpegs, for even more vibration-free comfort. And while enjoying all that ergonomic goodness, you’ll gaze upon an instrument panel featuring an analog tachometer situated above an LCD info-center that displays speed, fuel consumption, remaining range, trip meters, etc., plus a swath of info-lights to the right.
Folks watching you ride by will see a sleek and aggressively styled motorcycle, as well. The bodywork is sharply defined and similar to our race-winning supersport machines, with flowing lines and a tapered brow that blends nicely with the rest of the bike. The body parts add to its aerodynamic tendencies, while an adjustable, 3-position windscreen allows riders to tailor the cockpit’s still-air cocoon for maximum riding comfort. Engine heat is routed rearward, further adding to the comfort level.
It all adds up to one sweet mid-sized sportbike, one that works superbly for novices and vets – not an easy feat. Pull away from a light and the 650’s torquey engine, light-pull clutch and perfect throttle response make quick work of the job. Crisp, linear ABS brakes help minimize drama and make slowing down a simple affair, while the low seat height gives riders max confidence once stopped. And light steering and maneuverability keep novices grinning all day long. Experts will love the Ninja’s powerful yet flexible engine, modern suspension, disc brakes and nimble handling. And the aggressive styling looks like it’s going 100 mph, even when sitting still.
The 2013 Ninja 650 ABS sportbike really can do it all – whether it’s commuting, cruising, touring or apex-strafing.
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, parallel twin
Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.8:1
Fuel injection: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Final drive: O-ring chain
Frame: Twin-pipe perimeter design, high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 in.
Wheelbase: 55.5 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 4.9 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with adjustable spring preload / 5.1 in.
Front tire: Dunlop Roadsmart II 120/70x17
Rear tire: Dunlop Roadsmart II 160/60x17
Front brake: ABS with dual 300mm petal discs and two-piston calipers
Rear brake: ABS with single 220mm petal disc and single piston caliper
Overall length: 83.1 in.
Overall width: 30.3 in.
Overall height: 46.5 in.
Seat height: 31.7 in.
Curb weight: 465.3 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.2 gal.
Colors: Pearl Stardust White, Candy Thunder Blue, Metallic Flat Spark Black
MSRP: $ 8,099
Warranty: 12 months
Good Times™ Protection Plans: 12, 24, 36 or 48 months