Kawasaki is a well-known brand when it comes to premium sports bikes and superbikes. The company believes that there is always some room for improvement, no matter how good you are. And while the RR model is the basis of the WSB race bike, with engine changes to let more tuning potential, the new SE promises to be the ultimate road-going form of the ZX-10R. It gets a brand new acronym: KECS. That stands for Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension and it’s a system jointly developed by the firm and Showa, adding semi-active ride to the ZX-10R for the first time. Add a classy-looking green and black paint scheme, the same frothy Marchesini wheels used on the ZX-10RR and that bike’s up-and-down quick-shifter into the mix, and it looks like the ZX-10R SE will be the version to have in 2018. Performance is unchanged, with the same 200PS power claim as the other ZX-10R models. Weight is improved on the SE, but only marginally; its curb mass is 208kg associated to 206kg for the normal ZX-10R.
The semi-active suspension is, of course, the headline technology of the ZX-10R SE. It’s the first time we’ve seen Showa’s take on the idea, which has been pioneered by the likes of Ohlins and WP. Unlike rivals that use stepper motors to adjust their damping settings on the fly, the Showa system is based on a direct-acting solenoid. The firm rights it’s faster to answer than other preparations, with a reaction time of just one millisecond. It takes its information from stroke sensors on both the front and rear, which tell the computer what direction the suspension is moving, and how fast, 1000 times per second. The bike’s inertial measurement unit and fuel addition computer add more information 100 times /second, letting the KECS computer choose how to adjust the damping.
As the rider, the changes should be seamless and undetectable, although you’re also given the choice of three modes – road, track or manual. Road is softer, track is harder and manual allows personalized base settings from 15 steps compression and rebound. The new version is on the heavier side weighing 2 KGs more than its previous version. This is due to the new suspension system, though some of it is achieved by the lighter wheels. It also gets a unique black color with green highlights. It is speculated that Kawasaki will carry this bike in limited numbers to India.