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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I will start my post with an explanation to why I'm asking for racers and first hand advice ONLY. All of us here has a friend who has a friend that heard one bike is better than another...I'm not looking for rumors, I need facts :)
So, I'm doing track days and races in a small European league and I need help ASAP.
I own a fully moded 2010 ZX-10R track bike. It has Ohlins front and rear, QS, TC, LC, Rearset, Kawasaki Racing ECU (race track use only), Bodis Exhaust etc. It has 188hp on the Dyno.
I just came back from a race weekend in Greece and I got a chance to ride my friend's new 2015 10R It only has a flashed ECU, K&N air filter, Akra slipon and some race fairings, everything else is stock.
Power wise we were neck to neck but then it was time to brake into a corner and in that area I've noticed a huge difference. With his bike I could brake into corners and the bike was like a train on rails while with mine it felt more like a risk and the bike wasn't stable as I would like. The 2015 was so easy to handle and flick side to side, like a 600cc SSP bike, while mine felt more like a 12R.
I know my suspensions were way to stiff for my paste (I know that after a suspension expert checked it for me at the track) and probably that was the reason for some of the stuff I mentioned but unfortunately I couldn't check it as I crashed and sprained my shoulder.
My questions are:
with some suspensions work,
1. Will it be possible for a Gen3 10R to handle like the 2015?
2. Will it be possible for it to be flickable as a 2015?
3. Would it be possible to brake deep into corners with confidence, without dramas and head shakes and feel the front like on rails, again, like the 2015?
4. Do you think both bikes can do similar lap times (with the same rider and with putting the same effort)? It is important to me as I'm not Valentino Rossi and I need a bike that'll help me get to my full potential.
5. Should I, or Does it worth selling my Gen3 and get a 2013-15 model and do the same mods my friend has?
I know it is hard answering some of my questions but any help will be appreciated.
My friend and I usually has the same paste and we always progressed together. I want to know if I will have to work harder on my moded Gen3 just to match my friend paste while he has to put half the effort...
I hope you guys know what I'm talking about :)

Thanks in advance.
 

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I know you said "racers only", but the short answer is no, you can't make a Gen 3 handle like the Gen 4. The biggest weakness on the older models is the frame. The older frames flex too much and the newer designed frames have addressed this. It's not just about suspension. With suspension mods, you'll be able to do better than what you have, but you won't be able to get to to where the newer models are. Depending on who you're racing against mind you.
 

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Personally I would get your suspension sorted out properly and then ride again. No, your bike will not handle like your friends, they're different bikes, but it sounds like yours can be made quite a bit better.

A lot will come down to your experience as well. What level are you riding at? Same tires? Same pressures? Same brake pads? Rotors? Front master? How far off are your lap times on his bike compared to you on yours?

If you spend the time to develop your own bike it could be great and you'll love it. Moving to a new bike will take time to develop just like any other bike. I'm on year three with my 2011 ZX10 and it's still not perfect but every time I ride it gets closer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know you said "racers only", but the short answer is no, you can't make a Gen 3 handle like the Gen 4. The biggest weakness on the older models is the frame. The older frames flex too much and the newer designed frames have addressed this. It's not just about suspension. With suspension mods, you'll be able to do better than what you have, but you won't be able to get to to where the newer models are. Depending on who you're racing against mind you.
So what you're saying is that the frame is what makes the bike harder to handle compared to the newer model?

Personally I would get your suspension sorted out properly and then ride again. No, your bike will not handle like your friends, they're different bikes, but it sounds like yours can be made quite a bit better.

A lot will come down to your experience as well. What level are you riding at? Same tires? Same pressures? Same brake pads? Rotors? Front master? How far off are your lap times on his bike compared to you on yours?

If you spend the time to develop your own bike it could be great and you'll love it. Moving to a new bike will take time to develop just like any other bike. I'm on year three with my 2011 ZX10 and it's still not perfect but every time I ride it gets closer.
My level of riding is pretty fast, like 5 seconds slower than the track record (by a European champ).
Both bikes has the same tires, Dunlop D212 rear and KR 106 front.
Brake pads are different, mine are better (Vesrah RJL XX).
Stock rotors and M.C.
I guess there is like a 2 sec difference in lap times but its with my suspensions setting all messed up. As I said, I didn't had a chance to check it out due to a highside mishap :)
The other problem is that my bike is not with me.
I'm racing in Europe but live in Israel so it's not possible for me to check or play with the suspensions as much as I like...
I guess what I need to know is, Can I produce the same lap times on both bikes putting the same effort or will it always be easier with the newer model?
Thanks !
 

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I'm all for suspension upgrades, but as someone heavily involved in the performance aspects of suspension and chassis development you will NEVER get the GEN 3 Zed-X 10 to handle even remotely as well as the GEN4 or newer bikes do. Kawasaki made a huge leap forward in the chassis design of the 2011 ZX-10R and despite what many will whine about when I say this the Gen 1 - 3 bikes handle like shit at speed and the professional race teams running those bikes with almost unlimited budgets at the top of the sport still struggled to make them safe to ride let alone competitive.

Kawasaki is continuing to build on those improvements of the Gen4 with the Gen5, but even with all that improvement aftermarket suspension linkages and steering offsets are still going to be the norm for the really fast guys that is just the way things are in the real world and the other manufacturers are right up there with them. All the current bikes are really really good bikes once modded properly, but at the same time older bikes especially from 5 or 6 or 8 years ago like the gen3 Kawi and the CBR1000RR were already deficient when they were new and really pale in comparison to the current crop of machines we have access to.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm all for suspension upgrades, but as someone heavily involved in the performance aspects of suspension and chassis development you will NEVER get the GEN 3 Zed-X 10 to handle even remotely as well as the GEN4 or newer bikes do. Kawasaki made a huge leap forward in the chassis design of the 2011 ZX-10R and despite what many will whine about when I say this the Gen 1 - 3 bikes handle like shit at speed and the professional race teams running those bikes with almost unlimited budgets at the top of the sport still struggled to make them safe to ride let alone competitive.

Kawasaki is continuing to build on those improvements of the Gen4 with the Gen5, but even with all that improvement aftermarket suspension linkages and steering offsets are still going to be the norm for the really fast guys that is just the way things are in the real world and the other manufacturers are right up there with them. All the current bikes are really really good bikes once modded properly, but at the same time older bikes especially from 5 or 6 or 8 years ago like the gen3 Kawi and the CBR1000RR were already deficient when they were new and really pale in comparison to the current crop of machines we have access to.
Thanks for the reply.
From what I understand the Gen4 is much better than the Gen3 regarding handling and stability.
Is it the new frame that makes most if not all of the difference?
I've tried finding out more about the differences between the Gen4 models, like 2011 vs 2013 vs 2015 and beside a shitty Ohlins ESD they've put on in 2013 (I think) I can't really tell the differences.
I think I've read somewhere about changes in electronics but I don't remember where, anyway, I'm pretty sure they did more than just ESD and color schemes...
Can someone shed some light on that?
If anyone has more thoughts about my questions I'll be happy to hear.
Thanks guys !
 

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The 2015 was so easy to handle and flick side to side, like a 600cc SSP bike, while mine felt more like a 12R.
I know my suspensions were way to stiff
Should not be that bad with Ohlins suspention.
You say "way to stiff".
How far is zip tie from mechanical bottom?
 

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Thanks for the reply.
From what I understand the Gen4 is much better than the Gen3 regarding handling and stability.
Is it the new frame that makes most if not all of the difference?
I've tried finding out more about the differences between the Gen4 models, like 2011 vs 2013 vs 2015 and beside a shitty Ohlins ESD they've put on in 2013 (I think) I can't really tell the differences.
I think I've read somewhere about changes in electronics but I don't remember where, anyway, I'm pretty sure they did more than just ESD and color schemes...
Can someone shed some light on that?
If anyone has more thoughts about my questions I'll be happy to hear.
Thanks guys !
Same bikes except for the ESD as you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Should not be that bad with Ohlins suspention.
You say "way to stiff".
How far is zip tie from mechanical bottom?
About 4cm from bottom.

Same bikes except for the ESD as you mentioned.
Really? I could swear I've read somewhere that the 2013 or 2015 has something different with the traction control or some other electronics stuff. Or maybe the T/C has more options/settings?
I know the first model (2011/2) had a recall about the drive train thingy, Would it be safe to assume that if it was changed on a 2011/2 bike it's OK to buy one?
Anyway, If they are really the same bikes it's kinda good news for me :)

THANKS !
 

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About 4cm from bottom.



Really? I could swear I've read somewhere that the 2013 or 2015 has something different with the traction control or some other electronics stuff. Or maybe the T/C has more options/settings?
I know the first model (2011/2) had a recall about the drive train thingy, Would it be safe to assume that if it was changed on a 2011/2 bike it's OK to buy one?
Anyway, If they are really the same bikes it's kinda good news for me :)

THANKS !
No same electronics. I'm on a 2011 and I haven't had any issues. Motor was rebuilt for maintenance purposes and so far it's been a good bike. I like that the electronics (kit ecu/software) are easy to use and simple but at the same time I'm chomping at the bit to get a new 16 because of the updated electronics.

I had issues of the bike being unstable under braking last year. I bumped my front tire pressure up 4psi (37psi on Dunlop slicks) and kept the front a bit higher from bottoming then what you're running, it really helped a lot. The rear feels more planted as the front isn't compressing as much and overloading the front tire. Does the bike have adjustable triples? If not that will make a BIG difference too.

I think you could get your older bike to be better then what it is but IMO you'll be happier on the newer bike once you get it sorted.
 

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Really? I could swear I've read somewhere that the 2013 or 2015 has something different with the traction control or some other electronics stuff. Or maybe the T/C has more options/settings?
I know the first model (2011/2) had a recall about the drive train thingy, Would it be safe to assume that if it was changed on a 2011/2 bike it's OK to buy one?
Anyway, If they are really the same bikes it's kinda good news for me :)

THANKS !
There was no recall for drive train issues with the earlier bikes. The only difference from 2012 to 2013 was the electronic steering damper.
 

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About 4cm from bottom.
4cm is too much, specially for trail braking
If that 4cm is visible tube (mechanical bottom is maybe at 1.5cm tube being visible), then 2.5cm may still be too much.
Don't know gen3, I'm racing gen4 with 2.5cm visible (1cm from mech. botton) and get nice "rear tyre light" feeling at hardest braking.

What is the bike doing or not doing?
Front end "dancing" with hard braking?
Or does it not want to lean over easily and you are fighting it to get turned?

Too stiff springs for your weigth, oil level accidentally tooo high, wheelbase too long, swingarm too flat?
 

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4cm is too much, specially for trail braking
If that 4cm is visible tube (mechanical bottom is maybe at 1.5cm tube being visible), then 2.5cm may still be too much.
Don't know gen3, I'm racing gen4 with 2.5cm visible (1cm from mech. botton) and get nice "rear tyre light" feeling at hardest braking.

What is the bike doing or not doing?
Front end "dancing" with hard braking?
Or does it not want to lean over easily and you are fighting it to get turned?

Too stiff springs for your weigth, oil level accidentally tooo high, wheelbase too long, swingarm too flat?
That depends entirely on the track. If your braking and using almost all of your available stroke and it's getting there very quickly you'll have that unstable feeling. I rode last week on a smooth track and had 2" left before bottoming and the bike felt very stable under hard braking. You've got far less trail when the forks are compressed which will give the bike the "tucking" feeling.
 

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Instead of asking yourself can I get my bike to handle like the 2015, ask yourself can you get comfortable with what you have. If you can get comfortable on the bike and work with the deficiencies, then generally you will be able to drop time. It sounds like your bike is fighting you more than working with you which in turn is causing issues. Find yourself a good suspension/geometry tuner and work with them to figure out what issues you are having and then work to fix them. If you can sort out the bike you might be surprised how fast you can get.
 

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Instead of asking yourself can I get my bike to handle like the 2015, ask yourself can you get comfortable with what you have. If you can get comfortable on the bike and work with the deficiencies, then generally you will be able to drop time. It sounds like your bike is fighting you more than working with you which in turn is causing issues. Find yourself a good suspension/geometry tuner and work with them to figure out what issues you are having and then work to fix them. If you can sort out the bike you might be surprised how fast you can get.

There is a lot of validity to that, but I have to point out that if you used that same argument as if the OP had a 1987 FZR600 and his buddy was on a 2016 R6 the point you make still holds true, but so does the end result. A better handling, more compliant bike allows the rider of any skill level to be more proficient and comfortable. Granted the disparity is exaggerated between an FZR and an R6, but that performance gap still exists with newer bikes.

If you take the effort and modifications it takes to get comfortable on a Gen3 with the handling woes inherent in that model and put that effort and mods into getting comfortable on a Gen4 you would still be that much more ahead of the curve. We aren't talking about subjective street riding here as the OP is interested only in tangible track results.
 

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There is a lot of validity to that, but I have to point out that if you used that same argument as if the OP had a 1987 FZR600 and his buddy was on a 2016 R6 the point you make still holds true, but so does the end result. A better handling, more compliant bike allows the rider of any skill level to be more proficient and comfortable. Granted the disparity is exaggerated between an FZR and an R6, but that performance gap still exists with newer bikes.

If you take the effort and modifications it takes to get comfortable on a Gen3 with the handling woes inherent in that model and put that effort and mods into getting comfortable on a Gen4 you would still be that much more ahead of the curve. We aren't talking about subjective street riding here as the OP is interested only in tangible track results.
Well that goes without saying, and if he was on a '87 FZR my answer would be different. But at what point is the dollar value worth the performance gain compared to massaging his current platform. In otherwords, would he get that much of a "performance advantage" dollar for dollar by selling a gen 3 to get a gen 4 vs spending some time and a little money getting his gen 3 setup to make him comfortable. I personally just dont see it.

Also you and I both know that 95% of the riders out there don't even ride the bikes to their full potential, so things like chassis flex may not even be a issue.
 

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Also you and I both know that 95% of the riders out there don't even ride the bikes to their full potential, so things like chassis flex may not even be a issue.
I agree with that too, but there is more to it than just chassis flex. As much as everyone likes to pretend that their choice of bike is the best sportbike EVER that is just not the case in reality. Chassis flex aside there are glaring problems with geometry and even engine degree orientation in the Gen 3 that makes it handle in an undesirable manner. If you take the same rider with an aptitude or at the very least desire to ride quickly around a race track and put him/her on a Gen3 and then a Gen4 I guarantee you the lap times will be quicker on the Gen4. Additionally if you properly mod the Gen3 and the Gen4 in the ways and with the parts we know improve the handling then the disparity will be even greater. The Gen4 is a much more capable bike than any of the iterations before it and again we are talking about realized results on a racetrack not subjective street riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
4cm is too much, specially for trail braking
If that 4cm is visible tube (mechanical bottom is maybe at 1.5cm tube being visible), then 2.5cm may still be too much.
Don't know gen3, I'm racing gen4 with 2.5cm visible (1cm from mech. botton) and get nice "rear tyre light" feeling at hardest braking.

What is the bike doing or not doing?
Front end "dancing" with hard braking?
Or does it not want to lean over easily and you are fighting it to get turned?

Too stiff springs for your weigth, oil level accidentally tooo high, wheelbase too long, swingarm too flat?
The bike was too hard to ride. I did 8 laps and was exhausted. In March I did 17 laps at the same track and I was fine, a little tired but OK.
I didn't have any feedback from the front, I couldn't tell if it was holding or not.
It was SOOO hard to flick the bike from side to side at the chicane or left to right apexes.
Under braking it was fine but I wasn't pushing it like I can, I didn't had the time to do so due to my shoulder mishap.
Regarding the suspension, I just got them rebuilt by Ohlins in Italy so I know they are OK :)

Instead of asking yourself can I get my bike to handle like the 2015, ask yourself can you get comfortable with what you have. If you can get comfortable on the bike and work with the deficiencies, then generally you will be able to drop time. It sounds like your bike is fighting you more than working with you which in turn is causing issues. Find yourself a good suspension/geometry tuner and work with them to figure out what issues you are having and then work to fix them. If you can sort out the bike you might be surprised how fast you can get.
I actually did find a good suspension guy. I had a race in Misano on last September and I've met a WSBK suspension guy. He was Marco Melandry and Matt Meladin suspension guy :)
He adjusted my suspension but the bike was too stiff.
I met a different suspension guy last week, he was the one to tell me that the bike is way too stiff for my skill.
As I mentioned before, I live in Israel and my bike is in Romania so I can't spend time fixing and adjusting it. I only have 5 days to ride each time I fly so you can understand why I'm short on time.
I love the Gen3 but after only 4 laps with the Gen4 I understood how much better it is. And it is almost stock !
I think I can go down a few more seconds with my bike but I believe it would require less effort to do so on the Gen4.
I spoke to my mechanic and told him I would love to keep the Gen3 and see whats the best I can do with it and then switch to a Gen4 but I'm affraid it is not an option for me. I must decide between the tow.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I agree with that too, but there is more to it than just chassis flex. As much as everyone likes to pretend that their choice of bike is the best sportbike EVER that is just not the case in reality. Chassis flex aside there are glaring problems with geometry and even engine degree orientation in the Gen 3 that makes it handle in an undesirable manner. If you take the same rider with an aptitude or at the very least desire to ride quickly around a race track and put him/her on a Gen3 and then a Gen4 I guarantee you the lap times will be quicker on the Gen4. Additionally if you properly mod the Gen3 and the Gen4 in the ways and with the parts we know improve the handling then the disparity will be even greater. The Gen4 is a much more capable bike than any of the iterations before it and again we are talking about realized results on a racetrack not subjective street riding.
I also agree with you...If on the Gen4 I can use less effort to be faster than that what I would do. I'm racing 28 guys, 70% has 2011-16 ZX10R's, the others are riding BMW's and Ducatis.
I also agree with evallarta1. I don't think I'm using all the Gen3 can do, probably far from it, and I'm also pretty sure I don't ride at a level I could feel the chassis flex. But like he said, so does %95 of the riders out there... So basically what I'm saying is that if nobody uses %100 of any 5 years old bikes, shouldn't they buy one?
I think if I can be faster on a Gen4, I could use the extra effort to be faster on it instead of working so hard just to get where the Gen4 will take me with half the work...
 

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Granted, I'm not a racer, but if you have the funds to do it, I would just go ahead and get the Gen 4. You're only going to be second guessing your skills and your Gen 3 while you're out on the track now, wondering in the back of your mind 'If I had only switched to a Gen 4 would I be faster'. So get the Gen 4, learn the bike, and enjoy your track time! Cheers :eek:ccasion1
 
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