Gen 3: 2008-2010 Might be buying a 2009 ZX10R - Kawasaki ZX-10R.net
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post #1 of 26 Old 07-02-2017, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Might be buying a 2009 ZX10R

Hello Everyone!

Just joined the forum. Thinking about buying a 2009 ZX10R with 5,900 miles in the Anniversary Edition color scheme. Pic attached.

My current primary ride is a 2001 ZRX1200R which I love and plan to keep for a while. My secondary ride which I'll be trading in toward either a used or new bike purchase is my 2002 YZF600R (also considering a brand new 2016 ZX6R from same dealer selling the 09 ZX10R). Previous bikes I've owned were 07' GSXR 750, 02' GSXR 1000, 02' FZ1, 12' Ninja 1000, 16' Versys 650 and the list goes on.

A little background on the kind of riding I do mostly. I commute daily between the northern suburbs of NYC (just north of the Bronx) to Queens, NY and back. About 90% of the ride is on highways at speeds averaging 60-70mph and taking about 30 minutes each way. Lately there has a bit more traffic congestion approaching and going over the main bridge I cross (Throgs Neck) so I do have to do a bit of lane splitting and tend to do so very cautiously and at speeds of 10mph or so because I got busted once by NYPD Highway units doing a dragnet operation for lane splitting. This time of year is especially dangerous as they can be anywhere and I don't need the extra points on my license. A few times a month I have to ride into Manhattan for onsite jobs and always park on the street between cars. On weekends I occasionally like to go out for a spin on the back-roads north of NYC and sometimes that involves a little highway riding to get to the destination of choice.

So I have a few questions about the 2009 ZX10R and would appreciate any feedback from owners past and present of that model or the year before 2008 which I believe is the same gen 3 line. Sorry for such a long intro, but I figured the more you know about my riding pattern and history of bike ownership the better you could answer my questions.

QUESTION 1: IS THERE AN ISSUE WITH A TWITCHY FRONT-END ON GEN 3 MODELS AND DO I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT CONSIDERING MY RIDING STYLE/SITUATION?
I test drove the 09' ZX10R and really loved it overall, except for the baffle-less Voodoo pipe on it now which I would replace with a Yoshimura slip on perhaps. I found the ZX10R much more comfortable and the power manageable (with proper hand control) over my 02' GSXR 1000. But, a Kawasaki trained mechanic who I know told me that the gen 3 models are known to have twitchy front ends and that I might want to consider a later year model such as 2012 or later I think. This mechanic also told me the 2016 ZX6R I was looking at possibly getting was a much better choice in terms of handling and composure. But, I really love the extra torque and deeper engine growl of the ZX10R.

QUESTION 2: HOW MANY MILES CAN YOU GET OUT OF A FULL TANK ON AVERAGE RIDING NOT TOO AGGRESSIVELY?

QUESTION 3: HOW DECENT IS THE HANDLING/COMPOSURE GOING OVER ROUGH ROADS? (RELATED TO QUESTION 1)
On my daily commute, I have to do short stints on the Cross Bronx Highway which was deemed the worst if not one of the worst highways in the U.S. in terms of road condition and I believe it as there are plenty of bumps and potholes along it.

QUESTION 4: WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS AND WORST THINGS IN YOUR OWN OPINION FROM OWNING A GEN 3 BIKE? AND WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO CORRECT OR ALLEVIATE THE WORST THINGS?

That's all for now. Again sorry for such a long, drawn-out intro and post and sorry for any typos...

Looking forward to feedback :)
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post #2 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 07:49 AM
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Disclaimer Never owned a 2009 ZX10R but owned a few Kawasakis


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbnyc View Post
QUESTION 1: IS THERE AN ISSUE WITH A TWITCHY FRONT-END ON GEN 3 MODELS AND DO I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT CONSIDERING MY RIDING STYLE/SITUATION?
Rake and trail numbers can give you an indication of how a bike will perform in the handling department. These are some stock numbers from some notable ZX10R gens

2004-05
Rake: 24 degrees
Trail: 102 mm
WBase: 1385 mm

2008-10
Rake: 25.5 degrees
Trail: 110 mm
WBase: 1415 mm

2011-14
Rake: 25 degrees
Trail: 107 mm
WBase: 1425 mm

You'll see the numbers for gen 1. Shallow rake and low trail, combined with short wheelbase = track bike. Combine that with big power, light weight and no steering damper, and it's no wonder that the bike was considered such an animal back in 04.

My bike is a gen 4 2011 and I can tell you that bike is very stable at the front bordering on difficult to turn. The numbers for the 2008 are not so different, but you can see it has a shorter wheelbase.

I'd imagine the bike is a good comprise between the two extremes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbnyc View Post
QUESTION 2: HOW MANY MILES CAN YOU GET OUT OF A FULL TANK ON AVERAGE RIDING NOT TOO AGGRESSIVELY?
You'll be lucky to get 120 miles to a tank (that includes reserve) on an aggressive ride. Cruising at 70 - 80 MPH (I'm from UK these are legal speeds...Well 80 is speeding but not much)...You should get closer to 140.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbnyc View Post
QUESTION 3: HOW DECENT IS THE HANDLING/COMPOSURE GOING OVER ROUGH ROADS? (RELATED TO QUESTION 1)
Kawasaki's are set up stiff, and generally until recently have had poor quality rear shocks that lack rebound damping. You will feel the bumps put it that way.

The front end on many Kawasaki's however is excellent, with great feedback, but again quite stiff, but the front generally has a better range of adjustment than the rear.

You have to remember of course that the bike was designed with one eye on the WSBK championship, so it's race track credentials trump it's road ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbnyc View Post
QUESTION 4: WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS AND WORST THINGS IN YOUR OWN OPINION FROM OWNING A GEN 3 BIKE? AND WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO CORRECT OR ALLEVIATE THE WORST THINGS?
Can't really answer that, but I have heard that the gen 3 is a return to form of the gen 1. Gen 2 being a little bit soft.

It's an uncompromising bike and a little unsophisticated. Old school. Big power. Rider is fully responsible for not being an idiot with that power (not like today) oh and KIMS on the 2008-09 is not traction control and you can easily crash this bike by giving too much throttle.

It is set up like a race bike with not much consideration for the road.

I think it would be a great bike but if you are looking at speed and comfort from that era, you are probably looking at the 2008 Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade and not the ZX10R.

If someone says oh but Honda is boring, they're an idiot. Stick a pipe on it and set up the fueling and you'll realise why that bike won so much
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Last edited by 10Arghh; 07-04-2017 at 07:54 AM.
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post #3 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
Disclaimer Never owned a 2009 ZX10R but owned a few Kawasakis
Thanks 10Arghh for the insightful feedback and statistics in rake and trail differences between the different generations.

I see you own an 05 GSXR 1000. I had an 02 model and found it to be a bit harsh on NYC roads and also found I had to be extra easy on the throttle with the initial delivery of power being quite intense. The 09 ZX10R I test rode seemed so much tamer when initially twisting the throttle and in the lower rpms. Its gearbox was also smooth as butter. I didn't get a chance to ride it on any extremely bumpy roads, but it felt fairly planted to me and actually more comfortable ergonomically speaking than my 02 GSXR 1000.

I don't plan to track the bike and for longer rides where comfort and a bit better gas mileage and range is desired I can always ride my ZRX1200R. I'm just a little torn between the newer (13-17) ZX6R 636 which I've also test ridden and this ZX10R. My heart says get the ZX10R for the outright power and fantastic sound of the 1000cc deep growl, but my mind says get the ZX6R for the benefits of better fuel economy, geometry and handling. The ZX6R would also be more fun or engaging I suppose on backroads and twisties.
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post #4 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks 10Arghh for the insightful feedback and statistics in rake and trail differences between the different generations.
Hey I know the dilemma.

This may or may not help, but below is one from my personal archives. For the sake of TLDR - As a pure road bike the 636 is fantastic. My friend had the 2004 and he could keep up no problems on rides. He now has a Fireblade and loves it but he kept the 636 for 7 years and loved it for it's engine spread of power compared to other 600s and fantastic handling.


I started out on a sports 125cc Aprilia RS125 and then moved to an '99 R6 after 2 years...I rode and crashed the sh*t out of that bike and learnt a lot for 2 years before moving to a 2004 R1.

I had two of them at the same time for about 6 months (trying to sell the R6) and I would alternate riding the two.

I rode the R6 like an idiot (I was younger then but I'm not that different :D ) and much more aggressively, and although I was learning the R1 at the time, I found the R6 just a bit more exciting in the fact that you could just rev the nuts of it and still stay marginally safe.

I had a lot more respect for the R1 (but I eventually crashed that quite a lot too...only on track) and would not push the envelope as much on the road.

The R1 was a lot like a big 600 as it made power up top...no real midrange unlike the GSXRs...But still I tended to ride a little more lazily as I would not be as concerned with the gears.

For you, I think you need to drill down on how you will use the bike.

I've done 900 miles in a day on a Z1000SX and over 600 miles a day on the R1. That was tiring, but I would have found that a hell of a lot more on a 600.

ZRX is a great bike, but will you want to use the sports bike for medium length journeys...Say 200 - 300 miles? Or are you going to be just doing twisties of say max 100 miles in a day?

Will you commute?

Bear in mind that the newer ZX6R will very likely handle better than the 09 ZX10R not just because it may have less wear and tear, but it will follow more modern design language that the gen 4 plus ZX10R and other Kawasaki's also share.

Don't want to kick you away from the Kawasaki fold, but you know you could compromise and get a GSXR 750 :D

Goodluck with whatever you get...You can't really go wrong as it's been a long time since you could buy a bad Japanese sports bike.

Last edited by 10Arghh; 07-04-2017 at 10:27 AM.
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post #5 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 11:48 AM
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I have owned gen1 , 3 and now 4

Gen3 has a stonking motor but not so good chassis and crap suspension. The front end is poker stiff and kicks off bumps, the rear shock is way too soft. The problems are fixable to a point, but both the gen1 and gen 4 are better handling bikes. I did manage good fuel economy though, about 140 miles to fuel light. Choosing a bike is a highly subjective thing and if you really love the gen3 then go for it, The 2009 SE colours are about the most pleasing to the eye

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post #6 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks 10Arghh for the great input and a little background on your own riding and bike ownership history. I definitely agree with the advantages of a 600 allowing you to wind out the engine more without going into warp speed territory right away like a 1000. My 2002 YZF600R is great for that, and while I love the engine and mid-range torque, the suspension is worn out a bit and the overall design is just too dated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
ZRX is a great bike, but will you want to use the sports bike for medium length journeys...Say 200 - 300 miles? Or are you going to be just doing twisties of say max 100 miles in a day?

Will you commute?
I would be using the ZX10R or ZX6R mostly for daily commuting approximately 30-45 minutes a day, mostly on NYC highways with some rough surfaces. I'd alternate here and there riding the ZRX1200R to mix things up. I like a little variety :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
Bear in mind that the newer ZX6R will very likely handle better than the 09 ZX10R not just because it may have less wear and tear, but it will follow more modern design language that the gen 4 plus ZX10R and other Kawasaki's also share.
No doubt the 2016 ZX6R would be much more flickable and probably better in overall composure on real road surfaces compared to the gen 3 ZX10R from what I'm gathering as I do more research and get more feedback from real owners. The big question is would I really be bothered by the Gen 3 handling shortfalls considering I'm perfectly happy with the limits of the ZRX1200R. But the ZRX is a tank and is quite steady over the worst bumps I encounter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
Don't want to kick you away from the Kawasaki fold, but you know you could compromise and get a GSXR 750 :D
I had two GSXR 750's (04' and 07') and liked them a lot, but really want to try a Kawasaki this time and would prefer to buy from my local dealer who I've known for many years and have bought a few bikes from and trust. Their used bike inventory fluctuates and until recently they had practically no used Japanese sportbikes to speak of, just brand new ones. I was contemplating a leftover 2015 or 2016 GSXR 750, but I just can't stomach the God awful look of the front on the current generation 750's. I just may need to wait a bit, let the Gen 3 ZX10R go if someone else snatches it up first and do a little more contemplating on the subject.
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post #7 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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I have owned gen1 , 3 and now 4

Gen3 has a stonking motor but not so good chassis and crap suspension. The front end is poker stiff and kicks off bumps, the rear shock is way too soft. The problems are fixable to a point, but both the gen1 and gen 4 are better handling bikes. I did manage good fuel economy though, about 140 miles to fuel light. Choosing a bike is a highly subjective thing and if you really love the gen3 then go for it, The 2009 SE colours are about the most pleasing to the eye
Hey renais, thanks for your real-world ownership feedback.

I really like the look of the Gen3, especially the 09 SE colors, but at the end of the day, I'm more interested in the joy of riding and not having to tinker too much to improve handling issues inherently built into the bike. My last "newish" Kawasaki was a 2012 Ninja 1000 and it was a spectacular looking bike, especially in my favorite color black, and had a great engine. However, after owning it for a couple of months, I found it's fueling way to abrupt even after having Ivan do his magic ECU trick up at his shop north of NYC and I found the suspension way to hard on the NYC highway surfaces, even after much tweaking with the stock suspension set up. So I unloaded it and went back to a ZRX1200R.

I've had my 2002 YZF600R for many years now and love it as my alternate bike. But the YZF is starting to show its age in terms of handling and I don't feel like putting money into such an old design to try to bring back its better handling characteristics from its earlier days. So, that is why I'm still open to a new ZX6R for the shear flickability factor and being able to wind out the engine without as much fear of death as a 1K bike. Also, since I plan to keep my ZRX1200R, I'll always be able to satisfy my torque and big engine cravings when the desire arises I guess. But I do love that Gen 3 engine and smooth gearbox, not to mention growl.
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post #8 of 26 Old 07-04-2017, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks 10Arghh for the great input and a little background on your own riding and bike ownership history. I definitely agree with the advantages of a 600 allowing you to wind out the engine more without going into warp speed territory like a 1000. My 2002 YZF600R is great for that, but she's getting a little old in terms of the suspension and I don't feel like putting any money into improving it on such an old design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
ZRX is a great bike, but will you want to use the sports bike for medium length journeys...Say 200 - 300 miles? Or are you going to be just doing twisties of say max 100 miles in a day?

Will you commute?
I would be using the ZX10R or ZX6R mostly for daily commuting approximately 30-45 minutes a day, mostly on NYC highways with some rough surfaces. I'd alternate here and there riding the ZRX1200R to mix things up. I like a little variety :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
Bear in mind that the newer ZX6R will very likely handle better than the 09 ZX10R not just because it may have less wear and tear, but it will follow more modern design language that the gen 4 plus ZX10R and other Kawasaki's also share.
No doubt the 2016 ZX6R would be much more flickable and probably better in overall composure on real road surfaces compared to the gen 3 ZX10R from what I'm gathering the more research I do and feedback I get from actual owners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Arghh View Post
Don't want to kick you away from the Kawasaki fold, but you know you could compromise and get a GSXR 750 :D
I had two GSXR 750's (04' and 07') and liked them a lot, but really want to try a Kawasaki sportbike this time. I also prefer to buy from my local dealer (Suzuki and Kawasaki dealer) who I've know for many years, trust, gives me good deals and have bought a few bikes from before. The dealer's used sportbike inventory fluctuates and until recently they had nothing I was interested in, that is until they got the 09 ZX10R :O

My original plan, actually, was to replace my secondary, alternate bike (02 YZF600R) with a brand new 2016 ZX6R. But the damn 09 ZX10R that cropped up in the dealer inventory sidetracked me :D

So, what I think I may do now is wait a bit and mull things over, perhaps look for some Gen 4 bikes to test ride at nearby dealerships or private sellers to get a comparative idea. I think I'd be more than happy with the ZX6R 636, but I was quite hooked on the ZX10R's character and engine. If I wait too long, chances are someone else will snatch up the 09 ZX10R. But, if I do end up wanting to go with a ZX10R, I think I'd be better off waiting and getting a Gen 4 if it is really true that the geometry, handling and suspension is much better over the Gen 3. I would also probably have to buy through a private seller or different dealership that had one in their used inventory.
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post #9 of 26 Old 07-05-2017, 03:05 AM
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You're right about the gen 3 motor and the tranny is about as smooth as it gets. The intake growl is lost if you fit an after market exhaust, which is one reason I left it stock The 636 is a lovely bike to ride, but if you're hankering after the power of a litre bike the gen 4 is very rider friendly and as a street bike, pretty good bone stock. The gen 1 is more thrilling to ride, but it can bite Kwack suspension doesnt ever appear to be as well set up or thought out, as the other big 3 Jap bikes, but I love the motors and the build quality is pretty good these days. Value for money seems better too

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post #10 of 26 Old 07-05-2017, 06:34 AM
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As renais says, if you can stretch to a gen 4, you should.

Try one out. I think you'll love it.

I think Kawasaki sometimes skimp in the wrong areas...Whereas Suzuki do it on paint...Kawasaki does it on suspension....I know which is more important to me.

The gen 5 ZX10R was a turning point for the better though as I think it had the best quality suspension for a stock bike in it's price range.

Also Kawasakis don't seem to hold their value, so you can get good deal normally on a used bike that is not that old.

It's quite interesting if you compare a gen 1 S1000RR to a gen 4 ZX10R...

The 10R is usually cheaper even though it is newer, and in many ways the better bike.

However the BMW badge commands greater prestige, even though that particular bike has not been as successful at the job it was designed for.

Last edited by 10Arghh; 07-05-2017 at 06:37 AM.
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