New Sportbikes and Dual Sport Machines
Kawasaki just revealed to the world some new motorcycles for the 2021 model year. The company teased the reveal a while back, but now the time has come and Kawasaki is pulling the covers off of these motorcycles. I want to go through these each so we have a clear picture of them.
2021 Kawasaki Z H2 SE
The Z H2 was revealed in 2019. Now it gets some updates. The SE version of the bike gets suspension upgrades and some more aggressive braking hardware as well as some technology upgrades.
The big news here is the electronic suspension setup. It’s the Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension. This intelligent suspension system utilizes stroke sensors inside the forks as well as the IMU, FI ECU, and ABS ECU to determine the best way for the suspension to react. It’s a complicated system, but it seems to work rather well.
Kawasaki has also upgraded it with Showa’s Skyhook Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment software. This system modulates the suspension damping force so that the wheels can track the dips and bumps on the road. It should help smooth out the ride even more.
In terms of brakes, you get 320mm discs at the front with Brembo Stylema Monobloc Calipers and a Brembo Master Cylinder. At the rear, there’s a 260mm single disc with a single-piston caliper.
2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR Superbikes
Kawasaki also revealed some new ZX-10R and ZX-10RR motorcycles for 2021. The Ninja ZX-10R gets an engine overhaul with actuated valves, new gear ratios, a new oil cooler, and an exhaust system that makes this bike good for Euro 5 emissions standards. The engine is a 988cc inline four-cylinder and maintains high power.
Kawasaki updated the chassis to improve cornering and handling. It did this by shifting the geometry of the chassis towards the front of the bike more. This allows for a longer swingarm. In the end, the bike is not only more stable but more agile.
Team Green also added the latest electronics for the bike including launch control, ABS, quick shifter, engine braking, and traction control. The bike also gets cruise control and three standard ride modes and four customizable ride modes. There’s also a new TFT dash that connects with the Rideology App.
The bike gets new KRT-developed suspension with Showa Balance Free Fork that provides firmer compression damping and softer rebound. It is adjustable.
The Ninja ZX-10RR Takes things to a new level with revised camshafts. It also has new intake and exhaust valve springs. The intake funnels were removed and Kawasaki added titanium connecting rods and pistons. The ZX-10RR’s rev limit is up higher but the power isn’t all that much more impressive than the ZX-10R, though I’d expect it feels different on the road.
The bike also gets plenty of lightweight materials, including Marchesini forged wheels with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires. The bike isn’t a super-lightweight at 456 pounds, but it’s far from a porker.
2021 Kawasaki KLX300 SM
Many of us hoped for a resurrection of the KLR650, but that didn’t happen. Instead, we get this: the 2021 Kawasaki KLX300 and KLX300 SM. This bike will replace the KLX250. Both the dirt-focused bike and the SM are built on the same platform, and the SM (street bike) is the one that most riders will buzz about.
The bike uses a 292cc single-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed gearbox. The dual-sport bike gets 21-inch and 18-inch wheels front to back. The SM gets a pair of 17-inch rims wrapped in IRC Street Winner tires. The dual-sport bike has a seat height of 35.2 inches, and the SM’s seat height is 33.8 inches. Braking hardware is the same on both bikes with the exception of the rotor, which is 300mm on the SM.
All told, this new dual-sport and supermoto bike looks to be a good addition to Kawasaki’s lineup even if we were hoping for a new KLR650 Swiss-Army-Knife of a motorcycle.