It’s been confirmed that Kawasaki will be releasing a brand new ZX-10 Superbike before the end of the year. The current generation Kawasaki ZX-10 hasn’t had any real updates since 2011 when it was last overhauled and is coming under increasing competition – both on the track and in showrooms – from other updated machines including the Yamaha R1 and Aprilia RSV4 which were both updated this year.
The news comes from Guim Roda who heads up Kawasaki’s World Superbike team. Despite the current generation ZX-10 looking quite old next to some of the competition, Team Kawasaki Racing is leading the champion with Jonathan Rea in first and Tom Sykes in second. Kawasaki obviously doesn’t want to chance its domination and hence its decision to try and keep ahead of the curve.
“We will have a new Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2016. The concept will be the same but, with some details and changes, it will be even more competitive” said Roda. “Given that the current rules are very restricted, the motorbikes have to be developed with an eye on the sport. We are heading on a path that Aprilia, Ducati and BMW have already taken for this year by bringing out new bikes.”
Despite domination on the track, it’s at the dealership where it really counts and here Kawasaki is losing a bit of ground. While updated bikes like the BMW S1000R and Panigale 1299 don’t exactly attract the same type of buyer due to their price, it’s expected that Suzuki will also be soon updating their now ancient GSX-R1000.
So what shape will the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10 take? It probably won’t be a revolutionary overhaul given the DNA is pretty spot on at the moment. Kawasaki will probably take the opportunity to boost power moderately, but the big changes will be in the form of advanced electronics that all updated bikes have been receiving.
That will likely include semi-active suspension (which will accompany the existing Öhlins electronic steering damper) as used on the new R1 and Panigale, as well an internal gyroscopic unit for cornering GPS – both of which ironically aren’t allowed in WSBK anyway.
The other big change will likely be in looks – expect the new ZX-10 to take strong styling cues from the Ninja H2. Given how desirable the H2 is, it makes sense for Kawasaki to build on that and no doubt will provide a big boost to sales. Expect an official release later this year.