Ninja Narratives

The Kawasaki GPZ1000RX (or Ninja 1000R) was produced from 1986 to 1988.
It had a 997 cc four-cylinder, 16-valve, twin cam engine. The GPZ1000RX was intended to be the replacement for the original Ninja, the iconic 1984 GPZ900R, but as it turned out the GPZ900R not only lived on alongside the GPZ1000RX, but outlived it. Just as the GPZ900R launched two years before, the 1000RX was the fastest production bike at the time.

Having already established itself as a maker of fast bikes with the GPZ900R then the RX, Kawasaki then rolled out the next iteration in 1988 called the ZX-10 or, in some markets, the Tomcat. Also part of the Ninja family, it featured Kawasaki’s first perimeter aluminium frame chassis that has since become a key feature in most of its bikes. In the case of the ZX10 it was created with a section of aluminium that looked like the letter E hance the name, E Box.

More importantly though, Kawasaki updated and improved on the GPZ900R’s engine further with new semi-downdraft CV carburettors, lighter pistons, bigger valves and an altered compression ratio. The resulting liquid-cooled DOHC 997cc in-line four-cylinder developed 135hp and 102Nm of torque. Besides its new chassis and a more powerful engine, Kawasaki also spent a great deal of effort at developing the ZX-10 /Tomcat fairing design. The result was a bike that hit a top speed of 266km/h, and one that claimed the title as the world’s fastest production bike in 1988.

The first ZX-10 only had a two-year production run and was replaced by Kawasaki's new flagship in 1990, ZZ-R1100. So as one family bowed out a new, iconic group of machines emerged, still with high comfort still with high performance and still, because they were Kawasaki’s, world leading top speed.

#2: Daisuke Takeda

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issued: Tuesday, May 17, 2022
updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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