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Kawasaki Halts Sale of 2011 ZX-10R to Address Undisclosed Issue


The following statement from Kawasaki was issued this Saturday concerning a “technical hold” being placed on the sale of 2011 ZX-10R motorcycles.  The relative handful (I heard the number 11) of retail units already delivered here in the U.S. will be repurchased by Kawasaki.  A Kawasaki spokesman told me that this move was taken for reasons unrelated to safety or performance of the new superbike.  We do not know any other details at this point.  This action is not limited to the United States, but is worldwide.  Here is the statement received from Kawasaki by MD. 

IRVINE, Calif. (Dec. 11, 2010) — Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is placing a technical hold on the 2011 Ninja® ZX™-10R sportbike. The company is proactively addressing a remedy which reflects Kawasaki’s commitment to excellence and its relationships with its highly valued customers and dealer network.

The following actions are being initiated through the Kawasaki dealer network:

  • Unsold units will be returned to KMC warehouses. The units will be redistributed once Kawasaki is 100 percent confident they reflect company standards for this highly technical, race-bred machine.
  • Those who have taken delivery of a unit will be instructed to return the unit to the dealership for a full refund and will be among the first to have the option of receiving a new unit once the technical hold has been lifted.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, utility vehicles and recreation utility vehicles through a network of more than 1,400 independent retailers, with an additional 8,000 retailers specializing in Kawasaki power products and general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with 300 of them located at KMC’s Irvine, California headquarters.


  1. Joe S. says:

    Don’t skim over the statement “Unsold units will be returned to KMC warehouses.” If you haven’t worked in a dealer network this won’t mean anything to you but in short, dealers can fix, replace, or reprogram basically ANYTHING! This is unprecedented and hints of a fundamental design flaw. The motorcycle gods have frowned on all of us.

  2. Trpldog says:

    Maybe they fitted 2011 Speed Triple headlights by accident…
    Ha ha ha!

  3. PBSPEED says:

    It will all come out in the wash. All the BMW nutriders will be eating their words to follow the foot to mouth insertions they’ve all been performing for us up here…..

  4. Wilson R says:

    Probably head shake like the old Suzuki TLR.

  5. ………muffled laughter from Berlin…………

  6. ben says:

    I would not return my bike if I had one. Not without an explanation.

  7. karlsbad says:

    Talked with a buddy of mine in Japan this morning (Sumitomo) he said (Rumor) it was not, repeat, not a safety issue.
    Hmmm maybe the units delivered are too quick

  8. ninja9r says:

    Maybe they let a few of their WSB engines out on the street platforms. How many do you think would be returned if the new owners were aware of that?

    • MikeD says:

      Pass the Pipe, i want some of that really good stuff ur having and making u come out with such crazy thoughts.

  9. Rick Young says:

    I’m sure Kawasaki isn’t thrilled needing to recall it’s new Superbike especially after all the hype it’s getting in the press…however it does show that they are acting like a responsible Company & for that I applaud them…heres hoping that their new Bike turns out to be a world beater!


  10. Norm G. says:

    welcome to the ever fragile and niche business that is motorcycling.

  11. Vrooom says:

    Good on Kawi. Rather than sticking their problems with the owners (are you listening BMW) they’re dealing with it up front.

    • MikeD says:

      +1 On the BMW Issues, im an avid reader of several BMW Forums and is just Incredible how much bitching, moaning and figthing they went thru before BMW gave up and admited there was a problem they couldn’t see coming before releasing the product (1300cc Bikes, not the S1000RR).

      Kawi is doing GREAT on this matter.

  12. Jay Mack says:

    Emissions or noise. Probably emissions.

  13. Oakland Johnny says:

    So… The question that begs asking is: will the public ever find out what said “undisclosed issue” was?
    Good for Kawi, nipping this one before it completely ruined the launch of a product so vital to their market positioning.

  14. GMan38 says:

    I think it’s odd they’re buying back the sold units instead of just a regular recall. Might be doing that for image. Damn…had to find my calculator so I could post this!

  15. scott says:


  16. John P. says:

    It could be that the engines explode like Gallager smashing a watermelon!

  17. Glen says:

    I think is a “seat” recall. Due to an inexplicable brown stain that develops on the seat within the first 50 miles of highway use, Kawasaki decided to err on the side of caution and recall all sold units to further study the problem.

    • Ian says:

      There was also unconfirmed reports of a brown substance coming off the bike and onto any vehicle behind it under rapid acceleration. Possibly related? Will wait for updates.

  18. Burt says:

    I’m guessing it’s a compliance issue as well. Most likely something stupid that carries a ridiculous fine, like emission.

  19. Don E. says:

    My bet is compliance with some arcane federal requirement.

  20. ofredo says:

    Kawasaki would be better off saying what the problem is. I would not be real keen to buy the bike again after the told me to return to place of purchase for “full refund” Purchase price does not include; tax,title,and license, time and fees associated with financing. I hope they allow for the real cost of buying a bike.

  21. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Not another case of YZF-R6V 17,500 RPM tachometer, is it? 😉

    • PBSPEED says:

      Could be, the only difference is you can’t outrun the Kawi on foot under 12,000 rpm like you can the R6:)

  22. Mickey says:

    I think it’s a positive move on Kaw’s part. I’ve had several motorcycles with inherent problems (Triumph Bonneville rear spoke breakage, Honda ST 1300 thermostat sticking) that the mfg’s refused to admit that there even IS a problem, even though the bulletin boards are chock full of people having the same problem. At least Kaw is admitting a problem and stepping up to the plate to rectify it.

  23. Fernando Pan says:

    If it is not safety or performance, the reason must be something related to the quality or reliability of the product.

  24. John Tokio says:

    The problem is with a part NOT manufactured by Kawasaki. It doesn’t have to do with safety or performance

  25. Brian says:

    I heard that when the bike hit 88mph, it shot the rider back to 1959…


  26. Bud says:

    I think it sounds like a textbook example of how to deal with an unexpected issue in a vehicle. They found something wrong, they’re going to fix them now while they have the chance.

  27. Jimmy J says:

    hmmm……I guess it didn’t beat the BMW, well “let’s buy them back and try again “

  28. MikeD says:

    Here’s a Positive View…Maybe they are going to retrofit it’s BALLS back into it ?
    No more different exhaust and Peak HP neutering…we can only hope, more power to u BMW. LOL.

  29. Mike B. says:

    I would expect Honda to pull something like this but not Kawi!

  30. MikeD says:

    On one hand, this is serious enough to buy everything back. On the other its not a safety or performance issue: “for reasons unrelated to safety or performance”. What could be important enough to buy the bikes back without the option of having the bike repaired instead? Definitely weird.

  31. b says:

    This is pretty weird. My guess is something to do with the electronics.

  32. Greg G. says:

    Wow!! This is unreal!