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I love my ZX10R (even though the motor is half apart, again). But they only made the Gen3 from 2008-2010 and have noticed parts aren't easily available for these bikes like other Gen's.

I have read on here that Gen4's and Gen5's are much better riding bikes, and Kawasaki quickly went to the Gen4 after a short run with the Gen3. I know the suspension is a point that people like to harp on, but that is somewhat easily correctable with tuning/adjustments.

You would think the Gen3 - being the last generation before rider assists (ABS, TCS, Power modes, etc) would be a but more desirable, but it seems like the performance industry and ZX10R riders are really geared towards Gens 1-2 and Gens 4-6.

I'm asking because this is the first literbike I've owned (almost a year now) and maybe I just don't know any better. I love the way it looks too, especially from certain angles. It does seem a bit harder to make obnoxious power out of these things though compared to the newer gens.

With that said, I REALLY like the Gen5's and the Gen6's are close behind, but have ridden neither of them. The only other literbike I've run was my buddies 2009 R1 and I wasn't super impressed with it

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I'm a newbie to the zx-10r so take what I say with a grain of salt but...

I feel like this question is only gonna be applicable to a dedicated track-day rider who is already riding at a high level, if that's you then you're probably asking the right questions.

For street riding the performance differences are probably not that important, although I did hear that from gen 2 on, the bikes became less 'fun' for the street due to the concentration of performance being increasingly at the top end.

Liking the look of the bike for me is probably one of the most important factors for keeping my gen 1 lol, I'm never going to be in a riding situation where I think 'man, I wish my bike had that extra power that a gen 5/6 has'.
 

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What we have here is a contender for the heaviest loaded question. I try to answer it without rambling, but I don’t make any promises. Also I argue it has little to do with the bikes themselves. There is no bad ZX10R.

IIMO its a conflict between nostalgia and the future that we were promised, but never came (hauntology, if you are a fancy wine drinker).

The nostalgia point is the easier. You sit on the Gen1, have a bike with a 1:1 bhp to kg ratio, and blast it. It is arguably more exciting than later gen's with their linear power band.

But the future that never came can be felt heavy if you jump from a gen1 to a later gen, and then back to the gen1. The later gen's are better in every measurable way. More potential, more engineering, more tech. But it is not really more exciting on the street. The Gen1 and 2 represent more than just bikes. They promised a future. During 97-04, bike tech took huge leaps forward. A new ZX10 was designed every two years. Riding a ZX10R during 05 was more than just exciting. It made you wonder about the future. If bikes made such leaps during the last ten years, what leaps will they make in the next 10? And now, since the future is here it is... Underwhelming.

I ride the Gen4, and I love it. Its a good bike. But it is not the future we were promised. The economy collapsed. Bikes weren't updated as frequently anymore. They get more and more expensive while you yourself are glad if your pay rise keeps up with inflation. You don't need a maths degree to know that, in the long run, you won't afford to live anymore.

And our bikes? The thing that makes me forget all of that for a while? They get restricted by noise and emissions. And it sucks. You and I know it is all due to the restrictions. It could be more exciting than the Gen1. The whole future we were promised is actually here. It is a Gen4 without the emission restrictions, without the fancy throttle. Pure, raw, power and excitement would be in this bike.

But we can't have it. The restrictions are here, because climate change will catch up with us. And, a raw throttle would make it simply unrideable.

So, the future is here now. Its not the future we wanted, nor the future we were promised. But at least for the moment I can still afford to ride and live. And I enjoy my Gen4 as long as I can. I don't want to fall back to nostalgia.
 

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These bikes were built for racing. The racing series is all based on "factory produced bikes that anyone can buy from a showroom". Back in the day, models were upgraded every 2 years because they were upgraded for the racing aspect. When the economy crashed in 2008, manufacturers tried to limit their investment and manufacturing efforts. People were keeping their bikes longer and the market didn't really support the 2 year upgrade path any longer. That evolved into a 3 and 4 year development cycle that we are seeing now. Through inflation, the technology improvements, and emission standards, the entry price for most most of these has priced out the younger generation. Add to that the society has morphed into people not wanting these high priced, high risk, pleasure vehicles like they did back then, and the market has shrunk. The Gen 3 is all caught up in that.

The Gen 1 is the "Widow Maker" for a reason. It was a lightweight, short wheelbase, peaky motor that required more rider attention. It didn't do so well in racing. The Gen 2 was a natural progression from that to tame it a bit more and smooth it out. It had the short-lived undertail exhaust that was a fad when it originated. The Gen 3 was a natural progression from that even, but the economy and results were disappointing. Once everything rebounded some, they had more time and effort to move to the Gen 4. The Gen 1, 2, and 3 and all very similar in design. The Gen 4, 5, and 6 are all close to each other, but drastically different than the earlier ones. For racing, that proved to be an asset. The simple fact that the Gen 4 is within the last decade is the biggest reason you hear more about them. Many of the earlier bikes just aren't around any longer. The Gen 3 is lumped into that and just because you don't see much about them here has more to do with the fact that there just aren't many out there. It's not a performance thing. The Gen 3 out performed it's predecessors. But it was again outclassed by a now decade old bike which comes with fancier electronics and better performance. It just boils down to the numbers in the end. That's my take on it for what it's all worth.
 
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Ride it and have fun. The later gens are trash on the street, not exciting [read: stable/proper chassis design] and power biased too high in the rev range to have any kind of fun with outside of highway straights and fast tracks.
 
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