Key to the increase in power is a change to finger-follower valve actuation, plus other updates, which increases the Ninja ZX-10R's already impressive engine performance to new levels. Peak horsepower is now higher at 203PS; a figure that can be increased further for track users by the addition of a full race exhaust.
Designed by Kawasaki's MotoGP/WorldSBK engineers, the new valve train is an example of top-level racing technology brought to the Ninja ZX-10R. The new system contributes to increased performance as well as greater reliability during high-rpm operation. Compared to tappet-style valves, finger-follower valve actuation offers a 20% mass reduction in the valve system. It also enables the adoption of more aggressive cam profiles contributing to an approximate 3PS peak power increase whilst DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) on the finger followers protects against wear.
In addition, for 2019, all Ninja ZX-10R variants will come equipped with the same cylinder head ready for high lift cams first introduced on the Ninja ZX-10RR. To denote this change, all models feature a red painted cylinder head cover.
With production limited to 500 numbered units worldwide, the Ninja ZX-10RR is only for the lucky few. The 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR features technical upgrades that include the adoption of exclusive Pankl lightweight titanium connecting rods which not only save in excess of 400g compared to the standard rod set (decreasing the crankshaft moment of inertia by 5%) they also increase the rev limit by 600rpm and increasing the ZX-10RR power to a figure of 204PS without Ram-Air. Additionally front and rear suspension settings are now revised taking into account the impressive reduction in crankshaft inertia.
Apart from “headline changes”, another interesting upgrade for 2019 is the adoption of the KQS dual direction quick-shifter across all models.
Finally, the ZX-10R SE model will feature certain surface areas that are susceptible to wear and scuffing coated in Kawasaki's new Highly Durable Paint process which sees soft and hard segments in the paint coat working together like a chemical spring, creating a trampoline effect allowing light impacts to be absorbed.