2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS
Simply Put, the World’s Ultimate Sporting Motorcycle
It’s hard to imagine a more advanced or more capable sportbike than the completely new and totally redesigned Kawasaki Ninja® ZX™-10R. After all, it packs the very latest in sport bike technology, much of it right off the MotoGP circuit, including the most advanced traction-control system in production bike history.
But the ZX-10R has an even smarter sibling – the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R ABS.
At first glance, anti-lock braking might seem a touch out of place on a purebred sportbike. This system was designed from the start to provide maximum on-track performance. And when you consider the many safety- and control-oriented benefits provided by the amazing electronic and hardware technology available today, it begins to make a lot of sense.
Think of it: You’re charging into a hairpin during a track day. It’s late in the afternoon, you’re tired, and your front tire is shagged from a day of hard-core knee-dragging. But instead of tucking as you squeeze the front brake lever, your front tire chirps briefly and the KIBS system intervenes until traction returns – allowing you to arc gracefully into the corner, a little wiser and a lot more intact physically that you might have been riding a non-ABS motorcycle. On the street, anti-lock’s benefits are even easier to realize.
Kawasaki calls its all-new anti-lock system KIBS – or Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System. The use of “intelligent” is apropos, too, considering just how smart the new KIBS is. It all starts with the smallest and lightest ABS unit ever built for a motorcycle, one Bosch designed 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 and race track 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 avoid reduced brake performance (sometimes seen on less advanced systems), maintain proper lever feel and help ensure the ABS pulses are minimized.
The rest of the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R ABS is equally advanced. Not only are we talking about a complete redesign of the Big Ninja’s engine, frame, suspension, bodywork, instrumentation and wheels, but a highly advanced and customizable electronic system that allows riders of all skill levels to harness and experience the new ZX-10R ABS’s amazing blend of power and razor-edge handling. The system – called Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control, or S-KTRC – represents a whole new dimension in sport motorcycling, and the ZX-10R ABS is the only production sport bike that can take you there.
Motorcyclists have forever been challenged by traction-related issues, whether on dirt, street or track. Riders that can keep a rear tire from spinning excessively or sliding unpredictably are both faster and safer, a tough combination to beat on the racetrack. 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 MotoGP-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 new 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 newly designed 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 system also incorporates an advanced Power Mode system that allows riders to choose the amount of power – and the character of delivery – available from the engine. Besides the standard full-power mode are Medium and Low settings. In Medium mode, performance varies according to throttle position and engine rpm; at anything less than 50 percent throttle opening, performance is essentially the same as in Low mode; at more than 50 percent, riders can access additional engine performance. All three S-KTRC settings are available in each of the three Power Mode settings.
Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-lock Braking System (KIBS)
- The most advanced anti-lock braking system ever utilized on a production motorcycle
- Utilizes the smallest and lightest ABS unit available – a Bosch-built unit that’s half the size of a standard unit and considerably lighter
- KIBS monitors a wide range of data, including front and rear wheel speed, throttle position, gear selection, engine rpm, caliper pressure, clutch actuation and more to help prevent wheel locking
- High-precision brake pressure control offers a number of sport riding benefits, including rear-end lift suppression, minimal kickback during operation and consistent lever feel
- ABS unit is located close to the bike’s center of mass, behind the left engine cylinder, which minimizes the effects of the added weight
- System uses wheel speed sensors already fitted to the non-ABS ZX-10R (used for S-KTRC traction control system)
- A radial-pump front master cylinder provides the ultimate in front brake feel and feedback
- Tokico radial-mount brake calipers use dual pads and offer a superb initial bite, increased control, progressive feel and a high degree of feedback to the rider
- A pair of 5.5mm thick, 310mm petal discs provides the heat dissipation needed to maintain brake feel and responsiveness during extended heavy use
- A 220mm rear petal disc gripped by a single-piston caliper provides excellent feel and feedback